The show actually improved a good bit with these two episodes. It was surprising. Even characters I previously thought were irredeemable did a much better job not being idiots in these episodes. Honestly the change was so sudden it was odd. A more subtle shift to being better survivalists may have worked better but whatever I suppose. At least I wanted to scream at them less in these episodes.
Episode 103 starts not with the usual cast but with the members of Flight 462 from the webisode series that aired in between the two seasons. They had said it would be connected. I assumed the plane flying over Los Angelos and Nick seeing it was the most that would happen but I was wrong. The episode starts with the plane wreckage in the ocean and survivors scrambling to get out of the water. Among the survivors are Alex and Jake. Jake is badly burned and injured but alive.
When we catch up to our usual cast they quickly find the plane wreckage and lots of luggage that has washed up on shore and want to go search it for anything useful. Nick, Alicia, Chris and Daniel all go ashore to investigate what has washed up. With Strand and the others still on the Abigail, Travis works to clear the intake pipes that cool the engine so that the boat will runs and Maddie questions Strand about their next move.
Of course things don’t go smoothly but what does happen is Chris proves to be potentially useful and Nick learns a new trick. He figures out that if he is covered in the blood of the “infected” then they don’t attack him. I’m sure that will prove useful information for him more than once from here on.
Nick is definitely shaping up to be the show’s lead character. Which makes sense as he was the first character we met in episode one. He is also about as far from Rick Grimes as one can get. He’s a junkie who prior to all of this served no purpose at all in life. He had more in common with Merle Dixon than Rick but unlike Merle, Nick is a good guy at heart. He is a survivor and a smart one at that. He learns fast and he is creative. I don’t know if he has potential to be a leader like Rick but he certainly has potential to be useful like Daryl Dixon and to be able to survive and even save others.
If Nick is the intended lead then he is safe from being eliminated but I don’t really think anyone else is. They haven’t killed anyone important yet this season and that is worrisome. It’s a big cast. They will have to cull the herd soon if for no other reason than to allow for new characters to be brought in.
After the ending of Episode 203 I really wasn’t sure where we would find the group in episode 204 but they seem to have gotten over things quickly. It starts with Nick washing up on shore and wandering through a refuge camp seemingly with a purpose but not one evident to the audience for most of the episode. With Nick on shore everyone else deal with what can only be described as pirates trying to steal their boat and supplies. We also learn quickly that most of the group have no idea where is Nick is or that he isn’t on the boat.
This episode really lets Nick shine while off on his own and most surprisingly of all, even Maddie and Travis, both of whom I considered to be irredeemably useless and even a liability to everyone else actually do really well at helping out in this episode. They make smart decisions and react with logic instead of emotion fueled idiocy. Alicia also seems to be acting more intelligent but her end game plan isn’t clear. So, I’m not 100% sure about her yet. She is at least finally doing something.
These two episodes gave me some hope for the future of the series. They held my attention and were in my opinion the best two episodes of the entire series so far. I feel sure we haven’t seen the last of Alex and Jake (because why a whole webseries of build up of they don’t appear again?) and I really think Nick and maybe even the others have potential to actually be decent survivors from now on.