Strand’s plans for the Abigail come into focus in tonight’s episode when Strand is cornered into revealing the truth of his plans to Madison while the boat remains idle for a day. But those revelations come with some stipulations that will continue to push Madison into situations and difficult choices that might otherwise go against what she believes is right.
Such is the case during “Ouroboros.” The Abigail finds itself temporarily stranded despite the possible threat of the boat’s mystery pursuers because something is blocking the water intake used to cool the engine. Someone will have to go underneath the boat — Travis is the one to risk his life to check the situation out. Diving beneath the Abigail in full scuba gear, he finds the body of a man underwater, a body familiar from the episode’s cold open, which features characters from the “Flight 462” miniseries. (More on those characters in a bit.)
Travis returns to the boat to check the filtration system, which is backed up with sludge all the way through the pipes. The body, the sludge, and anything else blocking the way will have to be removed, Travis explains, which could take all day. Strand wants it fixed now, treating Travis more like the help and less like a fellow crewmember. He callously voices how he realizes Travis feels demeaned by Strand’s words, so he quickly compliments the man with hollow words until he agrees to work on the boat as quickly as possible.
But the rest of the crew isn’t just going to sit around while Travis tinkers with the boat. The others notice wreckage on a nearby beach. Luggage, possibly with supplies, is scattered across the sands, and the kids want to go investigate to bring back whatever they can. Madison and Travis are both displeased with the idea, though Alicia, Nick, and Chris don’t seem to want to argue. To avoid any major disagreements, however, Salazar offers to go with them and keep an eye on them.
Before he goes, he tells Madison of what he learned from snooping around Strand’s secret lockbox. After making a passing comment about being warmer in Mexico, he tells her of Strand’s maps with a location in Baja as a key point of interest. (And though Salazar is forthcoming with this information, he still has his boundaries to consider. At the end of the day, he and Ofelia are not part of Madison and Travis’ family, so when his daughter suggests asking the others for stronger meds for her injury, he refuses to let her. He wants this kept as a family matter so that they may look out for one another and never have to rely on others who may eventually choose their own family above Salazar’s.
Salazar does his best to appear as one of the group in public, though, by going with the kids as they survey a scene that feels as if the Fear the Walking Dead cast stumbled onto the set of the Lost pilot hours after everybody left the scene. The group, under Salazar’s watch, goes through the luggage to find anything of use — clothes, medicine, even a Rosary.
They all spend their time that way except for Chris, who goes off on his own to investigate the destruction. He makes his way to a piece of of the plane’s main cabin where the telltale signs of a few undead lure him. He knocks a walker over the head to quiet it (though it being pinned under some of the seats hardly made it a threat), only to discover a man still alive begging for help. He helps the guy out of his seat, only to drop him onto the ground as the man writhes in pain.
NEXT: Chris makes a life-or-death choice
This barely alive guy wants help, but not the kind Chris might have expected. Holding onto his last moments of life, the passenger wants Chris to kill him, to free him from this painful mortal coil. And Chris does, bashing him over the head with a repeated fury until his skull is a bloody pulp. Chris’ taste of killing with Seth in “We All Fall Down” only continues, giving him an outlet for all the rage he feels after his mother’s death and the part his father played in it.
He doesn’t view her death as the mercy Salazar called it, and so for the moment, he’s channeling those emotions into killing walkers and, apparently, the occasional living victim who begs for death.
Chris’ disappearance is eventually noticed by the group, and Salazar goes off to find him (after receiving some advice from Nick about what pills to pick up for Ofelia that he has no interest in hearing), with Alicia soon setting off to find him, too. Nick stays behind to look through luggage, where he finds the actual kinds of medicine that can aid Ofelia while Alicia eventually makes her way toward Chris. She notices the blood covering his clothes and asks whether he killed one of the dead. He nods, omitting the still-alive man whose life he ended by request.
Salazar is on another part of the beach as the two reunite and sees someone come over a hill whom he believes to be Chris. But it’s not — it’s the woman glimpsed at the beginning of the episode, Charlie from “Flight 462.” She, the badly burned Jake, and a few others found salvation in a raft. But she was the only one looking to find Jake help. She killed one, while the other ended up underneath the Abigail.
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Speaking of that body, Travis is able to clear it from the depths beneath the ship, allowing him to return to the ship and ease Madison’s worries that the unknown dangers of the water could take him from her. She has more on her mind, however, as she approaches Strand and demands answers about Mexico. He naturally suspects Salazar is to blame for this revelation before finally admitting to his plans. There’s a house in the hills near Rosarito that has water filtration, gardens, and basically everything else needed to live. It’s the only safe place he knows of, so for now it’s a sound plan.
Madison asks him why he would lie about this in the first place (assuming this house is real, of course), to which Strand asks how he could have possibly abandoned seven people at once. (The easy answer? He doesn’t do it at once but conveniently loses a few of them at different points along the way.)
Madison states that they’re coming, though Strand is initially dubious of the idea. How is he supposed to trust them if they don’t even trust him. They’re her family, not his, and the main danger on this ocean will be people. There needs to be a mutual trust as they go along the way, and they seem to establish some sense of it as the conversation ends. (But that foundation of trust is shaky at best, as Madison tells Strand she’ll throw him overboard if he betrays her family.)
But they come to a mutual understanding that they need to keep themselves safe from the dangers of the outside world, of people outside their group. The most present danger, though, is the mass of walkers chasing their friends and family on the beach.
NEXT: The ol’ “covered in zombie guts” trick saves Alicia’s life
As Charlie comes running to Salazar, she pleads with him to run as a mass of walkers crests the hill and shambles toward them. Salazar begins firing at the incoming threat, only taking out a few as Chris and Alicia join them.
And where is Nick during the attack? Well, after grabbing the medicine, he investigates a nearby moaning noise, finding a walker stuck in the sand far below him. Crabs are clawing at the walkers stomach, but all it wants is to free itself from the sand and find food. That food, er… Nick, comes to it instead, as he slips while standing on the edge of the cliff above the walker, slipping and falling right next to it. They struggle until Nick uses a pocketknife he found in the wreckage to kill it, temporarily saving his life. (Honestly, the CGI crabs are much more of a concern in my book, but apparently they are all crushed in Nick’s fall.)
Another walker comes tumbling over the cliff and onto Nick while the others are besieged by the walker horde. Their backs are to the water as everyone begins fighting for their lives. Alicia, Chris, Charlie, and Salazar all do their best to fend off the walkers. One almost kills Alicia until Nick appears, covered in walker blood, and kills Alicia’s assailant. Much like the members of The Walking Dead discovered, Nick stumbles upon the most successful walker deterrent.
He goes unnoticed by the undead, shambling among the group and even tempting fate by baiting and interacting with a walker while the rest of the group escapes. They eventually all flee, including Nick, to their boat and pick up Jake in the inflatable raft before returning to the Abigail unharmed.
Nick returns silently and still a bloody mess while the others are all a flurry of worried concern and relief that they’ve been reunited with their family.
Strand comes bulldozing through the relatively happy ending when he spots the newcomers. He wants them off the boat immediately, but Alicia fights for them to stay on board. He sees them as liabilities, and Charlie is shocked this group of strangers is debating abandoning the two of them. Madison, in the midst of it all, tells the group about the planned trip to Mexico and how Strand has “invited” them to stay there.
It’s her way of talking around the guilt she feels for siding with Strand against her own daughter. She doesn’t want to let these people go, but she wants her family to be safe even more, and so she has to go with what the captain says. Travis finds a middle ground, allowing Charlie and Jake to stay in their raft tied to the back of the boat until they reach San Diego. Then they can let them go and fend for themselves.
That’s the best they can offer with Strand’s distrust for outsiders, and with the boat’s sludge problem cleared (including the severed hand stuck in the pipes), they’re ready to ship off, so the conversation stops there.
At least they’re all safe, even if Nick smells like death, as Ofelia points out. (In return, he gives her the Rosary they found on the beach.) Charlie comforts Jake in the raft hitched to the Abigail by telling him it’ll never hurt worse than it does right now. This will be the worst it’s going to be.
Perhaps she spoke too soon. Strand appears at the back of the boat and cuts their rope from its post, letting them float out to sea by themselves. Madison stands by shocked but says nothing. These are the decisions she is forced to live with if she wants what Strand can offer, and this is likely not the last time her sense of morality will be tested.