‘FTWD,’ “Ouroboros”: Survivors Continue To Cut Ties With Humanity

Tensions mount in Fear the Walking Dead, “Ouroboros” when our familiar castaways collide with the remnants of “Flight 462.” An ouroboros, by the way, is a symbol that depicts a serpent devouring its own tail. So who or what from Fear does this ancient symbol represent?

Strand delivered the most perturbing blow when he not only refuses to allow Alex (female -protagonist of “Flight”) to board Abigail, but also cuts the line to Alex’s lifeboat after agreeing to tow her and her injured companion. This callous, calculated move leaves Madison breathless as she watches Alex drift in open, hostile water.

Did Strand make a grave error? After all, Madison revealed their travel destination in front of Alex; could she and other survivors wreak havoc on Strand’s plan? She proved this episode that she isn’t to be trifled with, killing two living men who threatened to put her injured friend out of his misery. One of those men ended up clogging Strand’s boat. Does this foreshadow Alex’s impediment on his future plans? Maybe she hitches a ride with whoever is chasing Strand and together they could work to take him down. Heavens forbid!

Madison, too, may reconsider her alliance after watching him leave a young woman stranded with only a jug of water to survive. Earlier in the episode, Madison confronted Strand, but ultimately concluded that she, her family, and Strand must work back-to-back or they would “eat each other alive.” Hello, ouroboros allusion. Did Strand set mutiny into motion? He is consumed with surviving at any cost, but is this what will end him…or his compromise his power?

Fear the Walking Dead has long had fun playing with the parallels between Nick’s history of addiction and the risen dead. The series brings that comparison to a climax as Nick finds himself in a hole with a zombie– a zombie buried up to its waist with crabs clawing into its abdomen.

Nick kills the crab-bait, but it isn’t long before other bumbling zombies begin to attack. How does he survive? He covers himself in zombie blood and walks with the undead–a move made familiar to viewers a la Rick Grimes, Glenn, and Michonne (who quite literally walked numbly among the dead). Finding his way to a zombie battle in which his sister, Alicia, Chris, and Salazar are already engaged, Nick tests his limits, stepping toe-to-toe with a zombie, mimicking its growl face-to-face. It isn’t clear if Nick is learning or slipping deeper into darkness.  In that moment, there is no difference between Nick and the zombie he mirrors, driving home the point that those who become the monster, survive the monster– a notion that brings us right back to the ouroboros.

Chris, too, slips deeper into the darkness as he kills an injured, still living- survivor of the Flight 462 crash. He doesn’t grapple with the moral quandary of mercy-killing for too long, but he is clearly rattled by his own penchant for murder. Would he be able to commit this act of “mercy” had he not lost his mother and been consumed with grief? Does grief make survivors stronger?

What did you think of tonight’s episode of Fear the Walking Dead? You can leave your insights, questions, and predictions in the comment section at the bottom of this page.

Consumer Expert Melissa O'Donnell

Teacher by day, pop culture consumer by night- Melissa lives for good stories and loves to share them with fellow TV, movie, graphic novel, and book enthusiasts. She also blogs about pop culture's influence on everything from her worldview to her relationships at undertheinfluence76.blogspot.com-- she'd love for you to join in on her journey.