Synopsis for 2×02: The Abigail makes land once more and a chance meeting between the survivors and a new family, the Gearys, may expose them to the bleak new world faster than they would have liked.
As quickly as Fear The Walking Dead took to the sea, it returns to land in this episode with strange children who aren’t bothered by dead people washing up on the shore. They leave a shrine of sorts at the fence line that keeps them relatively safe… for the time being.
On the boat, Madison is yelling at Nick for his actions in the last episode and how stupid he was, even as Travis is digging through the ship log Nick grabbed to find that San Diego has already been burned to the ground. They all get together to look over the map and plot a new course of action, since there is still a mysterious boat following them, and settle on hiding out on Catrina Island, where they could potentially hear about what’s going on elsewhere from the wildlife refuge there.
When they dock, a light goes on and off at the house, leading everyone but Daniel, Ofelia, and Strand to pile off the boat to check it out. The same little boy from the opening scene runs out, forcing his father to introduce himself to Travis as George Geary. They exchange tense greetings, but no one gets shot so it’s mostly a success.
Travis and George end up in his office talking about the state of things. Geary pegs them as being from Los Angeles and explains that the government is napalming the coast. He goes on to tell Travis that he’s lost touch with most of the wildlife refuges on western side of the country and that there’s not a whole hell of a lot left.
Meanwhile, his wife, Melissa, is asking Madison a lot of pointed questions about what she used to do and how well she handles children. It’s a slightly off conversation that is interrupted by her oldest son, Seth, who asks if everything is okay.
Ofelia and Daniel are left on the boat and she claims that she’s beginning to understand the world better now. But when Daniel expresses remorse that she’s not supposed to know this world, she continues that it’s good to understand it because it helps her understand him. She calls him cruel and walks away. Travis isn’t the only dad having issues with his kid.
Harry, the little boy, is teaching Nick to play a video game while Willa, the little girl, is talking to Alicia in the living room, but it isn’t long before Harry drags Nick away to see his room. Harry has a bunch of action figures with red dots on their foreheads and when Nick questions him about it, he tells him that it’s what happens when you get sick. He also tells Nick about “power pills” that he’s going to take and keep his whole family together.
Back in the office, Travis and George are getting more heated in an argument about the state of things and he gets really overzealous about Travis’ family and his Maori roots. After the conversation, Travis confers with Madison about what she thinks was the mother purposefully signaling them for something.
Chris follows Seth out to the fence line, where he explains that the bodies are coming from the mainland and shipwrecks and that braining them is essentially a chore for him. When he lets Chris have a turn, he enjoys it a little bit too much and Travis tries to keep him from killing one in front of him. Travis takes his concerns to George, who tells him that this is how we manage now, it’s surrender or survival, acceptance or denial. Travis sees it as giving up.
Nick takes an opportunity when no one is around to try to raid the Gearys medicine cabinet, but he only finds a questionable globe full of pills. They’re the “power pills” Harry talked about and he’s interrupted from doing anything with them by Willa, who drags him off to get him to draw with her.
Madison confronts Melissa about whether or not it was an accident to signal them. Melissa tries to play it off at first, but eventually confesses that she saw them on the pier and had hope that Willa and Harry might have a chance. She tells Madison that she’s not well and that George and Seth aren’t going to leave, but if she takes the youngest two, they might have a chance. When Madison tells Travis about this, he waffles and wants to talk to George about it. It’s only when Nick confirms the pills that Travis seems to give in.
After seeing their pursuers disappear from the radar, Strand declares that they sail at dawn and leaves Daniel alone to make a phone call – to who and about what are questions that are yet to be answered. Seizing the opportunity, Daniel does break into a locked box and finds Strand’s plans to head for Mexico.
Melissa brings a suitcase to Travis and starts nervously telling Madison different quirks about her children when they’re interrupted by George. He wants to know what’s going on and why Melissa is trying to get rid of their kids. Harry stops the fight from happening when he tells them that something is wrong with Willa. When they run up to her room, he says that she took her pill already. Before Madison can get Melissa away from her, Willa re-animates and bites her mom’s throat. As the rest of them flee, George opts to stay with his wife and daughter.
They get Harry on the boat with them and Strand says what everyone else is thinking, “Put him back where you found him!” But Madison doesn’t get to argue much with Strand about the morality of leaving a small child alone when Seth gets on the boat and blames Madison for what’s happening. He takes Harry from the boat, even as their infected mom limps down the pier, and the Abigail pulls away.
It’s an unflinchingly bleak ending that I actually enjoyed for the commitment to the apocalyptic foundation they’re building. Children are a liability, like Strand insisted, but like The Walking Dead, decisions like this will haunt the characters as they continue to grow and adapt to their new reality.