Episode Title: Shiva
Original Airdate: 5-22-16
After copy-catting a huge plotline from TWD’s second season, FTWD had a lot to make up for in this mid-season finale. After discovering that Strand killed a dying Abigail, housekeeper Celia tells him he and the others have a day to pack up and leave. Nick goes back to the boat to fetch a turned Luis and bring him back to his mother to soften her on the eviction. She decides everyone can stay, except Strand, as long as they accept her ways. Madison tells Celia she wants to understand, so Celia leads her to the wine cellar full of Infected. While Celia monologues about her religious beliefs, Madison locks her in the cellar and walks away.
Travis sets out to find an unbalanced Chris, who ran after being caught holding a knife over a sleeping Madison and Alicia. Travis finds him holding a boy and his father hostage at gunpoint, demanding to be left alone. Travis refuses to leave his son to wander the new world on his own, mentally broken. When the two have not returned, Nick assures a nervous Madison he will bring them back. However, after finding them, Nick is sent away by Travis, who insists his son needs him more than Madison does. Travis tells Nick to pretend he couldn’t find them, so Madison won’t come looking either.
Meanwhile, after having an altercation with some of Celia’s guards, Daniel is locked up in another part of the compound, where he starts having visions of his dead wife, and remembering when he was a child and turned into a murderer. She convinces him her spirit is restless, having not been properly buried, so he breaks free and sets the entire compound on fire, especially the wine cellar, and potentially himself. When the entire place is in flames, an evicted Strand comes back to rescue the survivors. Nick comes back to tell Madison he had no luck finding Travis and Chris, but is upset to find the compound ablaze, as he was in agreement with Celia. He refuses to get in the truck and walks off into a herd of Infected (camouflaged, of course) as Strand drives himself, Madison, Alicia and Ofelia to safety.
Though this episode still copies TWD’s Season 2 mid and season finales by destroying all the captive Infected as well as the survivor’s safe place, it at least did other things differently. I like the decision to break up the group into at least three, if not four, parts. Frankly, as a whole this group is not that exciting. Each separation has a lot of potential for future plots, as they all offer up equally interesting paths for the characters, perhaps allowing them to reconnect by the end of the season.
The rest of the episode was fine, aside from Madison’s “killing” Celia, which was really good. I have to wonder if she planned it or just saw an opportunity and took it. Either way, I dug it. Otherwise, there wasn’t anything terribly exciting, but there really hasn’t been on this show. During TWD’s episodes (mostly the two finales) my heart just pounds for an entire hour, unsure and scared of what’s to come (even if nothing does). That hasn’t happened once with FTWD. I’m not sure if the writing simply hasn’t allowed for it yet, or I’m just not as attached to the characters. Thirteen episodes in and there haven’t been any major risks or losses, so I’m thinking it’s a little bit of both. I don’t need full action week after week, but I do need to know that not everyone is safe. Perhaps that will come with time.