Fear the Walking Dead Episode 204 Recap: Pirates Board the Abigail
I feel like we missed a few steps upon the start of tonight’s episode. Nick washes ashore, naked, with his clothing in a bag attached to himself. He is in a city of tents, all seemingly abandoned. “Save Us” is spelled out in the sand. Nick lures out a zombie and zips himself into a tent. He watches as it tries (and fails) to bite through the mesh before he grabs it and stabs it dead. Nick drags the zombie into the tent, guts it, and camouflages himself in its entrails. According to some off-hand comments made later in the episode by his family, no one is aware that he left the boat, and as we will see in a moment, everyone has bigger problems on their hands.
But for now, let’s stick with Nick. I want to find out what happened to this seaside tent town, but instead Nick goes inland. He slips past a cordon around a pricey, pristine neighborhood of homes, and again, this place is virtually abandoned. Where did all the people go? Clearly the military didn’t bomb the place, and other than a single walker, there are no dead. Nick has an address written down and he goes straight for that house, where he finds Luis, packing his car hastily. Luis claims that phase one of the housing development is done, and they were about to start phase two. Phase one still should have people in it. Luis is the man who is supposed to smuggle Strand into Mexico. He is put off by the fact that Strand isn’t there, and apparently there are more companions. For now, he and Nick get into his car (after Nick washes the rank zombie guts off himself) and get going to meet the Abigail.
Over the course of the episode, we get a little more information about Strand and his background. After Hurricane Katrina, he has been wiped out, has to start over again. It’s not really clear what was wiped out, but I assume property investments. He is drinking in a bar with a businessman who has come to buy. “When there is blood in the streets, it’s time to buy land,” he advises Strand. He also tells him that he is an opportunist and a parasite. After some drinks, the businessman can barely stand. Strand helps him back to his hotel room, sets out some water for him, and helps him off with his jacket. The man passes out, and Strand takes the man’s credit cards.
An indeterminate time later, Strand is visited in a posh hotel suite by the businessman, Thomas Abigail, and his friend Luis Flores. (Luis’ mother, Celia, works for Thomas’ family. The boys were raised together.) Strand took out a $36,000 cash advance on Thomas’ credit cards, promising that in five years he will be back to where he was. Strand intends to pay him back with interest, and Thomas seems to agree. But he assures Strand he didn’t pardon him; merely obligated him. At some point, their relationship clearly turns romantic, and the two men are sunning themselves in what I assume is the fortified home in the hills of Mexico that Strand has been talking about, because Thomas says, “This place makes me feel like the rest of the world has fallen away.” When we last see the two together, Strand has to go to Los Angeles on business, and Thomas doesn’t want him to go because there has been an outbreak and people are dying. Strand promises to return in two days. So now we know Strand’s motivations: love.
But right now, there are bigger problems to worry about. Travis is still horrified that Strand cut free the lifeboat they were tugging, and Madison tries to calm him down by saying she thinks they need him. “I want to do more than just survive.”
On the deck, Ofelia and Chris are bonding over parents, school, significant others, when a lifeboat paddles up. Two guys and a pregnant woman are on board, shouting that they need help; the woman is bleeding. Chris gets nervous and asks Ofelia several times if he should shoot them. He doesn’t, and the trio climb aboard without asking permission. The rest of the boat wakes up and goes to check on the hubbub. Strand watches quietly, and gets his gun out of his lockbox.
The main guy, Reed, promises they are good people, they just need some help. Madison takes the girl downstairs to check her out while the guys remain behind, telling the story of how their boat sank. Alicia comes upstairs and recognizes the voice of the other guy: Jack. Jack starts punching, Reed starts tying people up, the girl even beats up on Madison and brings her upstairs. They know everyone’s names, even though Alicia swears she didn’t tell Jack anything. Strand jumps overboard in a lifeboat and gets the hell out of there. Reed directs Jack to shoot him; Jack won’t, so Reed does it. He isn’t sure if he hit Strand, but if his gunshot didn’t kill him, hypothermia surely will.
Reed wants the keys to the boat, and doesn’t believe that the man who went overboard has them. Travis says he can hotwire the boat, and Reed agrees to let him try. Alicia promises her mom that she trusts Jack and can make this better. She goes outside with him and he loosens her binds. Jack swears he had no choice; Reed made him do it. But. He promises that their “leader,” Connor, will civilize things. He has to assess the situation, but promises Alicia will be safe.
He reaches Connor, who looks forward to meeting Alicia. Versions of what he told her are true. He was with his girlfriend, Alyson, for three years. His brother died, and Connor saved him, put him to use. He doesn’t enjoy any of this, and Alicia admits that they’ve “done worse” on this boat. “Maybe we found each other for a reason,” she says. Oh, how naive. He wants her to come back with him, and she agrees, promising to help, but her family has to come, too. Jack removes her binds and they hug.
In the main room, the pregnant girl is left to keep an eye on Madison, Daniel, Chris, and Ofelia. Madison thinks that since there are only three of them, they can take them. Daniel starts working to loosen his binds while Madison asks the girl about her baby. The girl is disinterested in talking about her baby, but admits it is due in about four weeks. She gets mad when Madison asks when she last felt the baby kick, which devolves into a discussion between Madison and Ofelia about what happens if the baby is dead in the womb. (True story: at work one day, many years ago, my co-worker and I had the exact same debate, for nearly an hour.)
Connor is on his way to the Abigail, and apparently he wants to meet Travis. Travis has managed to hotwire the boat, and Reed wants him to get it started even before Connor arrives. He does so, and Connor boards with a few other people. He was Travis and Alicia to come with them. He doesn’t need the rest of them. He does promise to take the rest of the group to shore, then they will take the Abigail. Reed doesn’t like this, worried that they might come back looking for the boat.
On the water, Nick and Luis are approaching in a dinghy. Nick sees strangers on the deck with guns, and tells Luis. Luis gets his gun quickly and starts shooting. Chaos erupts, as Daniel gets out of his binds and Travis has a blade hidden in his sleeve. By the time Luis and Nick get onboard, it seems the pirates are all dead. Strand is nowhere to be found, and Luis won’t go to Mexico without him.
In the final moments of the episode, Madison fishes Strand out of the water, rescuing him from the ravages of hypothermia. How she found him is left to mystery.
You can watch previews for the next episode, titled “Captive,” using the players below.