-- (SPOILERS AHEAD) "Fear the Walking Dead" kicked off Sunday night with an innocent image that quickly becomes haunting: a little boy and girl playing on the beach ... seemingly unaware that a walker is shambling toward them across the sand.
Another perspective reveals a chain-link fence separating the undead and their tiny, playing prey.
On board the Abigail, the gang discovers that San Diego is not the safe haven Strand thought. Like L.A., the military apparently burned it down.
Meanwhile, Strand and Daniel deduce that the ship chasing them must be the one that shot up and sank the vessel from which the recovered logbook came -- and their pursuers have military grade weapons and a faster boat. So instead of running, the gang decides to find a cove to hide the boat. Travis seeks out an island on which sits a park ranger station, feeling it will have a short-wave radio, and possibly information about the outbreak.
As they approach land, Maddie sees a light flashing in a darkened home. Strand docks the boat, with Daniel and his daughter Ofelia opting to stay behind to keep an eye on him. Maddie, Travis, Chris, Nick, and Alicia approach the home, with Travis announcing, essentially, that they come in peace. A little boy -- the one from the beach before -- runs from the house to greet them, before being called back by his dad.
The patriarch, George, invites the newcomers into his cozy island home. George explains to Travis that the ranger stations along the coast all reported that the virus has spread to the continental divide. He also explains the plague is just nature correcting itself, and "nature always wins."
Nick and Alicia bond with little Harry and Willa, and discover Harry's action figures -- each named after a loved one, and each with a red dot drawn on their foreheads.
George's wife Melissa questions Maddie about her job and her affinity for kids; questions Maddie finds odd. Nevertheless, they spend the night; Maddie confides in Travis that she feels as if Melissa is being kept against her will.
At daybreak, Seth teaches Chris "maintenance" -- clearing walkers that the fences catch overnight by taking a pickaxe to the walkers' heads. Chris finds the chore satisfying -- but his dad doesn't take to this violent chore too well.
"This is how it is now," George explains flatly to the concerned father.
Nick skulks around, presumably looking for drugs, and finds a stash of pills hidden in a globe. He's distracted by the little girl, Willa, who recruits him to come draw with her; he leaves the stash behind.
Maddie questions Melissa as to whether she signaled them on purpose. She did; she has MS and knows her man won't let her family leave. Melissa wants the Abigail to take her kids off the island against their father's will. Maddie in turn tries to convince Travis.
Aboard Abigail, Daniels picks a lock and finds a sub-machine gun and Strand's secret plans to travel to Mexico.
Meanwhile, Strand takes a phone call from parties unknown and promises to deliver something to them by sundown.
Nick tells his parents about the stash. As it turns out, he wasn't snooping for drugs: the poison pills he found "are not recreational."
"He's planning to 'Jonestown' his whole family," Nick says of George.
George comes across Melissa's plans to give away their kids, but before a family argument can take place, Harry comes down and says, "Something's wrong with Willa." The parents rush upstairs to find the girl dead from the stashed pills. Her distraught mom cradles the little girl, and she turns, biting her mom's neck.
George tells the rest to leave, and take Harry with them.
Maddie and company rush Harry to the boat, but Seth comes back, rifle in hand, and takes his little brother back. That's when walker Melissa shuffles down the dock.
Seth tells his brother to wave goodbye to the departing Abigail. While the little boy's back is turned to his zombified mom, Seth dispatches her off-camera with a single gunshot.
"Fear the Walking Dead" returns next Sunday, April 24, on AMC.