BG Blogger examines a central theme from FearTWD Episode 205
Imagine floating on a raft in the middle of the ocean. You can feel the wind ruffling your hair and cooling your skin as the sun shines down. The current carries you, but in no particular direction. You simply drift. That feeling of being out there with nothing but horizon to sail toward could be the freest you’ve ever felt.
But it would be an illusion.
Because on a raft on the water, you’re actually a prisoner. You are powerless to direct yourself. You are at the mercy of the sea. You are a captive adrift on something impossibly larger than you, and all you can do is let the tide carry you.
It’s in this exact situation that the characters in Fear the Walking Dead find themselves. While they may have the power to move toward Mexico on the Abigail at the speed and in the direction that they choose, the majority of them are captives of one kind or another, and there was evidence of this all throughout Episode 205, which happens to have been entitled “Captive.”
The title goes beyond the three characters that were in obvious captivity during the episode–Alicia and Travis on Connor’s dry docked ship–and Reed aboard the Abigail.
Take Nick for example. When Madison told Strand never to send Nick off alone again, he said to her:
And she responded:
Even though Nick seems to be in recovery, he is a captive to the past. He can’t break free of the person that he once was–someone who was unreliable and couldn’t be trusted to make good decisions. Madison is being held prisoner, too. She is also stuck in the cell of her memories, not able to escape her motherly concern and worry about Nick relapsing.
Then there’s Chris.
He was imprisoned inside of his grief over losing his mother, and now, he feels guilt over the fact that Travis and Alicia were captured as he explained:
Being held captive by his own guilt led him presumably to kill Reed, and seeing how deeply it affected him to shoot him, I can’t help but think that the walls of his prison have just gotten taller.
And Travis? He’s caught in a prison of his own. He explained:
and said that even though he didn’t cut the rope he was no better than Strand.
Having to kill Liza has had a bigger impact on Travis than he’s let show. He told Alex:
Even though Travis is now free of the prison on that dry-docked boat, he can’t escape himself, the compromises he’s had to make and the actions he’s been forced to take.
Alex has been a captive, too, first helpless to do anything to help her friend and now by her own anger and lust for revenge.
Of all of the characters in FTWD, Daniel is the most familiar with the violence that is now commonplace in the world. During his time in El Salvador, he served as a torturer, so he’s accustomed to getting blood on his hands, but last night, we got the first signs that he is not at peace with the past.
When Daniel was preparing walker Reed to go and see Connor, he heard a voice from his memories speaking to him. A part of Daniel is trapped behind the bars of his memories of his actions. It’s not clear yet why he heard the voice now, but I don’t believe he’ll be escaping from the jail of memory any time soon.
Nor will the other characters. As they sail on to Mexico, they’ll undoubtedly continue to rail against prisons from which they cannot escape. There is no sign of freedom in sight in the world of the walkers.
And maybe there was never really any freedom before. As Alicia and Jack said:
Secretly, all this time, mankind has been a prisoner of nature, held captive to her whims, unable to escape the fates she has in store for each individual person.
And maybe that’s the real takeaway from FearTWD–as we drift through life enjoying what feels like freedom, our hidden captor, our keeper, nature always wins.