It didn’t take long into watching Fear the Walking Dead to recognize the greatest threat wasn’t the walkers, evil people or starvation. Nope, the main threat to everyone’s safety was the Clark family. The Wrong Side of Where You Are Now somewhat made the case that they’re the show’s biggest bad guys. Once again they put everyone’s lives on the line for their constantly shifting and fluid morals.
As we’re gradually catching up to the main timeline, the black and white flashbacks are starting to get more color. That’s a cool, subtle touch. Naomi and Morgan manage to drag John to safety while Alicia, Strand and Luciana attack the Vultures. Despite their limited numbers, Alicia’s crew is holding their own.
Naomi remembers a field kit that could save John is in Mel’s ride, but Alicia blows it up before she can get to it. Alicia is here for none of the games tonight. Luciana has a chance to kill Charlie for killing Nick, but she gets distracted long enough for Charlie to run off.
Morgan implores Althea to stop being a spectator and help save John. Althea shows her loyalties by turning the SWAT guns on Alicia to back off of Naomi and John. And while he’s on a roll, he convinces Charlie to come with them. As Alicia, Strand and Luciana shoot at them it’s occurring to me that this season would have a totally different perspective if you viewed Madison’s crew as the villains. The only place that can help John now is the stadium, the one place no one wants to visit. Alicia and company are going to cut them off, but first Alicia goes to kill Mel. Initially, she wants him to say how long Naomi was with them, but the dying Mel doesn’t have any answers so Alicia skewers him with her spear. Zero games Alicia.
Althea asks Naomi what happened and how this was her fault, but Charlie says she was the one to blame. Time for some flashbacks!
Charlie returns to the stadium asking for help for Mel, who got into a crash after an argument with Ennis. These moments with Nick and Charlie have a real tragic tone to them knowing how they will end up. Nick questions Madison on the logic of bringing him back to the stadium. ‘Mom, we can’t keep doing this!’ Exactly Nick, exactly. Of course later the roles will reverse because the Clarks can never be on the same page even when the stumble onto the same book.
On his makeshift cot/prison, Mel warns them that Ennis has rounded up thousands of walkers and is planning to take them to the stadium. Ennis’ logic escapes me here. Clearly the stadium is a desired property for the shelter and supplies. Letting walkers overrun it is a lose/lose scenario for everyone.
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One thing is clear. Naomi was not with the Vultures. Mel tries to pitch to her on the value of leaving. Preacher say hello to the choir. Naomi doesn’t need a ton of encouragement to fold from the stadium table. She’s had bad vibes about this place from the start. Naomi tries to convince Madison it’s time to go and I’m detecting no flaws in her argument. Besides, it’s not like this is the only stadium in the country. Maybe find an arena with some sky boxes next time? But Madison has found her bone and she won’t be deterred.
Just when I thought Madison had been cured of her eternal stubbornness she decides this is where she’s making her stand. And she’s not going to hear any grumblings in the ranks. At least that’s how it appeared when she sent Mel off with the Land Rover, but wouldn’t let Charlie go with him. Mel pleads with Madison to let Charlie come with him as she’s already seen her parents die in front of her. Madison’s crew does not look like they agree with her.
Charlie completes the guilt package on Nick and Alicia, who were already doubting Mom’s plan. They take a car out to go find Mel despite Nick’s earlier misgivings. Not even in the same episode could Nick stay consistent. This is another reminder why he’s dead.
Strand and Cole tear down the barricade to help protect against the walkers so Nick and Alicia can leave out. Again, showing incredible disregard for everyone else if it means their conscious can be eased for a moment.
Nick and Alicia find Mel passed out in the Land Rover and they climb in to take it back the stadium. But not before Ennis and his caravan pass by. Despite the warning, Madison and company seem puzzled when a Vulture driving an ice cream truck casually leaks an oil trail. Nick and Alicia are paralyzed with doubt that they haven’t set a trap and the Vultures are waiting for them to go in. This is problematic as they continue waiting even as Ennis and crew unload their walker payoff. Nick and Alicia have done some dumb things, but this is pretty high up there.
The Vultures light the trail making Nick and Alicia’s entrance even harder. And all Madison can do is watch the fire start to burn while her children are content that though they might be dying, they did the right thing. I can’t the Clark logic.
Back to the present, Althea has arrived at the stadium, but needs some encouragement from Morgan to crash through. Her hesitation proves warranted as the smoke clears and the stadium is full of burned walkers. That’s a crazy visual and more proof that the Clarks won’t let people have nice things.
Knowing how this story is ultimately going to pay off helps a lot. Otherwise The Wrong Side of Where You Are Now would be a frustrating return to business as usual as the Clarks manage to screw up yet another sweet sanctuary.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: AMC