There are no major moments or big revelations in this week’s episode of Fear the Walking Dead, “Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame.” The episode is a relatively entertaining hour, so long as viewers don’t stop for too long to contemplate the events. To anyone who took a moment to consider what happened over the course of 42 minutes, it’s hard to escape how facile the storylines were.
Let’s break down the four storylines individually.
The synopsis for this week’s episode states, “Alicia must reconcile with her past decisions.” That sounds weighty, but opaque, until it becomes clear exactly what that means. In the episode, the “past decisions” that Alicia must reconcile with is the decision to get drunk the night before. She spends the episode in a hungover funk. In that hungover state, Alicia grouses because the zombie apocalypse interrupted her life plans, and she sleeps with Jake because he expresses concern. “Alicia, are you OK?” he says, before she jumps him. Easiest pick-up line ever. After they sleep together, Jake offers Alicia a copy of one of his Bukowski novels. Alicia declines, stating that she no longer believes in “poetry and art” because, in a zombie apocalypse, there’s no point. Later in the episode, Jake delivers a clumsy monologue telling Alicia that something in the world has to matter besides guns. In the final music montage, Alicia jumps from a cliff into a lake, which is when she wordlessly realizes that there is, in fact, more to life than guns, like for instance jumping from cliffs into bodies of water.
In the episode’s cold open, a old woman dies in her sleep and turns into a zombie. Rather than kill her to save himself, the woman’s elderly husband hugs his wife. Unable to bite him because she’s not wearing her false teeth, the woman hopelessly gums at his shoulder. The husband puts his temple next to hers and with one bullet, ends both of their lives. When they fall dead, they knock over a lantern, setting their little house on fire.