TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 3 “Ouroboros” (USA, 2016)

“Ouroboros” was a substantial step in the right direction for Fear the Walking Dead, picking up the slack that dragged the previous two episodes with another excursion to an island, the introduction of new characters tying in from the Flight 462 webisodes, and the show’s biggest humans-versus-horde piece to date (as opposed to humans-overwhelmed-by-horde in the Season 1 finale with the military being butchered). All these elements worked well through the episode despite characters who are still barely engaging, frustratingly vague with each other, and taking their time accepting what the world is now.

It seems the main current running through this season so far is how the group interacts with other humans, obviously causing some tension between Madison and Strand as the two argue over the value of bringing people on board. Strand stands from pragmatism while Madison leans more towards empathy, with Travis somewhere in the middle. These three are at the head of the group, with Daniel an outlier of sorts, reiterated by his brief – and frustratingly stubborn – discussion with his daughter. The dynamic between the leaders of this group is beginning to finally shape up into something interesting, and having Daniel on the outs presents us with a chance to explore how the “outsiders” of a survival group may think in relation to the bigger picture; obviously Daniel’s insistence that he stay on the outside of the group may turn him into an antagonistic character (there’s already similarities between him and The Walking Dead’s Shane).

I like what the show seems to be trying to do with Christopher’s character, having him sneak off – as stupid as that was – in search of the infected so he can channel his anger into killing these things; the implications are terrifying and as we begin to get an idea of where his head is at right now following the death of his mother, his poor decisions are at least somewhat understandable.

The whole baron desert island set with the plane wreckage worked well, and it was expected that Nick, Alicia, and Christopher separate themselves from Daniel only for a crisis to bring them all back in the one spot. Nick loosing his footing and almost getting a bite out of him by the show’s most gruesome zombie yet felt forced but it was a nice touch having him covered in infected blood and working out that it actually masks him from the undead. In The Walking Dead, this was figured out very early on as well (much earlier in fact) but it’s a tactic Rick and his group have inexplicably ignored for most of the series; here’s to hoping Fear the Walking Dead don’t make that same mistake, and the group start using Nick’s discovery to their advantage – it may make up for all the stupid decisions they have made so far.

Tying Flight 462 into Fear the Walking Dead has given the show a fresh perspective and introduced Michelle Ang (who did a great job with The Taking of Deborah Logan) as Alex, as well as Brendan Meyer’s badly/mortally wounded Jake. While I’m not a fan of having them cut off from the group so soon, it was smart to have Strand so against even letting the newcomers board the boat, first appearing to agree to tow them and then cutting them off completely at the episode’s conclusion. Obviously this isn’t the last we see of Alex and Jake (though Jake will probably die from his wounds), but deciding to make this more about solidifying Strand’s resolute and juxtaposing him with Madison was a good move.

Review Score: THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Highlights:

  • Flight 462 worked into the show
  • Strand making a firm decision
  • Nick going undercover in the horde
  • Desert island crisis

Lowlights:

  • Characters still fairly uninteresting