How come nobody goes out to sea in an AMC zombie apocalypse series? Season 2's premiere of Fear The Walking Dead, titled, "Monster," answers that. Enter Victor Strand's beautiful blue and white yacht named Abigail.
"Shouldn't you be on the bridge?" asked Daniel Salazar (Ruben Blades). "The boat will tell me if there's an obstacle," said Victor Strand (Colman Domingo), a former wealthy businessman pre-apocalypse as he scanned the sea at daylight while on deck. Though it may not be as big as the 400-footer owned by Paul Allen, a multi-billionaire Microsoft co-founder, Abigail brims state of the art as well as being a luxury ocean vessel. A yacht with a capable range of 3,000 nautical miles, or more if the engines aren't overtaxed, and with a top speed of 20 knots (23 mph).
The previous night was hellish as seven survivors quickly boarded Strand's yacht after the societal collapse of Los Angeles. Those being Daniel Salazar and daughter Ofelia (Mercedes Mason), Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis) and his 16-year-old son Chris, and Travis's girlfriend Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) with her 19-year-old son Nick and 17-year-old daughter Alicia. As the yacht took to sea as zombies swarmed Strand's beachfront estate, all witnessed the dramatic nighttime spectacle of the military bombing inferno of LA's cityscape while safely on deck.
The nighttime aerial bombardment of LA was eerily similar to another night scene in Season 2, episode 5 of The Walking Dead. In a flashback scene, Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal) and Lori Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies), who at that moment believed her husband Rick had died, watch among other survivors as military helicopters bomb the city of Atlanta. All had watched in awe of the illuminating spectacle while safely on the outskirts at a higher elevation.
The similarity ended there, for the spinoff AMC series Fear The Walking Dead promised to be different. And so far has kept that promise. During the six episodes of Season 1, unlike in The Walking Dead, viewers were privileged to witness gradual societal breakdown. Midway into the premiere season, both the Manawas and the Salazars all heard on the radio of governors declaring a state of emergency from eleven states while fleeing downtown LA. As most of LA's citizens initially believed it to be a virus outbreak capable of a cure, local, state and federal entities began a gradual collapse, including law enforcement and emergency first responders, along with the collapse of public trust in those institutions, notably the military. Even so as society whom once were moored to trust in public institutions, though even before arguably tenuous, have now been shattered, one institution now remains to be kept at all costs, the family. Which is why The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead both so far are powerful series.
The coming together of three families, the Manawas, the Clarks and the Salazars is proof. In a scene in episode 3 of the previous season, while all are safely at the home of Madison Clark, a National Guardswoman asked, "How many occupants?" Travis answered, "Um, nine altogether." Sounding delightfully startled, she replied, "Big family, names please?" Travis, whose ex-wife Liza was then alive, also did not neglect to include the Salazars, as Daniel's wife Griselda was also alive though injured during their escape from violent rioting in downtown LA.
Then in the Season 1 finale after learning about Cobalt, a code name from the National Guard, Travis, Daniel, Madison, Ofelia, Chris and Alicia all left in vehicles to rescue heroin addict Nick, Griselda, and to get Liza who assisted at the command post's hospital. Meanwhile, Griselda had died. Whereas Nick met Victor Strand, one among many citizens unjustly held in holding cells.
It was Daniel's plan to free the zombie horde chained in an LA arena by the National Guard, and to make use of the horde to provide distraction as well as to infiltrate the command post. All in a race against time during Cobalt, the humane termination of those sick or gravely injured before military evacuation of LA. Upon finding Liza (Elizabeth Rodriguez), who also saved Nick and Strand from zombies in a hallway, she also told Daniel and Ofelia about Griselda's death. The coast was clear for all nine, until Corporal Adams appeared to try and shoot Daniel. Daniel had tortured the info about Cobalt out of Adams. Travis then lunged upon Adams after Ofelia was accidentally shot, and beat him severely, for Travis previously agreed with Adams to let him go after he also gave info about the command post. Having scrapped their original plan to head east to take safety in the desert, all nine drove towards Strand's beachfront estate.
Upon arrival at the spacious beachfront estate, all eight were told by Strand to make themselves at home, and help themselves to food, while Ofelia was treated for her gunshot wound in the arm by Liza, a nurse. It was later in the scene between Nick and Strand that we learn a bit more about the former businessman. Seeing Strand packing, Nick asked, "Where are you going?" To which Strand replied, "I must stay in constant motion." Nick (Frank Dillane), fretting, asked, "What do we do? Can we stay here?" Then Strand replied, "No, you cannot. No one stays."
Strand may be a former wealthy businessman pre-apocalypse, yet his mindset never left. The need to be in constant motion, like the scene from the George Clooney Oscar nominated film Up in the Air, as Ryan Bingham gives a business seminar, saying, "The slower we move, the faster we die. We are not swans. We're sharks." Sharks have to constantly be in motion. Like the commercial, a body at rests stays at rests, a body in motion stays in motion, Strand has adopted such mindset for survival, who later reveals Abigail to Nick, his luxury yacht moored off shore. Then tragically later, Liza discloses that she'd been bitten in the torso by a zombie during their night escape at the command post, and has Travis shoot her in the head while on the beach.
Now with seven survivors on board in the season 2 premiere, and after Liza's burial at sea, it would be presumptuous for Strand to considering them crewmen as yet. Because he secretly evaluates. Though also later, Daniel revealed to Madison that he also is keeping an eye on Strand.
Yet of the seven survivors, Strand took a liking to Nick. Strand saved Nick's life while both were in a holding cell before a National Guardsman arrived to take Nick away to be humanely terminated, after examining Nick's low temperature fever. Strand then bartered for Nick's life, giving the guard his flashy cuff-links. When Nick asked why, Strand told Nick he sees value in him being a heroin addict. In his way of thinking, a heroin addict must be adept survivors.
The two have a similar conversation while on board Abigail, when Strand asked, "How many times should you have died?" Nick replied, "I don't know. Every time I used." Then Strand says, "Were you afraid? That's fearlessness. That's focus." Qualities not just valued formerly in the business world of Strand, but also now in the apocalyptic world as he tried to explain to Nick.
At the same time although mostly soft-spoken, and being a benefactor so far on the surface to seven individuals, Strand is not a man to be trifled with. Later, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) reveals to all that she established radio contact with a man named Jack needing their help at sea. Strand then angrily demanded that Alycia disclose all that she told Jack about their situation. Soon after, all discover an overturned vessel riddled with bullet holes as a result of piracy, along with floating zombies resulting from the massacre, and a vessel detected closing on them fast at 25 knots (almost 29 mph).
Shortly after Travis hurriedly picked up his son Chris in a Zodiac that had taken a swim along with Nick, and Nick's return from investigating the overturned vessel, Strand engaged a getaway. And high seas adventure continues. A good departure for an AMC zombie series.