Fear the Walking Dead 611 – The Holding
Warning: This review may contain spoilers!
“Welcome to the Holding. We think you’re going to like it here.”
The Holding finally introduces the mysterious group that has been tagging walls with the slogan: “The End is the Beginning.” If there was any uncertainty as to what it meant the opening moments of this week’s Fear the Walking Dead provides the answer. Lucy, Wes, Alicia and Al get a grand tour of the Holding, an underground complex run by Teddy, a man with an interesting philosophy on life and a Fear the Walking Dead post-apocalyptic spin on A Green New Deal.
Welcomed into the Holding with seemingly open arms, Alicia and the crew are interviewed by Nick Stahl’s Riley. He’s fishing for some intel but doesn’t probe too hard. Riley gives Al and Alicia the grand tour revealing how the underground community uses posters, their name for walkers, as compost for the food supply they have established. Using walkers as fertilizer and feed for the chickens is too funky a concept to process, but it seems to work for them. The community’s operation is going so well that they plan to remain underground forever.
The closed community presents an obstacle to Alicia and the others’ bid to gather any intel of their own. Their quest to learn more about why Virginia feared this group so much gets a boost when Wes is reunited with his brother Derek. As serene as the situation seems, the actions of this group above ground can’t be ignored. Tank Town’s sabotage and the people Al and Dwight found in the tower are all victims of this new group and no amount of smiles or rhubarb pie can erase that fact.
The Holding connects some of the dots between The Walking Dead franchises. A late-night snoop session in Derek’s bunk bears some valuable information. Civic Republic Military maps, a logbook and other documents confirm that the group’s attack on Tank Town was by design. Conflicted as to whether his brother is a willing participant in their schemes or just an optimistic follower dogs Wes who wants to believe his brother hasn’t changed for the worse.
Blind allegiance coupled with the cult like following of the group’s ideologies threatens everything that Morgan is trying to build. Teddy’s belief that the surface world must perish so that his underground community can flourish is misguided and dangerous for those who don’t agree. Their secrecy and actions breed mistrust forcing Alicia to initiate an action plan that won’t replicate the betrayal she faced after trusting Strand. Her insurrection doesn’t last a minute and their lives are in peril until Derek steps in.
The Holding is rather pedestrian and the more you learn about Teddy and his merry band of mole people the less interesting they seem. The walkerized Oracle at Delphi is akin to asking someone to explain their interpretation of modern art. It sets up Derek’s rushed and senseless death but does move the plot along. John Glover, whose dulcet tones echo over the loudspeaker for most of the episode, doesn’t make an appearance until things are almost over. It’s unfortunate because his scene with Alicia is perhaps the most compelling in the episode.
Alicia as Teddy’s reluctant new protégé won’t fly if that’s the direction Fear is headed. There’s no reason she couldn’t have escaped with the others, but like Derek’s death it takes us where we need to go. Hopefully further developments will unfold in a more logical and entertaining fashion or Teddy’s slogan might have to be read in reverse.