Season 2 episode 4, titled, "Blood in the Streets," opens as 19-year-old Nick steps up, again. Swimming to shore at night, naked, with a plastic bag tied to his leg as wave's crash around him. Almost as if he's a Navy SEAL.
Making it to shore, he opens the plastic bag with clothes inside and hurriedly gets dressed. All while a helicopter flies above, and searchlights pierce the night. Discovering an abandoned camp of tents, Nick (Frank Dillane) makes noise to draw out any walkers, sees one, and makes use of it. Shortly after killing it, he guts it, and does the walker repellant act by smearing the viscera upon his clothes. Afterwards, he proceeds on a mission sent by Strand (Colman Domingo), formerly a wealthy businessman and owner of the yacht Abigail where his family have boarded.
As mentioned about the season 1 premiere in my August 28, 2015 HuffPost article, titled, "Fear The Walking Dead Pilot: Slow and Steady Does It," I've mentioned, "perhaps Nick will be among those few in the coming episodes who will help others catch up." In other words, of the main characters introduced in the pilot episode, I predicted Nick Clark will be the one who will catch on quick to the zombie apocalypse, which now has proven to be true.
Back in season 1 episode 3, titled, "The Dog," Nick caught on well ahead of all the others shortly after they discovered the horrid looking and growling Mrs. Tran, neighbor of the Clarks. "She's not sick. She's dead," Nick explained. "Why would you say that?" asked Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis) incredulously. "Because it's the truth," Nick replied as the others listened. Yet it wasn't until the season 1 finale when all the Clarks, the Manawas, and the Salazars had finally caught on. Whom all took refuge aboard Abigail shortly after the bombardment of Los Angeles.
It's in season 1 episode 5, titled, "Cobalt," where the character Strand was introduced, then well-dressed, and sharing a holding cell with Nick, among other LA citizens in holding cells all held against their will at a National Guard command post. Yet it took five episodes later, told in "Blood in the Streets," when Strand's backstory is finally revealed and how he became wealthy. This is typical of an AMC series, all in favor of progressive storytelling and character building.
Victor Strand's flashback story is revealed to have begun shortly after Hurricane Katrina's destruction upon New Orleans on August 29, 2005. The hurricane had bankrupted Strand, whose properties were destroyed, as he tells a well-dressed business man at a hotel bar. The same man who later becomes drunk, whom Strand helps to the man's hotel room. Shortly after, Strand takes the passed out business man's credit cards and charges $36,000 to gain a fresh start.
The flashback scenes of Strand's backstory interwoven with the present drama involving the Manawas, the Clarks, with Nick Clark having been sent on Strand's mission, and the Salazars all aboard the yacht Abigail was very well done. The action also gets ramped up, revealing just who was behind the piracy involving the shot-up, overturned vessel discovered near the end of season 2's premiere. Strand had quickly engaged the Abigail into a hide and wait tactic at Catrina Island, keeping at bay a suspected vessel caught on radar from pursuing them at 25 knots.
One of the hallmarks of The Walking Dead series is the moral dilemmas existing in most storylines. And Fear The Walking Dead makes sure it's no different. Strand's refusal to rescue people overflowing a skiff despite Madison Clark's plea to help them in the season 2 premiere; Strand refusing to take on board the two Geary children at Catrina Island in episode 2; followed also by Strand's refusal to take on board two survivors from the downed Flight 462 in episode 3.
"We have to trust each other," pleaded Madison Clark (Kim Dickens), while also still angry with Strand from rescuing other people. "Fine, you know what the real danger is on the ocean? It's people," says Strand to Madison in previous episode 3. Now it's finally in episode 4 that Madison and her 17-year-old daughter Alicia, Travis and his 16-year-old son Chris, and Daniel Salazar (Ruben Blades) and his daughter Ofelia have all found that out.
The scene following Nick's night mission cuts to daybreak. Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) and Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) are both on deck, discussing their planned voyage to Mexico, followed by inquiring into each other's past relationships. Suddenly, both see three individuals on a raft, one of whom is a young pregnant woman, whose also bleeding down her leg. All three call out for help.
Chris instinctively pulls out a gun, but that's as far as he goes as he repeats, "Should I shoot?" Quickly after, Travis, Madison and Daniel hear the commotion, all appearing on deck. Of the three, one of the two young men is asked by Travis about their situation, as Madison and Ofelia help the pregnant woman, while the other young man also joins in the discussion. Meanwhile, Alicia overhears a familiar voice from below deck. Also overhearing, Strand comes out of his state room and rushes to the bridge for the hidden assault rifle, only to find the magazine gone, and says, "Stupid, paranoid fool," who easily guessed right that Daniel removed the magazine. Shortly after, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) appears before them all, and says, "Jack?" All are stunned as she suddenly had recognized the voice of one of the two young men, and that's when they were quickly taken over by three pirates. By that time, Strand had already left the yacht in a Zodiac, yet was fired upon from a distance by one of the young men named Reed.
It may be easy to quickly lay blame on Chris, but that's also being an armchair quarterback. Not every teen coming down the pike in Fear The Walking Dead is expected to be another Carl Grimes from The Walking Dead. After all, it's still early in the apocalypse. He'll learn.
The same could also be said of Alicia, who had confessed before the others near end of the season 2 premiere that it was she who had established radio contact with Jack. Telling Jack they were all aboard a yacht as Jack requested help, who lied to her that he and others needed rescue at sea. The same pirates from a larger group, who obviously had riddled the overturned vessel with a 50 caliber gun discovered by all aboard the Abigail yacht near end of season 2's premiere. The same pirates who locked onto Abigail on radar as Alicia talked to Jack, pursuing the yacht.
The Strand backstory was also became interesting as the origin of the name given to the yacht Abigail was revealed. It was named after the wealthy business man Strand met after the Hurricane Katrina aftermath named Thomas Abigail (Dougray Scott). From then on both became partners. Now we know Strand was not in any way in cahoots with the military in LA as some may have thought. Having told Abigail that he needed to see to a business venture in LA before the outbreak.
After Travis and Alicia are taken as hostages by the lead pirate named Connor after his later arrival at the yacht, Daniel gets free from his bonds, and Madison injures Reed. Meanwhile, as Nick and Thomas Abigail's personal assistant Luis (Arturo Del Puerto) make for the yacht in a Zodiac, Nick spots two armed assailants on board the Abigail through binoculars. The two being bodyguards whom Connor and Jack had left behind after taking Travis and Alicia.
"The redhead one of yours?" asks Luis, about the armed woman. "No, the ones who are armed, they're not us," says Nick. Followed by Luis taking out a high-powered rifle with telescopic sight, and shoots both bodyguards from a distance before the two board the Abigail. Later, Madison is seen in a Zodiac rescuing Strand.
Season 2 episode 4, titled, "Blood in the Streets," directed by Michael Uppendahl and written by Kate Erickson was superlative. And I give it five out of five stars.