Fear the Walking Dead continues to float along as we learn in the opening moments of “We All Fall Down” that San Diego, Strand’s target location, has been burnt to a crisp. The entire city. That obviously makes for a major problem, but Strand is also very aware of the dangers on the water itself. They’ve already seen one sizable boat sunk by someone, or something, and that poses the imminent danger.
More immediately relevant is the fact that despite numerous course adjustments, there’s still a larger, faster vessel in pursuit of Strand and his yacht. The only idea he’s got to ditch their pursuers is hiding, somewhere near the coastline where radar may perhaps fail the following boat.
Ultimately they choose to head for an island that has a ranger station, which may be beneficial in hiding and will certainly be beneficial in acquiring some goods.
The group eventually docks. They also spot a light in a nearby home. It would seem that there are survivors here hiding out. Strand continues his sly leadership and insists on staying on the boat. It’s obvious that he likes the idea of a quick getaway, potentially distancing himself from Travis, Madison and the rest. Daniel however, reads him like a book and insists on staying behind with the captain.
Travis and the others head for the home from which they saw light. And it turns out there is indeed a family holed up in the place. They’re scared, but Travis has a way of disarming individuals with his calm, collected demeanor and brutal honesty. George, the man of the home they’ve approached looks leery, but he’s kind enough to invite them inside, and he seems to be a very decent human being.
George brings Travis up to speed on the state of affairs. It seems the military is dropping napalm all along the coast, and they’ve already wiped out a sizable number of cities. George spills more bad news, informing Travis that it isn’t just the coast, inland is crumbling as well, with a number of major locations being overrun or destroyed by the military, or both.
We learn that George and his wife have more than one child, they have three. Two are just a wee bitty little fellow and the other looks like a young adult. A paranoid young adult who isn’t particularly comforted by strangers in his home. He’s got an interesting vibe about him, and he looks like he could conceivably present some problems for our focal group of survivors.
There are conflicts within the primary group, as Ofelia and her father Daniel aren’t getting along too well. And Daniel, well, he’s beyond concerned with Strand. To his credit, Strand is a hard fellow to read. But, despite the conflicts, George is emerging as a truly good man (there’s a brilliant discussion that unfolds between he and Travis) and he invites the entire group to spend the evening with them, where it’s about as safe as it gets. And just like that our survivors shack up on Strand’s yacht, on the dock of the ranger’s station.
The following morning we see Chris making use of himself, as he axes a handful of walkers who have washed ashore. He helps George’s eldest son in what is deemed a “chore.” While it’s nice to see Chris manning up, he’s still got the air of a teenage girl on her menstrual cycle. In other words, he’s profoundly annoying, and still comes across as more of a liability than a benefit to the group.
George is soon reminding Travis – who spotted his son killing the walkers – that this is life now. It’s better to be prepared for the worst case scenario than not. Ignorance in this world can and will get you killed. George knows it, and it’s finally sinking in for Travis, who’s been battling his own humanity and self-control. George isn’t necessarily a survivalist, but he’s prepared for horrible realities and he could be a man that teaches Travis quite a bit, assuming the two spend much more time together.
We cut to a scene that emphasizes the power of addiction, as Nick, who’s been nearly sober since the outbreak, rifles through George’s medication, searching for a high. And he finds one, hidden away in George’s office, but as he finds the pill stash, George’s daughter enters the room, requesting that Nick draw with her. Will he succumb to his urge for a fix, or will this little darling remind him that mental escape can come in a great many different forms. Given the fact that Nick is hands down the most likeable personality in the series, I’m really hoping he passes on those pills and continues his evolution as a responsible man.
George’s wife, Melissa and Madison have a conversation in Melissa’s makeshift garden. Madison asks her, point blank, if the lights she turned on the previous night was accidental or on purpose. Madison believes that Melissa either wants off of their little island, or wants to get her children off of their little island. As it turns out, she wants her kids on that boat, because she knows it’s only a matter of time before their little “safe” resort falls to the undead. She’s also extremely confident that George, and their oldest, Seth, will never leave their home. As she puts it, it’s better to die with family than strangers. But Melissa doesn’t want her children dying any time soon.
Travis agrees to speak with George about potentially taking their two youngest children with them. Meanwhile Daniel is investigating Strand’s boat, which he’s beginning to believe isn’t Strand’s boat at all. Soon Daniel finds a hidden firearm and an assortment of maps, and what appears to be an indicator that Strand’s true final destination is Mexico. One more cutaway shows Strand speaking on his phone, planning to meet with someone by sundown. He’s definitely mysterious and it doesn’t seem he’s being entirely forthcoming with the others in the group. But just what is he up to?
Nick meets with Travis and Madison and fills them in on some interesting information. The pills he found earlier in George’s office are poison. He believes the man plans to kill himself as well as his entire family when things get too hairy. With this revelation one must ask themselves: Can Nick be any more awesome?
The guy is a lot more than a junkie. He cares. It’s something this show needs in a major way.
The final moments are upon us and we see Melissa preparing to usher her two youngest off with the others. George enters the room and immediately takes a disliking to what he sees. But it gets worse. The younger boy enters the room and informs the group that there’s something wrong with his sister. As it turns out, she took one of the pills that Nick found, and it may be too late for her.
Sure enough, the child is dead. Melissa holds the girl in her arms when the youngster suddenly becomes reanimated and takes a chunk of flesh from Melissa’s next. Chaos erupts, and you can see on George’s face the understanding that his own actions and beliefs have resulted in the death of one of his children and now his wife.
As the group flee for the yacht, with George’s younger boy in tow problems immediately erupt. Seth comes charging onto the boat demanding they turn his little brother over. He’s looking unhinged and he clearly doesn’t understand the magnitude of what he’s doing. He’s wielding a gun at everyone – including Strand, who doesn’t want the boy on the boat, either.
Seth is successful at getting his little brother off the boat. The moment he does, their now undead mother comes shambling toward them. Seth kills the walker and we’re left to think on one of the most emotional sequences of the series thus far. It’s a dreadfully gloomy end to one of the stronger episodes we’ve seen thus far.