The “Blood in the Streets” title may hint at the show once again making a pitstop on land, but Nick, sneaking away from his family under Strand’s direction, is the only one to touch solid ground. And what timing he has, as Nick escapes hours before the Abigail is overrun by the ghosts of Alicia’s recent past.
Yes, Alicia’s brief radio flirtmance with a guy named Jack that ended in an ominous promise of an appearance to come made good on that claim by appearing with his group of not-so-merry pirates. Jack appears with another man and a woman, but it’s not Alicia there to greet them, it’s Chris and Ofelia, out on the deck discussing relationships. (I can only hope this scene is not setting up Chris having a thing for Ofelia only to find himself at odds later in the season with Nick.)
Jack and the others in his group come on board on the guise that the pregnant woman with them is in horrible pain. Alicia is the last to wake up and notice the commotion, and so the whole crew (save for Strand, who watches from above before making a run for it) goes out to handle the situation. The two men promise they’re good people who have just been drifting for days, but just as Alicia recognizes Jack’s voice, they prove there’s little good in their reason for being there. The woman smashes Madison against the bathroom mirror inside while the two men tie the others up at gunpoint upstairs.
Reed, the de facto leader of this splinter group, has little time for anyone second guessing his commands, though he has plenty of time to mock the Abigail crew. (Chris yelled to his father asking if he should shoot as these strangers came to the boat. Reed’s advice? If you’re asking that question, someone should already be shot, certainly proving Reed would not belong in the camp of The Walking Dead’s Morgan anytime soon.)
They’re biding their time until this new group’s leader, Connor, comes to find them in the daytime, but they still manage to do what they can. Reed shoots at Strand, who is trying to escape in an emergency raft. He punctures the raft and worries little for whether he actually hit Strand — they expect the hypothermia will kill him if a gunshot wound didn’t.
Shooting Strand, presents a problem for them however — they want to get the boat moving, and they may have just killed the man with the keys. Reed doesn’t accept that answer, and under the threat of Chris’ life, Travis agrees to hotwire the Abigail for their use.
At the very least they hope to radio in with Connor and alert him to their progress, but Strand also took the main radio. Naturally, Jack knows how to fix that problem, going with Alicia to find her portable one. Alicia knows this may be her only chance to help fix the situation, and so she plays into Jack’s feelings for her. He wants to take Alicia with him, but she only promises to go if her whole family is safe. She questions everything he told her, but he tries to explain his case as the one member of this group who may listen to his conscience now and then. He reveals he told her only shades of the truth, but that his story of his girlfriend was true.
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Jack has chosen this way of life because Connor saved his life after Jack’s brother died. He believes he owes him, and so he can’t leave this way of life. He doesn’t enjoy this, he tells Alicia, who sees an opening by implying they found each other for a reason. She’ll come back with him, be together with him, so long as her family is safe. Jack buys into the potential of their future by undoing her restraints completely. She hugs him, but all she has on her mind is freeing her family.
And Alicia’s family is doing their part to break free of the current hostage situation. Travis is working on the boat, forcing Reed to go up and down the levels of the ship as he works rather slowly on figuring the system out. While doing so, he sneaks a weapon up his sleeve for later use. Madison keeps the pregnant woman watching the main cabin’s prisoners distracted while Salazar works at breaking his restraints. Of course, Madison figures out how to rile her up after a number of questions about the baby. She suggests the baby may have turned undead right inside her if she’s lost the child. She eventually hits Madison for the comment, but Reed wants the group in as stable condition as possible in case Connor has use for them later on. While Reed is distracted by the commotion, however, Travis sneaks the weapon beneath the couch cushion near Salazar and Ofelia.
NEXT: Where Strand’s come from and where he’s going [pagebreak]
All the while, Strand is still alive at sea, holding on for dear life to the deflating raft while trying to make do with his radio. Unfortunately, he lets it slip from his grasp and it sinks to the bottom of the sea. “Blood on the Streets” may not give Strand much to do in the present, but it reveals how he became the man we know today, and just how this plan of his has come to be.
Back in the days of Hurricane Katrina, Strand met a man at a bar who deals in property looking to make a profit after all of the calamity. Strand, on the other hand, invested before the storm and lost his holdings, or so he tells this stranger. Ever the opportunist, Strand gets the man plastered before taking him up to the guy’s hotel room. There, Strand collects his credit cards, hoping to leave him without his funds and without any memory of this exchange.
Unfortunately for Strand, the guy not only remembers but knows who Strand is, coming with back-up in the form of a man named Luis Florez to Strand’s hotel room. The man with the instantly familiar name, Thomas Abigail, waltzes into Strand’s hotel room to hear what Strand’s scheme is: He’s purchased $30,000 in credit card debt, planning to return to his former glory in about five years. He planned to pay Abigail back, and Thomas expects nothing less.
But he’s not pardoning Strand. He’s obligating him to become a business partner, but the two become so much more as their partnership grows. Strand is ever-focused on the prize, hoping to buy up new land and make more of his life while he can, but Abigail is just as if not more invested in their blossoming romance. The two share their lives, and hope to do so for years to come, but “Blood in the Streets” shows a final encounter between the two of them, as Strand goes off to Los Angeles for what is supposed to be a two-day trip. Thomas is worried with the news of viral outbreaks, but Strand promises he’ll be home in no time.
Of course, we all know Strand never quite made it home, and now he’s fighting for survival out on the water. Yet he set into motion a plan that inadvertently saves his and the others’ lives. Nick swam ashore during the night, washing up onto the beach near an abandoned camp. Save for only a stray dog and a stray walker, Nick has little issue once he’s on land. He once again covers himself in the blood and guts of a walker before moving on to a gated-off community.
There, he finds Luis Florez, who’s more concerned about Nick getting blood on his fancy sports car than he is about whatever dangers may lurk nearby. He finds the development a lonely place to start the new world, so he preps his car while Nick washes off the blood as they go to join the others.
But there’s one hitch in the plan. Luis only made plans for two of them to get across the border, not a Gilligan’s Island-worth of people to smuggle through the flotilla. (Though I’m curious to know what sort of infrastructure they expect to be around by the time they arrive.)
Despite his misgivings, he and Nick board a motorized raft to reach the Abigail. Luis’ mother is actually at the Baja house they’re seeking refuge at, having previously worked for the Abigail family and raised Thomas alongside her own son. (In the flashbacks, she doesn’t appear much of a fan of Strand’s.) Luis’ comments that his mother would survive in any world — “Death is a way to new life,” Luis says in presumably describing her outlook — throw Nick for a loop, but he continues onward with Luis. The two make way for the luxury boat, coming just shortly after Connor has boarded the craft.
Connor arrives just after Travis has gotten the boat to start, and he comes only wanting to take Alicia and Travis. The others are left on the Abigail, told they might be given a boat to go to land, but Reed has little interest in being so diplomatic. He doesn’t believe Connor has adapted to the cold realities of this post-outbreak world. He doesn’t have the stomach for doing what needs to be done — leaving no possible loose ends like people who might hold a grudge.
Reed, who’s spent most of the episode mocking Chris for having an inbred crush on Alicia and making demands of things he doesn’t quite understand, is just about to show whether he has the stomach for what needs to be done when the other guards with him are gunned down. Luis from afar shoots two of Connor’s men, distracting Reed in a moment that allows Salazar, now free of his restraints, to grab Reed’s gun.
Befuddled, Reed is helpless as Madison stabs him through the back before Chris takes charge to cause Reed as much pain as possible. Luis and Nick board the boat at gunpoint as everyone takes a moment to collect themselves. Luis refuses to cross the border without Strand while Madison is desperate to go after Travis and Alicia.
That second goal is much likely a harrier and possibly deadly one, so the Abigail crew, now with Luis on board, takes care of the first objective, rescuing the shivering Strand as he floats on the sea, seemingly awaiting death. Madison comes for him in the raft, recollecting one crew member at a time.
But she’s undoubtedly got her sights set on the future — and finding Connor and saving Travis and Alicia.