Fear the Walking Dead: Blood, bonds, and obligation

Alycia Debnam-Carey as Alicia Clark, Lorenzo Henrie as Christopher Manawa, Fear The Walking Dead -- AMC
Alycia Debnam-Carey as Alicia Clark, Lorenzo Henrie as Christopher Manawa, Fear The Walking Dead -- AMC /

On Fear the Walking Dead we have a small group of people. The words blood, bonds and obligations have come into play concerning who will protect whom.

It seems as though there are hard and fast rules about who people would choose to protect in dire circumstances. There are expressions like blood is thicker than water. People use the word family to describe friends when they want to convey a closer relationship than one that is formed by choice. If you’re family, you can’t choose to not be family.

When you use terms like step-mother or step-brother it implies a little more distance and not a blood connection or bond. Obligation sounds very impersonal. A debt to be repaid. Daniel Salazar is very conscientious not to be in anyone’s debt.

But could these terms have meanings that are incongruent with their definitions or with the way they sound on paper? Stress is causing some crumbling of these connections on Fear the Walking Dead.  

A husband and wife or significant other relationship can become a family, but it is not a blood bond. Madison and Travis are having some difficulty with the conflicting views in their relationship with each other and their relationships with their biological  children and  their step children.

Strand uses the word obligation quite often and Colman Domingo does as well in the video clip. Domingo says that Strand is obligated to Thomas. Obligation sounds so much less loving and romanticized, but in fact, his obligation to Thomas allows Strand to do the tough things and show his love by not abandoning him.

If Madison felt a little more obligated to her step son, Chris, perhaps she and Travis would be able to communicate better. That doesn’t mean she has to believe Chris, if she doesn’t,  but she could stick with working toward a solution more than just dishing out ultimatums.

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Blood, bonds, and obligation will start to affect many decisions in the upcoming episodes. Is Madison obligated to Strand in any way now that Thomas asked her to look after him? Will she take that obligation seriously?

How will Chris react to feeling abandoned by everyone but his father–his only blood relative. Can Daniel bond with Chris the way he started to when fishing and showing him guns?

Does Nick still feel a bond or an obligation to Strand? Will he create a bond with Ofelia? Can Madison’s blood connection with Nick finally turn into an obligation to let him grow up instead of an obligation to keep him off of drugs? For so many years she didn’t know where he was and she had to let go. Now he’s clean and with her all the time and she won’t let go.

Obligation is an interesting concept brought up in Fear. It sounds like a negative word. But it really depends. Love creates obligation. Blood creates obligation, If we accept the obligation because we love. There are many times we do things for people we love that we don’t feel like doing because it’s the right thing to do.

We owe them; they are our mom or our brother. That’s what you do for family. Obligation isn’t all bad. It’s negative if people use guilt to give us obligation that we don’t accept or don’t choose.Think about the obligations at the holidays and how much stress that causes.

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Strand illustrated both types for of obligation. He told Nick he obligated him. He used obligation to bind someone to him without his consent.  There’s no love there. Abigail obligated Strand the same way.

But they fell in love.Because of the love, Strand chose to obligate himself. To find Thomas again. And to make promises to make him happy at the end. Then to put him down. He owed him that.