Can we give our girl Alicia a break, pretty please?
Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 9 firmly focused on the fan favorite as she came to terms with even more changes in her life.
“Follow Me” was an introspective hour that helped us understand our heroine’s actions and why waging war on Strand was the only way forward.
If you watch Fear the Walking Dead online, you know Alicia has been through far too much.
Yet, the show seems intent on putting her through some more torment, and quite frankly, it’s hard to imagine when it will stop.
She’s being pursued by Arno, battling a mysterious illness after being bitten, and more importantly, she’ll be reuniting with her mother she thought was dead.
Alicia: Hey. Hello? How did I get here? Hey, I’m talking to you.
Paul: Hey. Easy.
Alicia: Didn’t you hear me?
Paul: No. I didn’t. I haven’t heard a goddamn thing in months.
Alicia: What’s going on? How did I get here?
Paul: You’re gonna have to speak a lot slower if you expect me to read your lips.
Alycia Debnam-Carey turned in a raw and emotional performance as Alicia reacted to the weight of everything happening in her life.
Alicia is visibly struggling, both physically and mentally, and I hope she survives all of these battles with the people who have wronged her.
It was a miracle she made it back to the submarine and, of course, Morgan, but the purpose of this hour was to set up Alicia’s arc for the back half of Fear the Walking Dead Season 7.
We already knew Padre would be a big part of it, but we aren’t getting much in the way of answers about the mysterious illness after the zombie bite.
The element of ambiguity surrounding this particular storyline is fun because it’s fresh in The Walking Dead lore.
We’ve had people remove limbs to save themselves following a bite, but we haven’t had someone afflicted with a virus on the back of it and, you know, surviving.
Survival is critical in this universe, and Alicia has survived so many horrors that, if she dies, it has to be one of the most honorable deaths.
Then again, there’s been much foreshadowing about her death that maybe Padre will be the safe haven people expect.
My theory is that they will have little to nothing to do with the CRM or any of the other communities we’ve come across in this universe.
In order to get the ball rolling on the plots for Fear the Walking Dead Season 8, Padre will have to deliver in many aspects.
Alicia’s time with Paul was fun, mainly because we, as viewers, were like Alicia in those initial scenes.
We didn’t know why she was there and more importantly, what Paul’s motives were.
Alicia: How did I get here?
Paul: I brought you here. I was coming back from a food run. Found you passed out in a barn about two miles north. Good thing I came along when I did. I checked on you, saw your arm… or what’s left of your arm.
Alicia: That’s quite a statement. I got bit. I wasn’t gonna let him take it from me.
Paul: I figured if it had come from a bite, you would’ve turned by now. What’s left of it didn’t look infected. Still, you were burning up no matter how much medicine I gave you.
The nicer aspect of this storyline was that it harkened back to the early days when the characters would have chance encounters with people they didn’t know were heroes or villains.
On the main series, the lines have been drawn because of how many years ahead of the other shows it is.
Paul should have had a bigger arc, but this show has proven to have a knack for introducing far too many characters, only for them to disappear and never to be seen again.
Paul’s storyline was heartbreaking, more so because it truly resonated with Alicia and where she was at in life.
The wider concern is the Arno of it all. The dude has some serious plot armor, a la Morgan, and it was difficult to believe he escaped unscathed while his men somehow all got killed.
His revenge plot against Alicia is half-baked, to say the least, and the show hasn’t done the best job of introducing him and making us care about him.
He strikes me as the type of villain that will be killed off with little fanfare, possibly as an afterthought. Then again, we know Alicia feels terrible for what happened in the bunker.
Teddy put a lot of weight on her shoulders to help start a new world order, but there has to be an even bigger picture here.
Alicia: A girl saved me.
Paul: I didn’t see a girl. Maybe she got you to the barn. What is it exactly you were running from in the first place?
Alicia: I appreciate your help. I, um… I really have to go. There are people that are counting on me.
I doubt the put of irradiated zombies was a part of the plan. Teddy was a great villain to follow on from Virginia, but I would have much preferred him to survive instead of feeling the ripple effects of his actions via half-baked plans.
For now, the rivalry between Alicia and Arno is a bit tit for tat, and unless many of the big characters, or even any of the secondary characters, start to perish, well, it’s hard to believe there are stakes.
A show about survival should be brutal, and we have many ruthless characters that appear to talk a big game.
As the midseason premiere “Follow Me” was another middle-of-the-road installment. Strong performances can only go so far, so there’s still a lot of work to get the series back on the right track.
Arno: Herd must a fell in. Probably been stewing down there for months.
Sage: How many do you think there are?
Arno: Too many. If one of them gets out, none of us are going anywhere. We’re gonna take the Tower for ourselves.
The nuclear blasts presented such an astounding reset for the series, and the writers are squandering many of the opportunities for good storytelling.
But these episodes are bordering on as tedious as some of the worst from Fear the Walking Dead Season 5.
What are your thoughts on Alicia’s journey?
Are you buying this war with Arno?
What do you think will happen next?
Hit the comments below.
Fear the Walking Dead continues Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.