Well, some would-be major characters finally died. As much as we wanted the opposite, we hardly knew ye and our binge-watching experience will be poorer because of your absence. Rest in peace, Luis Flores and Thomas Abigail.
As with “Ouroboros” earlier in the season, the title of last night’s episode of AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead, “Sicut Cervus,” is worth exploring. In Latin, it means “As the deer,” which on its own does not appear to make a lot of sense. However, it is the beginning of Psalm 41:2 which says “As the deer long for springs of water, so my soul longs for you, o God.” Feel free to draw your own conclusions, but it is probably another reference to the season’s tagline, “no safe harbor.” The characters are weary and looking for solace, yet unable to find it, even in Thomas Abigail’s (played by Dougray Scott) walled-in vacation home.
Religion played a major part in episode six – arguably the Walking Dead-iest episode of the series to date. The pre-credit scene showed us that The Walking Dead’s Father Gabriel (Seth Gillam) – who when things fell apart barricaded himself in his church and wouldn’t let his parishioners in – might not be the worst preacher ever. It’s not unusual for the more religious characters in the series to interpret current events as “The End of Days,” but that priest took it to the next level:
Okay everybody, the dead are rising and eating the living, so I say ‘fight fire with fire.’ All right, grab a gun and take a poisoned Eucharist, and… GO!
Undead children are a particularly difficult fact of life in the world of TWD. Zombie kids in choir robes and their Sunday-go-to-meetin’ clothes are as tragic as they are terrifying.
And then there is Luis’ mother, Celia (Marlene Flores). Anybody who criticized Herschel Green (Scott Wilson) for his “Barn full o’ walkers,” needs to apologize to his decapitated corps right now. If Herschel was guilty of anything, it was cockeyed optimism in the Zombie Apocalypse. As crazy is it sounds now, he truly thought his family and friends were sick and to that end kept them in a barn and fed them chickens until somebody found a cure. Cuckoo, but hopeful.
Celia is completely aware that they are dead and appears to think it’s just God bein’ God. What she hopes to accomplish by keeping them locked in the wine cellar and feeding them dogs is hard to say. Without a doubt, there will be consequences for Strand’s actions. Not killing himself as he said he would? That’s just breaking a promise. Putting a bullet in Thomas’ brain instead of letting him turn? Thou shalt not…
Between his hearing voices in the last episode, and his hesitance to (re)kill a zombie choirboy, we are starting to see some cracks in Daniel’s normally stoic, all-business demeanor. The big question here is the identity of kid in the flashback. On one hand, he could be remembering his past as a torturer/murderer for a violent dictator. However, on the FTWD superfan after show, Talking Dead, comedian Jim Gaffigan offered an intriguing counter-theory: perhaps the kid is Daniel.
Whatever gave Daniel pause will have to wait, but it was a good thing in that it forced Ofelia to step up, stabbing the choirboy walker in the head. Perhaps the kid is going to make it after all.
Nick is another character showing cracks in an otherwise disaffected façade. For about a dozen episodes now, the general perception was that of all the characters in the core cast, Nick might have a skill set most applicable to a world gone mad. He even says something to that affect to Madison in the first season, just before he’s hauled away to containment. He’s even taken out several walkers in prior episodes. The difference here is that he hasn’t had to put down any undead children, and that apparently really got to him.
In this episode, Ofelia hauls him away too – to watch over her at Celia’s homemade altar while she talks to her dead mother. As tired as Nick is of killing, looking out for Ofelia may be something to help him keep it together. That is, of course, unless Celia wants to help him “adjust” to the new world.
Speaking of cracking up, one last quick observation: Chris is well on his way to becoming FTWD’s Shane. Right?
Fear The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC.
For interested parties, Rob will be live-tweeting next week’s mid-season finale starting at 9pm (PST). Follow: @Imfromhollywood