Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 11 was a breath of fresh air compared to Episodes 9 and 10. There were still quite a few plotholes to contend with and moments that just left me annoyed. But this was the best episode in FTWD Season 7B so far (kudos to Alycia Debnam-Carey, who directed it.)
This is a review of Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 11, “Ofelia,” along with a look at fan reactions. So there will be spoilers below.
Luciana Finally Gets Her Screentime
I’m so glad to see Luciana (Danay Garcia) finally get the screentime that she deserves. She’s been longsuffering on this show for multiple seasons now, barely having more than a couple of lines. Judging by how well she carried her scenes, they really missed out by putting her in the background all this time.
The episode is focused on Luciana, Daniel, and Wes. Daniel is confused about Ofelia and struggling with his memory, believing that his daughter is still alive somewhere out there. Luciana has taken on a daughter-role with Daniel, helping walk him through the moments in life where his mind gets a bit murky. But despite the growing camaraderie between them, he still doesn’t quite trust Luciana.
Daniel is convinced that Ofelia left him a random card with the word “boat” on it as a clue to her whereabouts. He’s really confused, and it’s tough to watch. (I’m told he has PTSD-induced amnesia rather than dementia, but this episode plays hard into the dementia angle.) There’s a tough moment when Daniel tells Luciana that she is not family and he does not care about her as much as he does Ofelia. He tells her that even though she’s alone, it doesn’t give her an excuse to stand in his way or try to take Ofelia’s place.
This was an outrageously hurtful thing for him to say, and it was tough to watch. But sometimes when a person is struggling with memory problems, they lash out and say hurtful things that they’d never utter in a healthy mindset. It’s good to see the show delve into the realities of this.
The Stalkers Make Confusing Antagonists
Before long, they’re captured by the Stalkers — a group whose motivations seem to shift from one episode to the next. One moment, Arno’s only goal in life is to kill Alicia and make her pay for killing so many of his comrades. Then another moment, he’s building his own giant community and wanting to take Strand’s Tower for himself. He’s a little all over the map. I kind of wish this show had gone the daring route, and showed us things only from Arno’s perspective for a few episodes. He might have come out looking more like a protagonist if we truly saw his perspective.
But without that, he comes across as a confusing antagonist whose motives aren’t entirely clear.
I like how this episode finally gives us callbacks to Daniel’s history, reminding us that he was once an interrogator for the CIA. It seemed like they forgot those skills for quite a few episodes, and it was nice to see his ability to fall back on his training, despite his confused mental state.
Daniel becomes convinced that Ofelia is hiding out in a boat on the property, and Arno plays along in order to get him to reveal the weapons cache location to him. But Daniel knows that Arno might be lying, so he tells him the wrong location so that he’ll send half of his troops away, giving them a better chance at escaping.
His plan is pretty much foolproof until he falls victim to his own confusion and refuses to run away without searching for Ofelia in that abandoned, landlocked boat. This costs him a chance to escape. When he realizes that Arno and the others were all lying to him, he kills a young Stalker just before he was about to tell Wes about his brother. Apparently, when Daniel falls back on his old training, that also includes falling back into his habit of mercilessly killing people.
The Ending Was Quite Confusing
Luciana, Wes, and Daniel find themselves stuck on the boat, needing to figure out how to escape.
Somehow, in the very next scene, Daniel magically appears behind Arno while he’s alone, and puts a knife to his neck. This is the part of the episode where the plotline starts to go off the rails. Daniel manages to get Arno into a cage and he lowers him into the zombies as punishment for lying to him about Ofelia.
Luciana and Wes are appalled. Just before Arno dies, he tells Luciana that the people Alicia was supposed to take care of are all going to die because of her and her people. He also tells her that an unknown person is releasing the dead in the pit, and their only chance of living is to get to the Tower.
OK, I’m going to have to suspend some disbelief here. There are obviously other places to go besides the Tower — like maybe outside the irradiated zones entirely?
Anyway, after Arno dies, Daniel has a really heartfelt moment where he realizes that Luciana has seen the worst in him and still stuck around. She really is his true family. This was a touching moment, and I loved how well Ruben Blades played that role.
But the next scene is where things go off the rails again, plotwise.
Luciana gathers all of Arno’s people in one big room and basically tells them that it’s time to band together and take the Tower. And all of Arno’s people simply … agree. I mean, Daniel just killed Arno and another guy in cold blood, in a really horrific way. They’ve all been loyally following Arno for a long time. But they’re just now going to follow the person who killed Arno without any second thoughts?
It was far too easy.
And exactly what’s going to happen when they realize that Luciana wants them to team up with Alicia, the very person who got a lot of their friends killed?
This part aside, the rest of the episode is great. Luciana knows she needs Daniel’s CIA spy abilities to take over the Tower, but he only thinks clearly when he thinks he’s going to save Ofelia. So she lies to him and tells him Ofelia is in the Tower. This is exactly what a cogent Daniel would do in her place, I believe. And right or wrong, it’s the decision she thought she had to make to survive. But I think we’re going to see a tragic end to her storyline. I think they will beat Victor and take over the Tower, and then Daniel will kill her in the end.
Wes, however, can’t stomach any of this. He can’t handle lying to Daniel now that he’s decided to try to live a better life, so he bolts. And that would have made perfect sense, except for the end. Wes decides to join forces with Strand to try to defeat Morgan and Luciana and Daniel. To me, that’s an odd decision because Victor isn’t morally better than the people Wes just left. It would have made more sense for Wes to just strike out on his own entirely.
All in all, I enjoyed this episode. It was the best one we’ve had in a while, and I was glad to see Luciana get so much screentime. It was unfortunate to see some of the plotholes in the storyline, but it was still a vast improvement over Episodes 9 and 10.