Synopsis for 2×09: Madison and Ofelia are starting to lose it, Strand and Alicia are just trying to help, and Nick plays a dangerous game with faith and drug dealers.
Nick’s newest sanctuary may not be all it’s cracked up to be when he witnesses a ritualistic sacrifice alongside the victim’s daughter. As it turns out, when people are sick in Luciana’s town they willingly walk through a school bus out to the wall of infected and allow themselves to be eaten. Nick tries to spare the little girl some heartache, but she wants to watch her father get eaten…
Meanwhile, we finally see what’s happened to Strand, Ofelia, Alicia, and Madison – they’re driving around in the truck looking for Nick. After arguing with a single-minded Madison a bit, it’s decided they should finally return to the Abigail after two days of searching.
Shaken up by the morning’s events, Nick is called upon to help aid the sickly. He watches Alejandro, who is a pharmacist and not a doctor at all and who may just be in charge of the makeshift town, treat an elderly man before he speaks to Luciana and they both pointedly look at Nick.
Surprise! The Abigail is gone from it’s place and Strand immediately believes that the military watched them dock and took advantage as soon as they were out of sight. Alicia gets into a spat with Madison, painfully shouting, “Mom, it’s me and you now, whether you like it or not!” when she’s clearly still holding out hopes for Nick. Madison doesn’t even bat an eyelash at her well-adjusted daughter and only acknowledges her when she comes up with a plan to leave a note for Nick.
They head towards the Rosarito Beach Hotel, where they find it barricaded but empty. Strand has a dapper pullover from somewhere in the truck and makes a joke about the service being subpar when no one answers the bell.
Luciana recruits Nick to walk through the same bus to the outside and makes quick work of pinning a bloody infected to the wall so that they can both cover themselves in blood. She lays out the rules, which are essentially Nick should never speak, and tells him that he’s coming with her because no one would miss him. When he asks who will miss her, she tells him they’re already missing.
Further inside the hotel, Strand’s group finds an abandoned wedding party and Ofelia shares a little bit about her previous life. She was to be married once, to a man named William, but he moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and she stayed to take care of her parents. Strand warns her off thinking of the past and Alicia struggles to keep her mom functional.
Broaching the subject of the ritual that morning, Luciana explains to Nick that those who are near death volunteer to join the dead. They become part of the wall protecting the town and they have a discussion over just what is happening to the world. Nick doesn’t know what’s going on, but Luciana is convinced the dead will die out and the world will be new.
He asks her if that’s Alejandro’s teachings and she adamantly argues that they would be lost without him. She shares that she watched him get bitten and he didn’t turn, even as Nick calls bullshit.
Alicia and Madison get into another argument when she wants to go check other floors for supplies and Madison wants her to stay. Ultimately, she leaves with Ofelia and Strand and Madison set out to get drunk in the hotel bar.
It turns out Nick and Luciana were walking to drug dealers, presumably Las Manos from last episode, where Luciana trades oxy for other necessary supplies. It used to be two carts of supplies, but was cut down to one before Nick and Luciana are shown into a warehouse/grocery store.
While Alicia and Ofelia are exploring the hotel, Strand and Madison are having a little bit of sharing time. Audiences finally hear about Madison’s past, though it’s a little underwhelming. She’s an Alabama girl, who tended bar all through college to get through school and she wants tequila.
On one of the upper floors, Alicia realizes that the rooms are full of infected when she goes to open the first door and something thuds against it. When they finally find a room that seems empty, they begin to gather supplies. As they’re leaving, Alicia finds one of the infected in the shower, having hung himself. This might be a faster opportunity for characters on Fear The Walking Dead to realize we’re all infected? Nick’s earlier assertion that if you’re bitten, you die seems to be leading them to that conclusion.
Nick goes to throw a snack cake into the cart and Luciana stops him, telling him that they are only putting essentials in the cart. Soon after, he sees the makeshift tent city inside the store that houses many of Las Manos’ family members. He’s distracted from his staring when Luciana makes him help her load the cart up with water.
Alicia and Ofelia have a discussion in another empty room about the man who gave up. Ofelia seems to be able to relate to him being tired of surviving, but Alicia asserts that they’re family now and there’s no giving up like that. Even so, Ofelia takes the opportunity to give Alicia the slip when she gets in the shower.
As Luciana and Nick go to leave with their grocery cart – she didn’t bring back the last one or what? – Nick is tackled to the ground and they find he stole the snack cake. They threaten to cut his hand off, but he has Luciana translate for him: he tells them that they need oxy, which Nick has, but they want a second cart of water for it. Why Luciana translates these threats for him and allows him to make those promises is anyone’s guess – for the safety of the town, she probably should’ve let them cut his hand off.
Drunk Madison and Strand continue to have their drunken heart to heart, where he muses about how they might’ve met at this very bar in another lifetime. He teases that he would’ve hit on her and Madison brings the mood down by talking about Nick’s father, who gave Nick his “darkness.” She tells him Steven willingly went into oncoming traffic, but that she’d lied to the kids about it, before getting increasingly drunk and angry. She smashes glasses, he plays an offkey piano loudly.
After coming out of the shower and finding Ofelia gone, Alicia goes to the balcony and realizes the infected are falling off their own balconies and heading towards the sound of Strand’s piano. She tries to get to them through a set of stairs, but finds it filled with infected.
Once they make it back to the Colonia, Nick finds the girl who watched her father get eaten earlier in the day. He’d stolen the snack cake for her and tells her that he’s sorry. Luciana watches this with some surprise before she calls him to Alejandro.
Alejandro, meanwhile, chastises Nick for what he did. This man is another one of Nick’s wayward father figures, who tells him that everything is about death and that faith will bring them through to the other side of this catastrophe. After the dead make it to their final resting place, the faithful will remain. Nick also gets a glance at his bite mark before he’s threatened that Alejandro will feed him to the wall if he endangers everyone again.
Strand stumbles away from the piano in time to see a few of the infected shambling towards the relatively unguarded bar and finally realizes the trouble they’re in. He and Madison drunkenly fight off many of the infected, but end up cornered behind the bar with no real escape in sight.
At the same time, Nick is listening to Alejandro preach to his flock and looks like he’s buying into another promise of faith, his story doomed to repeat itself. First Cecilia, now Alejandro is going to fill Nick’s head with ideas and ultimately twist him up more than he already is. It’s a repeat of what we saw in the first half of season two and I can’t say I’m all that excited to see how it turns out (with broken promises and shattered faith again).
I am, however, interested to see this Shaun of the Dead-style Winchester Tavern/Rosarita Beach Hotel stand-off next week. And maybe Travis next week… is anyone missing him and Chris?