No place is safe during the apocalypse, even lavish Central American farms. As Fear the Walking Dead on AMC approaches its mid-season finale, the survivors aboard the Abigail reach their stop — Strand’s (Colman Domingo) safe house — in “Sicut Cervus”, a Biblical allusion to the eternal thirst for salvation. Thirst these survivors shall, because this temporary home is another living hell as a barricaded horde of walkers are kept below, just waiting to be unleashed.
After surviving against Connor and a zombie Jesse McCartney, the Abigail endures one last shootout with Luis (Arturo Del Puerto) killed by his contacts. It doesn’t make sense because they end up letting the yacht arrive on shore anyway, so clearly it was a plot move so Fear the Walking Dead can lighten up its large ensemble cast just a bit.
On shore, a local church whose parishoners perish by poisoned Eucharist in the episode’s prologue, waddle to the survivors for an afternoon massacre. Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) stalls when he sees Madison (Kim Dickens) struggle against a walker and a panicked Alicia (Alycia Debnam Carey) rushing to her aid. Chris is still pissed at Madison, for “replacing” his mom for Travis (Cliff Curtis), even though that’s kind of not what happened and Chris is just being a dumb, moody teenager. It goes bad later when Chris borders on dangerous anti-social behavior and attempts to kill Madison at midnight, but is caught when Victor Strand’s gunshot wakes up everyone.
Yeah, there are other storylines that matter here, too. After arriving at the farm, Victor stays bedside for a very sick Thomas Abigail (Dougray Scott). Victor promises Thomas to “go with him,” with Luis’s mother Celia (Marlene Forte) providing the same poison she used against the church. Instead, Strand fires a bullet in Thomas’s head just as his breathing stops.
The title “Sicut Cervus” comes from the original Latin of Psalm 41:2, Sicut cervus desiderat ad fontes aquarum, ita desiderat anima mea ad te Deus. Translated through Google: “As the deer panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after you, O God.” It’s an echo of our survivors who are overwhelmed by walkers, pirates, and sneaky people with concealed agendas. Daniel (Ruben Blades) is the most suspicious, adamant about holding onto his weapons when the farm’s staff forces him to. He’s immediately aware it was Celia’s doing to keep the dozens of walkers locked in the compound. (Who else could it be though, really?)
Most telling is Daniel’s own history: During the massacre, there’s a brief few shots to a little boy in a South American jungle, his neck held like how Daniel was holding a walker. It’s unclear who Daniel was in that flashback; in Talking Dead, Jim Gaffigan had the same guess I had — that Daniel was the little boy. It contextualizes a lot about Daniel, his remarkable resourcefulness and acute strategy in asymmetric warfare. He’s done this before. Not everything has changed in the apocalypse. People are still cowards, people are still evil, and everybody still hates Chris.