Strand’s ‘Guardian Angel’ Is Back on ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ (RECAP)

Spoiler Alert
Ryan Green/AMC

[SPOILER ALERT! The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Fear The Walking Dead Season 5 Episode 2, “The Hurt That Will Happen.”]

Things are pretty tough for all the survivors on Fear The Walking Dead right now. They just lost their home. They’re in an area that, apparently, has high radiation levels. There are decapitated walker heads hanging from the trees. No one wants their help.

With the addition of one word, things get even worse for Victor Strand: Daniel.

Daniel Salazar never had much fondness for Strand, and though six years has given him a cat named Skidmark(!) it hasn’t given him any inclination to forgive and forget. While Strand tries to use his silver tongue to earn survival, Alicia and Morgan run into new obstacles.

You Still Talk Too Much

Strand and Daniel’s storyline this episode largely revolves around the former trying to prove to the latter that he is, indeed, a changed man. Surprisingly, Daniel doesn’t shoot Strand the moment he shows up at his gates—instead, he allows him inside and they talk, and Strand tells him Madison and Nick are dead. He also insists he’s trying to change, but the trouble with that is that Daniel can’t believe Strand is capable of such a radical personality overhaul.

Daniel allows his former enemy to use his long-range radio to talk to Luciana, and Strand finds out things with the rest of his group are even worse than he thought. As such, his mission shifts from simply securing his survival to what he came there for: talking Daniel into letting him use the plane.

A New Threat

Meanwhile, Alicia and Morgan, and John and June, are having issues of their own. They head out in separate directions to look for Al, leaving Luciana behind at the truck stop to heal. Alicia and Morgan discover a new set of horrors: Irradiated walkers. When Morgan takes one down and nearly gets taken down by it, a woman shows up and tells him to stop talking and take his clothes off, because he might be infected. When she lets Morgan use her truck to clean himself off they discover she isn’t a threat, though she looks like one at first. Her name is Grace, and before the fall, she helped maintain a nuclear reactor. Her efforts lead to all the factory workers and their families getting involved and eventually killed, and because she feels guilty about that, she’s made it her mission to get rid of all of those walkers. “I couldn’t take care of them then,” she says, “so I’ll take care of them now.”

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The show has made a definitive statement about Alicia's strength and her ability to be a leader.

John and June, in their search for Al, stumble upon a sign that matches writing on the van the kids in the previous episode were driving. They keep going in that direction thinking they’ll find the kids, but instead they find a creepy, boarded-up house with the word “sick” written all over it.

One Less Dangerous Thing

John radios Alicia to let her know they might have found some of Grace’s irradiated walkers… except these are just bones in a pile. The group heads over there, and sure enough, the place is full of them. Grace asks June and John if they touched anything or breathed in any of the ash, which they deny (they definitely could’ve breathed in the ash, though, and John’s acting a little weird after that).

That night, Morgan tries to talk to an increasingly reckless Alicia about her walker-killing habit. He tells her there was a time he thought killing was the only thing could do, and Alicia maintains that for her, that’s true. “Every walker I kill, that’s one less dangerous thing out there,” she says. Her friend says it used to be like that for him, until someone brought him back — now, he wants to help Alicia return from that darkness. The way out, he says, is opening the door to people, possibility and “the hurt that will happen.”

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Morgan, Alicia and Grace part ways. They offer her their help and she refuses, but she says it’s not about her deserving to be alone after what she’s done: She’s terminally ill from radiation exposure and won’t risk anyone else’s wellbeing. Something of a compromise is reached when they agree to stay on the other side of the walkie.

Making it Worse

While all of this has been happening with the rest of the group, Luciana, nerve damage in her shoulder and hopped up on pain meds, hears a crash outside and goes to investigate. The long-range radio tower is down and a small horde of walkers amasses outside the door, but as it turns out, that’ll be the least of the group’s problems. She passes out inside, and when she comes to, the group discovers that the walkers are gone… or rather, they’ve been decapitated and hung from a billboard outside the truck stop. Uh-oh.

As the episode ends, Daniel tells Strand it’s time for him to leave. Shocked, Strand says their friends need help and begs him to give him the plane. “I’m not giving you the plane because you’ll make it all worse for them,” Daniel says. “Every time you help people, you end up hurting them.” He tells Strand the next time he sees him, he’ll kill him, then he sends him on his way into the walker-infested darkness.

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If Dwight and Morgan can make it to Texas, why can't these characters find their way to Virginia?

Other Observations

  • DANIEL. IS. BACK. And he’s still pretty much the same, given how angry he was at Strand! I’m looking forward to seeing him reunite with Alicia.
  • This show now has two (three?) main conflicts going on and it hasn’t really addressed either one. It makes sense that Morgan’s not all that concerned with what happened to the factory given that Al could be dead, but I’d like it if we got some answers on this whole walker-heads-hanging-from-trees thing soon. Which reminds me…
  • My dumb theory that Troy’s hanging the walker heads lives another week! (I know it’s not going to happen on the show. I don’t care.) In serious theories, the walker heads probably have something to do with the group that took Al. Unless this show’s going to introduce a fourth random group out of nowhere, which I hope they don’t.
  • Anybody else’s heart jump when Strand mentioned Nick and Madison, and when Daniel referenced the dam and said Alicia was like her mother? It’s been so long since this show acknowledged any of the earlier seasons, I couldn’t believe my ears.

Fear the Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC