A rescue mission is underway on Fear the Walking Dead as the crew of the Abigail, led by the fury of Madison, heads off to save Travis and Alicia from Connor’s captivity.
Although the show seemed to be setting Connor up as some big threat for the Abigail crew to face, he is merely a pit stop along their path of problems, a mini-boss in a sea presumably holding much greater threats. And while the brothers behind this pirating enterprise meet their end by the conclusion of “Captive,” they cause plenty of strife, particularly for the two they’ve taken hostage.
Initially, life doesn’t seem so horrible for Alicia, aside from the kidnapping, separation from her family, and living in a post-viral apocalyptic world. She’s free of any restraints, sitting in a comfortable diner booth on a boat while Connor is cooking her a big steak. He hopes to get to know her, but Alicia’s only interested in knowing about Travis and whether her family made it to shore.
Connor tells her she could be happy with his crew, though she clearly has no intention of sticking around to find out whether that’s true. After Connor leaves to fix the failing generator and Vida appears briefly to steal Alicia’s steak, she does everything she can to escape her new prison, only to make her way to the top of the massive boat and discover she’s not out on the open ocean but at a port.
Jack finds Alicia out on deck and drags her back inside out of concern for what Connor might do if he discovers her outside (though he is surprised by how kindly Connor takes to her because cooking a newbie a steak is out of the ordinary). Again, Alicia has Travis and her family on the brain, not pleasing Connor, but Jack is hesitant to cross his leader in any way, even to sneak the girl he hopes falls for him to wherever Travis is being hidden.
For now, however, she has to play along with Jack’s instructions, learning to log nearby boat movement and details until she’s eventually asked to make contact based on Connor’s preferences. The process offers her some insight into Jack’s contact with her, along with how this whole outfit operates. Some ships live, some die, and it’s all a matter of luck and chance.
She comes to understand what happens to the less fortunate boats as she begins tracking some of the nearby ships. She notices a ship coming toward them, and referencing Jack’s logs, she discovers it’s the Abigail. It’s too soon for the boat to be coming back if her family was dropped off on shore, so she demands the truth from Jack as the two physically struggle. Alicia gets a few painful swipes with a clipboard in, but Jack is only able to talk around what happened to the boats Reed was sent after in this game of chance and choice.
So she wants to go find her family, and Jack agrees to come with Alicia. They’ll distract Connor by having him surveil a possible new boat of interest, but before they can go, Alicia wants to check in with Travis, who has been confined in much worse conditions.
And why is that exactly? Because Alex (incorrectly referred to here as Charlie because of a switch in the character’s official name that led to some confusion on my part — apologies for the mistake!) is the reason Travis was brought on the ship. Travis, locked up in a dingy cell, is approached by Alex as she tells him of what happened to her after her raft was cut off from the Abigail. She had to end her friend’s life and throw him out of the boat before Connor and his group found her and asked what she could offer.
Alex offered them the Abigail, and in return, she asked for Travis. She harbors great anger for what happened to her and her friend while Travis did nothing to save them. He knew the right thing to do, she tells him, and he chose to do the other thing.
NEXT: The Abigail crew has a captive of its own [pagebreak]
And now that Alex has Travis at her mercy, what does she do other than try to make him feel his guilt? Well, not much because Travis certainly expresses that guilt. He feels particularly burdened knowing Chris is watching him, and whether or not he expresses it, he’s looking to his father for guidance. He still naturally harbors some anguish about having to shoot his own ex-wife, a decision that he says cost him a part of himself just as Alex killing her friend cost her.
But Travis hopes they can reclaim those lost pieces, to be better people than what they’ve become in this brutal world. As Travis stews on the morality of his actions, his family decides how to go about saving him and Alicia. They’ve kept Connor’s brother, Reed, alive, with the metal spear still sticking out of his stomach, Salazar cleaning and patching the wounds to keep him alive but in horrible pain. Chris is there to watch, with Connor continuing to goad him about whether he might find his would-be stepsister Alicia attractive and telling Salazar they should be scared.
Salazar, ever the calm, cool, and collected badass, has no fear of him, though. Why? Well, as he tells Reed, he’s met plenty of truly horrifying men in his life, and those who inspire fear never need to boast about how scary they are.
Chris is still bruised by the whole affair, emotionally on edge still after his mother’s death and with his anger toward Travis. He’s shocked Salazar would let Reed talk to him as he does, but Salazar takes Reed’s proclamations as signs of the captive’s own fear. (He also learns from the whole talk that he’s Connor’s brother and a bit about their operation.)
Though he’s hesitant, Salazar lets Chris guard Reed’s room (a rule he breaks the moment Reed makes one snide comment) while he fills Madison in on everything they learned. She begins piloting the boat in the direction of a cluster of ships, with Strand nearby recuperating from his freezing struggle in the ocean to stay alive. Luis is there to comfort him and to furiously insist they let Travis and Alicia go as to not miss their window to cross the border. Strand knows Madison is a lost cause, however, and is able to convince Luis to give them half a day to make the rescue trip.
Madison wants the kids nowhere near the rescue — she remains particularly incensed by Strand sending Nick off on a mission for Luis. They debate what he’s capable of, and Strand believes Nick is more than ready and necessary in the more dangerous aspects of their trip. Madison never wants Nick to go out on his own again like that.
He never quite promises to remain at base like Madison wants, but she doesn’t fight him on the point. Perhaps it’s his increased proficiency handling a gun that has her so concerned she doesn’t notice he avoids agreeing to her safety terms.
Nick may not be the one to worry about at this time, though. He’s got his head on straight enough to even be a voice of reason, especially for Chris, who is racked with guilt, which Reed exploits. Chris feels guilty for not having shot Reed’s party the second they got on the Abigail. Had he, they wouldn’t be in this position, he believes, and Reed trying to compare himself to Chris makes Travis’ son feel worse. Reed calls them both outsiders (he guesses quickly enough that Chris isn’t a biological brother to Alicia) and suggests Chris can expect to be betrayed by those who might call themselves his family now.
He’s quite susceptible to any influence at the moment, so luckily Nick steps in to stop the conversation. But eventually Chris gives in to his desire to make things right, to not choke again.
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The Abigail finds its way close enough to Connor’s hideout, and the pirate leader radios into their boat. Madison answers, telling him they’ll trade his brother for Travis and Alicia (the latter of whom is trying to orchestrate an escape while the former is resigned to stay behind).
Connor agrees almost immediately, so long as only one person accompanies Reed to the trade. Madison volunteers as that person, despite Nick pleading to go, and it seems like things might turn out all right.
Oh, but this is in The Walking Dead universe, so naturally it won’t be smooth sailing.
NEXT: A messy trade [pagebreak]
In this instance, they have Chris to thank as they hear a gunshot from below deck. He shot Reed, repeating over and over again that Reed was sick and going to turn. He won’t give any other reason, any deeper explanation for how sick Reed was, because of course he was likely not on the brink of death, Chris thought he was doing the right thing, though when he hears Luis and Salazar arguing about whether they have a prayer of saving the others, Chris realizes he may have screwed things up. (He also easily guesses the idea of a trade, saving anyone from having to needlessly repeat the previous scene word for word.)
Chris says he had to kill him and asks Madison whether she knew that was the truth. She never agrees, only trying to comfort the boy while the others clean up his mess.
Nick and Ofelia are working on Reed’s room, his lifeless body sitting motionless in its chair as they dab up the blood from his head wound that’s splattered all about the place. Ofelia worries how normal this type of killing and cleaning pattern is becoming, but she’s in for a surprise when Reed’s body begins turning and gurgling at them.
Chris missed the brain entirely, and so they face killing Reed’s body a second time. Salazar runs into the room and prevents that, instead pinning Reed’s body to the wall by using the metal spear still wedged inside him.
Salazar believes they can still use Reed’s body, and so they tie him up and put a bag over the walker’s head, dumping him into the raft with Madison as she plans to head to shore. (A long-game seed is also seemingly planted here when Salazar distinctly hears a voice talking to him as he preps Reed’s body. He goes to lift the bag over the walker’s body, almost expecting to find another face, but Ofelia stops him before he indulges in that momentary panic.)
Connor, too, prepares for the trade, but for the moment, he only has Travis to trade. Alicia has eluded the watchful eye of Jack, hoping to escape on her own, unaware of the trade. She makes more trouble for herself, first going to Travis’ cage and finding Vida waiting to leave her imprisoned there, perhaps with a few extra bruises.
So Connor comes to the dock as Madison approaches with just one captive. He wants to see that his brother is safe first, but rather than reveal his grim fate, she thrusts the walker forward just as Connor and his men do the same. Madison begins untying Travis’ restraint so they can make a break for it, just as Connor checks on his poor, poor, dead brother.
Naturally, he’s shocked and upset to find him turned, and in that momentary heartbreak, he lets his guard down long enough to be bitten by his brother. Reed bites another of Connor’s men while another charges after Travis to take revenge.
The two fight while Alicia manages to find her way back to the top of the boat. She sees the fight down below from her vantage point, but before she can make her way to them Jack finds her yet again. He’s upset she planned to leave without him because he was planning to go with her. He tries to make her stay, claiming her family will just abandon her at some point.
For now, though, they’re doing anything but that — Travis and Madison make it successfully back to their raft, spot Alicia, and drive close to her location. They call for her to come, and with an apology to Jack, she slides down the side of the boat and jumps into the water.
Travis and Madison pick her up and head back for the Abigail, the entire family reunited, but they leave behind one scorned would-be romantic, a few straggling pirates without a leader, and face a ticking clock as they focus their attentions southward to freedom.