Fear the Walking Dead 610 – Handle with Care
Warning: This review contains spoilers!
After a couple of gut-wrenching episodes Fear the Walking Dead takes a different approach in Handle with Care. With Virginia out of the way, there’s no time for anyone to let their guard down as there is an even more menacing threat on the horizon. In the meantime, Morgan tries to bring some calm to his burgeoning community and reaches out to Daniel to help facilitate matters. It has been too long since Daniel has been at the center of things and Handle with Care puts him onto center stage.
While the Travelling Wilburys wail about leaning on each other in the background, things kick off in a pedestrian manner unfolding in a day in the life fashion with regular activities like building shelters and feeding the masses. It’s not too subtle a hint at what type of tone the writers are setting, and the heaviness of the past few episodes melts away somewhat seeing Daniel crack a smile as he serves lunch. Daniel’s smile hides his true intentions and Handle with Care’s narrative structure, which mimics the interview style technique employed in Modern Family, lets us see that beneath the smiles and good-natured conversations, some of Daniel’s old fire still exists. The wrinkle in all of it is that Daniel is recounting what happened while sitting behind bars.
Lies and mistrust cloud an uneasy reunion as Sherry, Strand and Sarah meet Morgan. Virginia splintered the once tight group, and they all went rogue using lies and deception to keep their respective groups safe. Realizing that their separate gambits probably won’t work against the new threat, Morgan calls everyone together to share information and repair their broken trust.
Grace’s contractions cause concern and with Morgan off site in search of a baby monitor, everyone else gathers for the meeting. Like a pit of vipers, the information session is tense particularly with Dakota present. Trust is at a low ebb and the meeting is cut short by a massive explosion. Worried that there may be a traitor among them all eyes point toward Dakota but any time to process what is happening is cut short when several walkers start rolling down a nearby hill.
Handle with Care then transforms into a whodunnit with the cache of weapons looted and a horde of walkers banging at the gates to the community. The explosion was no accident and the hoard’s presence force Daniel to ask Grace and Charlie to find shelter elsewhere. The tragedy of Tank Town, still fresh in everyone’s minds, pushes the levels of mistrust among the group even higher.
Daniel and Strand have a tense face-to-face meeting to get some answers but all that results is a gruesome revelation of how Daniel survived Strand shooting him in the face many years ago.
Suspecting that Strand engineered the missing cache of weapons, Daniel was about to return the favour until the sound of gunfire erupts. Morgan’s return eases the situation but doesn’t solve the mystery surrounding the guns.
Lies and deception, hallmarks of most of Daniel’s adult life are the driving forces behind his seemingly blind allegiance to what Morgan is trying to build. Daniel seeks redemption, scarred by the fact his daughter Ofelia, unaware of his time in El Salvador as a highly trained killer for the Junta and the CIA, never really knew him. Due to Daniel’s penchant for lying everything in Handle with Care is called into question. Grace and Charlie’s momentary disappearance is the direct result of a mix up surrounding instructions Daniel gave them. When the weapons show up things go from bad to worse for him.
With June’s help, the mystery surrounding Daniel’s behavior and the strange events become clearer. His checkered past has claimed another victim – his mind. Psychological scars have damaged Daniel’s sanity hampering his quest to change the man he once was. Change is hard, both internally and externally, and is something Strand can relate to. His word probably carries the least amount of trust among the group but there is good in him too and when he offers Daniel an olive branch it is met with skepticism.
Handle with Care is another solid entry in Fear’s Season 6 anthology series. Daniel has always been a complex and interesting character and Rubén Blades delivers another standout performance. There are a couple of characters, Luciana and Sarah, to name a few that are awaiting the anthology treatment but with things heading toward Dallas and the new threat that may have to wait.