[SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you’ve already watched Sunday’s “We All Fall Down” episode of Fear the Walking Dead.]
The survivors of Fear the Walking Dead last week realized that the ocean was not much safer than land when they escaped the city on Strand’s boat, the Abigail. This week, they discovered that Los Angeles was not the only area infested by the infected. They also encountered a family stocked with supplies that appeared to be in pretty good shape on an island.
But appearances can be deceiving, and the father’s plan for his family to accept death on their terms on their own land set up a chaotic final few minutes in which Madison attempted to take the youngest boy with them on the boat, before his older sibling fetched him at gunpoint. However, as showrunner as Erickson explains, while a showdown between Strand and Madison over the boy was averted once the brother demanded he be returned, there could still be a conflict emerging as Strand’s true motives begin to materialize. Erickson touches on that and plenty more as he provides insight and intel on the latest episode. (Click through both pages for read the entire interview, and for more Fear scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We start off and they’re trying to hide the Abigail from this pursuing vessel, so they head to this island and they see a light and go to check it out, but Daniel and Ofelia stay back to keep an eye on Strand. We talked about this last week, but Salazar still does not trust this dude, does he?
DAVE ERICKSON: That’s exactly right, and what we learn in this episode is San Diego is not safe. Strand, had told our family that San Diego was their destination. They know that’s not viable anymore. They know it’s not true and I think Daniel’s big concern is if we all get off the boat and leave Strand, Strand just might start her up again and leave us here. So he stays with an intention of trying to size him up and trying to get a better sense of what his plan is. And he pushes him a little bit in the episode. He asks him overtly, “Who are you going to leave behind?” And I think it’s an interesting dynamic between Strand and Salazar because they’re both survivors. I think they can see that in each other and Daniel’s not afraid to challenge him on it, which is fun.
We meet this family on the island, and they’re a self-sustaining family and in that sense they’re in petty good shape. But the father, George, is only going to do so much to keep his family safe, and that means just sort of staying there until the infected eventually breach their perimeter. What was the inspiration for this story?
In looking at different approaches to the apocalypse, I think we’re accustomed to seeing folks who either fortify and they decide they’re going to survive no matter what, or people on the run going from point to point trying to find some sanctuary. And the irony here is you’ve got a family who has a pretty good setup, and they’ve got water, and they’ve got supplies, and they have food.
But he’s someone who is connected to this land and he does not want to move, and he also looks at the scope of this outbreak and he’s the first person that says, “It is done. It is over. This is not getting better. We’re not going to come back from this and I’m going to take care of my family as long as I can, but when the fence goes down and the infected get in, I’m not going to run. If I’m going to die, I’m going to die here and I’m going to accept that.”
He sees it as a natural course. He’s sees it as part of nature, and I think that kind of challenges and blows Travis’ mind a little bit, because for Travis the idea is, I’m never going stop. I’ll do whatever I can to protect my family, to protect my son. And I think it blows his mind a little bit to be confronted with this different philosophy.
It’s interesting because while people may get along well in life, like this family we meet, how they want approach death or the act of survival could be vastly different, right?
For Melissa, the realization is they have three kids and they have two young children, Harry and Willa, and to a certain degree, she understands her husband’s philosophy. She understands what he’s saying, but she also looks at her little ones, and can’t imagine a world where there is no future for them and can’t imagine a world where there is no hope. When she sees the Abigail approaching the island, she sees hope. She sees the boat, and then when she meets Madison, she sees in her someone who was a guidance counselor, and has her own kids, and has worked with kids all of her life, and she sees possibility. I think Melissa looks at the Abigail as an escape and an opportunity.
Her intention is never to leave, but really for her youngest. She looks at her eldest, Seth, who is very much a devotee of his father’s philosophy, and she knows he’s never going to leave, and so makes this effort to save her two youngest.
We see Nick rifling through the medicine cabinet, which naturally leads us to wonder: Is this guy, who was a hardcore drug addict a few days ago, still jonesing? What sort of state is he in now?
He went through his hard day or two, and the reality is it would have extended longer than that, but when he was in the pen, I think we see him going through the withdrawal when he first meets Strand, and what we’ve tried to do is buy ourselves a little bit of time. So he’s definitely not healthy yet, but he’s had his moment of clarity. His realization at the end of last season was this idea that I’ve been living my own apocalypse for years now and the world’s finally caught up with me, and I think he’s fascinated by that.
What we’re going to see with Nick over the course of the season is a guy who develops this fascination, this fixation, and this comfort level with the world of the apocalypse and with the dead, and it’ll speak to what Strand saw in him, because I think what Strand recognized was Nick has always been somebody who could survive on the fringes. He was homeless for stretches of time. He knows how to survive already, and that was the currency. I think that’s what Strand recognized and that’s what Strand thought could be of value to him, but he’s got to find a new place to channel his addictive personality as the next several episodes play out.