Directed by Edward Ornelas and written by Alex Delyle & David Johnson, AMC's Fear the Walking Dead S07E14 "Divine Providence" was a finely-paced, well-acted actioner with some truly heart-crushing moments. It also offered long-time TWD universe viewers a rare resolution to one of the traditional "Big Epic Showdowns" (at least from what we could tell from the final scenes and the promo for S07E15 "Amina"). And while I know I won't be making a whole ton of fans when I get into it in a minute, it also reminded me (whether it was intending to or not) of why I've preferred Fear TWD from the fourth season on as compared to the first three runs. With Morgan (Lennie James) and Baby Mo (hopefully) making their way to safer shores, the time's come for Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Strand (Colman Domingo) to have a final standoff as the fate of the Tower hangs in the balance. And let's not forget about Wes (Colby Hollman), the "wildcard" who's aligned himself with Strand but isn't exactly the biggest fan of either of his "saviors." So with that in mind, we're throwing on the "MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!" sign and throwing down an image spoiler buffer, and we'll meet you on the other side for a deeper dive into "Divine Providence."
See? This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things! We've all watched enough TWD universe episodes to know that when a storyline gets to the "Big Epic Showdown" point, we usually get a cool extended battle between two sides that's filled with twists and turns until the smoke settles, we have a victor, and they claim whatever it is that they were battling over. Nope, not this time. If there's one theme that this universe has always maintained, it's that working together & fighting through is the only way to survive in this new world order. With this season of Fear TWD, the writers have taken that theme and shoved it in the faces of our survivors. Because their inability to still grasp this concept has cost them a radiation-free existence, PADRE, the Tower, and so much more. And that's not even taking into account those we've lost or will still lose along the way.
Alicia Clark & Victor Strand: A Tale of Four Characters: Look, I'm not going to repeat beating up on the first three seasons of Fear TWD. Do I much prefer the series from the fourth season until now? Oh yeah, definitely. And it's from that perspective that I have to compliment Debnam-Carey & Domingo for essentially giving me two Alicia Clarks and two Victor Strands… we'll call them "Pre-Morgan" Alicia & Victor and "Post-Morgan" Alicia & Morgan. Now, I'm a huge fan of "Post-Morgan" Alicia & Morgan because I feel like their characters grew & prospered when they were part of a much larger and diverse ensemble. And because of those interactions, the bond between Alicia and Victor felt more real… as did Strand's "breaking bad" reasoning. But in this episode, "Pre-Morgan" Alicia & Victor were on display and that's where it made perfect sense to me that no one will be getting the Tower. Because they don't deserve it. Because the Alicia & Victor that were on display in this episode were at their "best" selfish, toxic ways yet. And while making so much of what's going on around them about them would be bad enough, like most toxic relationships this one also comes with one helluva destructive body count and a pretty serious path of destruction. Just to be clear? I know there will be a number of you who are going to read this and want to tell me all of the ways that I'm full of s**t. That's perfectly fine, and I hope seeing them together again was a personal highlight for you. For me, I appreciate their performances through a completely different lens.
You know, as much as we appreciated seeing Wes shuffle off Fear TWD's mortal coil for good? In this episode, Hollman did an excellent job making a stronger case for Wes' position. Alicia, Strand, and Morgan really have set themselves up as "role model messiahs" only to end up looking not that much different than everyone else.
Strand actually being able to keep a straight face while calling Morgan a "coward" is a pretty impressive demonstration of "revisionist history" from someone who let his pettiness cause a nuclear detonation.
That scene between Alicia, Strand, Daniel (Rubén Blades), and Charlie (Alexa Nisenson) was a heart-crusher, with serious bonus points going to Nisenson for how she this line to Daniel, "I'm so sorry I'm not her." And speaking of Daniel, he also gets serious bonus points for how he handled letting Luciana (Danay García) know that he knows she lied to him about Ofelia with that "I am not a liar" line. And speaking of heart-punching reunions, look no further than Sarah (Mo Collins) and Wendell's (Daryl Mitchell) near the end of the episode.
So wait… I'm confused. Does Strand love Alicia as a daughter or more? I know he said "daughter" but then he wanted Alicia to stay with him even before Baby Mo was rescued so I'm assuming she was supposed to be Baby Mo's "mother." Yeah, still a little confused about that one.
So thanks for joining me for this week's deep dive, and please make sure to check back next week when I look at what penultimate episode S07E15 "Amina" of AMC's Fear the Walking Dead has to offer.