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REVIEW: Fear The Walking Dead 2×11 “Pablo & Jessica”

It’s Sunday and you know what that means: it’s time for another review of AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead! This week’s episode is called “Pablo and Jessica,” which may have some people out there scratching their heads because we simply have no idea who those two people are! Well, not yet anyway. To learn more about these two mysterious and apparently named characters, keep reading! Will there be spoilers? You better believe it!

Right off the bat I would like to express my disappointment with the lack of Chris this week. Yes friends, there was absolutely no Chris in “Pablo and Jessica.” After last week’s farmer slaughter, it’s starting to become clear that there is a distinct possibility that Fear the Walking Dead is trying to show us how “villains” are born in the zombie apocalypse. Oh well, there’s always next week. Onward!

In “Pablo and Jessica” we get to see Nick helping out and being a generally good guy around the community. How do you think he does this? Oh by manufacturing drugs,  of course. It’s also worthy to note that Nick has finally gotten rid of that bloody white t-shirt and washed his face, so he’s moving up in the world. Nick confronts Alejandro the pharmacist about his zombie bite and Alejandro tells him the circumstances that led to his being bitten. Obviously, this is a tough pill to swallow (yeah, you saw that) and one need only look at Nick’s reaction to the story to know it’s more than likely a bunch of nonsense; I don’t believe it, anyway. Not for a second.

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Later, Nick plays soccer with Luci and some children which was a bit on the touching side; gotta admit it. Scenes like this work well juxtaposed against the destruction of the world, as they perfectly illustrate the power of humanity to overcome tremendous obstacles. Nicely done. This is short lived however, as we soon learn that Luci’s brother Pablo was found…in pieces. I’m going to take a wild guess here and attribute that to zombies. You heard it here first, gang.

Next, Alejandro presents Nick with his very own house! All that drug manufacturing seems to be paying off (do not attempt), and Nick humbly accepts his new home and status in the community. That same night, Luci stops by (hmm) and she and Nick have a little heart to heart about their families, which was yet another good scene. I do enjoy Frank Dillane quite a bit, and Nick is a fun character to watch, it’s just a shame this show can be rather weak at times. What happens next is something that should come to the surprise of just about nobody when Luci and Nick finally get to kiss! I have to admit, after all the romance fears I have had with this show thus far, this really didn’t disturb me nearly as much as I thought it would. Yes friends, I think my rugged and cool exterior has been touched by the love of two fictional characters on television. How nice.

Back to the hotel! Remember when Victor and Madison drank all that tequila and jammed out not too long ago? Well now we can see how they managed to escape the hotel bar when all the balcony-jumping zombies attacked. Go ahead, guess how. If you said “zombie guts” you’re right! New week, old tricks; get used to it. Of course all this leads right up to the moment when Alicia and Elena met up with Madison and Victor from last week’s episode. We get to know Oscar and some of the other new characters from last week’s episode a bit better, and Madison wastes no time putting them to work with all sorts of tasks such as cleaning…and…straightening up.

Alicia seems to be getting more and more badass with each new episode (last week’s balcony debacle not withstanding), and is really starting to establish herself as a leader type character. How does she do this? By telling everyone what to do and coming up with an admittedly genius plan to rid the hotel of the undead. In order to do this, the group leads a horde of zombies out over the pier, where they will presumably fall to their second demise in the powerful riptide below. This was another strong scene this week, and provided some much needed tense moments.

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In typical Elena fashion, Elena carries that sweet axe around but never uses it. This is a huge missed opportunity for some excellent zombie apocalypse carnage, and disappoints me to no end. Some of the highlights of this particular story thread were Kim Dickens, who always gives a nice performance as Madison, and yet another great Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) scene. The latter is not without its issues however, since we are once again forced into an emotionally weightless euthanasia scene. It turns out that Oscar’s wife Jessica (from the zombie crashed wedding) is still in the hotel and guess what: she’s a zombie! Of course this sort of thing is frowned upon and Victor takes it upon himself to sort her out one way or another (READ: he wants to kill her). If we only knew these characters better, scenes like this would work so much better. Thankfully Domingo delivers and brings some much needed dynamics to this otherwise typical and shallow scene.

So, what we have here is another average-to-perhaps a bit better than average episode of Fear the Walking Dead. I think the title of the episode is striking, as it might suggest that the deaths of two characters we never even saw should have a huge impact on us as viewers. What it actually achieves is the exact opposite, which I believe was the intended effect. “Pablo and Jessica” sort of illustrates the often futile nature of life and survival in the wake of a cataclysmic event, which has an impact all its own; a very sobering impact, but one nonetheless. It’s time for that letter grade.

Letter Grade: B-

+ Tons of action this week.

+ Some excellent performances saved an otherwise mediocre episode.

+ Alicia: badass?

– Title card was weak.

– Elena, would you use that blasted axe already?

– No Chris. 🙁

Extra Thoughts:

I enjoyed “Pablo and Jessica,” and while it wasn’t without its problems (most of which are the usual problems), we’re starting to see some growth with the characters and got a few really good scenes out of it. We are now approaching the home stretch in this second season, and the absence of a big bad is somewhat alarming for a show like this. Personally, I hope it’s Chris. But you knew that already.

What did you think of this week’s episode of Fear the Walking Dead? Was a step in the right direction, or should it be forever banished into television program oblivion? Let us know in the comments section and on our Twitter page!

 

About the author

Robert Porter