There are so many interpretations of the mythology surrounding the Hindu deity Shiva and its meaning that saying definitively what it means to AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead’s mid-season finale, “Shiva,” would be difficult, if not impossible. Robert Oppenheimer may have said it best – at least in a way that fits the world of The Walking Dead – when upon seeing the first test of a nuclear bomb declared, “Now I am become Death, Shiva, Destroyer of Worlds.”
The Abigail compound, if not the entire world, is pretty much destroyed. If nothing else, the title of the episode drives home the season two logline: No Safe Harbor. If you can’t ride out the Zombie Apocalypse in a fortified luxury villa in Mexico, what’s left? No matter what, the crew of the Abigail is likely going to be short a couple hands when season two resumes in August.
As for the Manawa/Clark family, Madison and Alicia are rising to the occasion. Particularly Madison, who in an apparent moment of clarity, commits a particularly ruthless (yet necessary) act by locking Celia in with the walkers she has been keeping in her wine cellar. Ofelia is also showing signs of adjusting to a world gone mad, making the difficult decision to leave with Maddie, Alicia and Strand without her father. Finally, whether it was his sense of obligation, or the fact that Madison stands up to Celia on his behalf and even calls him her “friend,” Strand returns to save the other three as the Abigail Family compound collapses under the weight of bad decisions. And fire. Lots of fire.
Which leaves us with the respective fates of Nick, Chris, Travis and Daniel.
While Celia was the stuff of a great TWD baddie, she didn’t live long enough to become a major villain (Which is probably a good thing. “The Governess,” anyone?) Regardless, she instilled enough of her twisted philosophy into Nick that he thinks that it’s a reasonable thing to leave his family and “walk among them.” The guy’s a drug addict who has been listening to a crazy person. Who knows what he’s thinking? He does have the occasional moment of clarity, so perhaps he’ll rope it together before Strand pulls up the anchor.
Chris finally snapped in a major way, beginning with last week’s “will he or won’t he kill Alicia and Madison?” moment in which he was caught trying to steal a knife; culminating with his second fistfight with Travis in the show. Oh, and Chris held a young boy hostage so that the boy’s father would lie to Travis about his whereabouts. Realizing Chris is a threat to the Clarks and himself, Travis makes the difficult decision to separate from the group, asking Nick to tell Maddie that he couldn’t find them in the chaos. Leaving his fledgling psychopath son behind to fend for himself may seem like no-brainer to longtime Walking Dead fans – for one, Rick did it to Carol – but Travis had copious amounts of fatherly guilt even before things fell apart, and above anybody else in the cast wants to keep some semblance of pre-apocalyptic humanity.
Last but not least, there’s Daniel, who may or may not have perished in the fire he started to bring down Celia’s Walker Rescue and Doggie Diner. Sure, he’s been hearing the voice of his dead wife. Sure, he’s haunted (quite literally) by the ghosts of his past, and it seems like his lighting the whole place ablaze brought him some sense of closure. However, a big rule in comics and episodic TV: habeas corpus. If we didn’t see Daniel die… well, for one, Glenn survived being pulled into a throng of walkers. Crazy, last second saves are a Walking Dead staple.
So it’s looking like the rest of the second season will, to a degree, be like the fourth season of its parent series with the core cast scattered, but hopefully destined to reunite.
Fear The Walking Dead returns Sunday, August 21st.