These last two episodes were the best they've done. There was a ton of build-up, and except for an infuriating cliffhanger, it was all paid off.
Instead of skipping out and saving only himself, Nick fulfilled his potential and became a true leader, possibly saving a couple of hundred lives. He treated Alejandro's pain with compassion, and finally made him see that the people of the colonia were not his possessions. Okay, the way Luciana rejected Alejandro might have had something to do with his change of heart, too. Nick and Luciana together pushed Alejandro into becoming the hero he needed to be.
With all of the vicious, psychotic cult leaders we've seen in the Walking Dead universe, it was nice to see one going down with the ship and sacrificing himself for his people. I nearly cheered when Alejandro started the bus and took down the wall. The supermarket gang didn't get the colonia, after all; the colonia got them.
Nick led the blood-covered people of the colonia through Tijuana to the border, with Luciana carrying the orphaned little girl that Nick had championed, only to unexpectedly encounter armed resistance. What happened? Were those guys from the same group as the man who was shooting at Ofelia? I hope it wasn't a remnant of the U.S. government trying to keep people from crossing the border. Wouldn't they see how pointless it was? Then again, the government did bomb all those cities in an attempt to stop the disease. They haven't exactly handled the apocalypse with intelligence, compassion and forethought.
A big theme this season was people versus place. Our extended family had separated, but each had found a place they thought would be safe: the hotel, the colonia, the chicken farm. In the end, they all realized that it was the people that were truly important, that the actual place didn't matter. Even Luciana realized that as important as the colonia as home was to her, the people had to come first.
If the producers of this show had sat me down at the end of season one and asked me what I wanted for season two (and wouldn't it have been cool if they had?) I would have told them to either write out or drastically improve the characters of Chris and Travis, and give Nick and Alicia the lion's share of character development. And son of a gun, that's what they did. While Nick's ascension to adulthood and leadership of the colonia was certainly the more prominent storyline during the second half of this season, I have really enjoyed Alicia's less flashy but consistently enjoyable character arc, and the way she recently connected with Madison as they discovered the strengths they had in common.
Alicia didn't hesitate to choose exile with Travis over the safety of staying in the hotel. And then she doubled down when she killed Andres, a man she liked, in order to save Travis' life. I wonder if Travis could learn to love Alicia like a daughter? She did just kill someone for him. By the way, isn't it interesting that Madison, Travis and Alicia have all killed human beings now? When Madison confessed to Travis that she had murdered Celia, she said that she'd always been like this. Was that a hint that Madison killed someone before the apocalypse, too?
I hadn't even realized that Travis had injured Oscar in the previous episode. Too bad. I liked Oscar. And Andres, Elena and Hector, to some extent. Goodbye to a whole bunch of characters. Sure hope that broken gate doesn't end up being a problem for Elena and Hector.
Sadly, we just left Victor Strand behind too, since he decided to put place before people. I thought he had truly connected with Madison and maybe he did, but not strongly enough. I hope this isn't the last time we see Strand. But if it is, at least he didn't die horribly in a zombie attack. I can imagine Strand living comfortably on the fifth floor, with a gorgeous ocean view and enough to eat.
-- Loved the blinker on the bus of death. And it was nice that Alejandro didn't have to die alone.
-- That shot of all of the cars backed up at the border was stunning. Again, much like Rick on his way to Atlanta.
-- During the visit to the supermarket, Madison treated the bodies of that family as if they were cordwood.
-- When they arrived at the colonia and Madison told Alicia to wait in the car, I was really worried that Alicia would get killed. Thankfully, no.
-- Things I could do without: extremely graphic brain surgery, and the close-ups of knives going directly into Derek's ear and Brandon's eye. Did someone order them to accelerate the violence content, or was it a finale sort of thing? Interestingly, Andres sticking a scalpel in Oscar's brain was the least traumatic brain death I've seen so far on these shows: just one slim blade sliding unsquelchingly into a circular hole.
-- I kept expecting Daniel Salazar to return, since we never saw his body. Guess not. I wish they'd shown him dead so I could stop wondering about it.
Alejandro: "Nick is right. This is ending."
Luciana: "Not for us. Only for you. Lie to them again before you go."
Wow. Never piss off Luciana.
Strand: "I wouldn't die for him. And I won't die for any of you."
Don't sugar coat it, Strand. Tell it like it is.
Nick: "Be brave but careful. Your words."
Nick: "You want to stay and fight, but it's their lives you're being brave with. Yours is already over."
Not quite as emotionally gripping as "Wrath" and the cliffhanger was, as I said, infuriating, but this was a terrific season finale. Four out of four walls,
Billie Doux loves science fiction but hates horror, and is confused about why she loves The Walking Dead so much.
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