As Caesar's search group ropes new apes into the fold, Pope begins to implement his siege for power and dominance over his new-found tribe. On the other side of America, Malcolm must decide between two worlds - a community built on stability and support or going back on the road for the rumored cure in Austin.
A couple of days after killing the two humans, Pope sends Cora and Fifer to scout ahead, leading the two chimps to a zoo. Fifer, melancholy after killing a human, notices a dead tiger in a dirty pool. Cora reminds him that they must return to Pope before dark, and Fifer explains to her how he remembers his life behind bars before Caesar liberated the apes, and the terrible conditions. Cora also remembered and states how Pope told her those nightmares will help shape him into a strong ape. Before Cora could finish, both apes realized they were surrounded by a large group of apes. Cora turns to one, signing they’re survivors like them until the chimp screeched at her. Fifer tells Cora the apes from this zoo are primal and they’re here to fight.
All the primal apes screech and hoot until Fifer notices one chimp in the tree behind them, the alpha. The alpha jumps down, kicking Fifer right in his torso. As the primal alpha prepares to strike, Cora throws her spear, slicing the alpha in his right side.
The commotion caught Pope and his group’s attention. He tells the apes to find out what the noise is. Cora rushes to the injured Fifer, telling him to get up before the primal apes surround them. The primal apes approach Cora and Fifer, forcing Cora to grab Fifer’s spear. The alpha reaches for the spear until Pope and his group arrive at the scene. The sentient and primal apes do battle as Pope attacks the primal alpha. The alpha gains the upper hand, throwing Pope to the tree. Cora helps an enraged Pope to his feet, telling him Fifer’s hurt bad. Pope agrees, stating the battle is not over.
Recuperating in a place far from the primal apes, Fifer tells Cora and the rest of Pope’s group they can use their intellect to formulate a plan. Before Cora can respond, Pope says the primal apes will belong to him. Cora tells Pope Caesar doesn’t want apes to battle apes, but Pope told her Caesar doesn’t care about the apes, only to make them more like humans. He also states the apes need an army and heads back toward the primal apes, saying they only need to beat the alpha.
Few of the primal apes stand guard in front of the King of the Jungle exhibit. One primal chimp catches a scent and spots a spear passing through him and pierces the door. They turn to Pope and his group. Pope asks the primal apes if they understood what home is before they let him though to challenge the alpha. Pope demands the alpha to confront him, which the alpha accepts. The alpha jumps from the tree with a large twig in his hand, snapping it in two. Pope realizes the alpha wants to fight him without weapon, which he obliges as he snaps his spear in two. However, he breaks off part of the spear tip, concealing it in his right palm. As the alpha lunges at Pope, he thrusts the tip into the alpha’s throat, piercing it. Pope insults the alpha before it drops dead. Pope then tells Fifer to round up the primal apes, for they belong to him now.
Pope looks down as the primal apes look at him and his group with fear. Pope tells Fifer to keep them scared to break them, but Fifer reminds Pope they’re apes. Pope grabs one of the primal apes and states they’re not apes, just dumb animals he can break and turn into strong soldiers. Pope then claims Caesar will know what true strength is, signaling his plot of usurpation.
Malcolm comes to, finding himself in an infirmary. He sits upright, moaning in pain from his bandaged leg, puts on pants and heads outside. He notices he’s in some form of compound. A soldier notices Malcolm and tells him he shouldn’t be walking yet. Malcolm pretends to be distorted to make the soldier get closer to him until he takes the soldier’s gun and demands to know where his family is.
The soldier states he doesn’t know where Malcolm’s family is, forcing Malcolm to take the soldier hostage and to find his Rita and Alexander. He leads Malcolm to the leader Shavers, interrupting his conversation with his second-in-command. Malcolm asks Shavers where Rita and Alexander were, pointing the gun at the soldier’s neck. Shavers assures Malcolm they’re safe, but Malcolm doesn’t believe him until Alexander approaches Malcolm from behind. Alexander assures his father he’s fine, running to his arms. Malcolm asks him where Rita is, but Alexander doesn’t know where she is but knows she’s safe. Shavers assure Malcolm Rita is safe and hints at her illness.
Taking Malcolm to an isolated room, Shavers informs him that he’s trying to help keep Malcolm and his family safe. Malcolm asks him who the people at the motel were, and Shavers states he doesn’t know, surmising they could be human traffickers. He also told Malcolm they took a few people close to him and he plans to bring them back. Shavers states Alexanders told them Malcolm’s an engineer, and offers him a part of their organization, but Malcolm declines and demands to have his son and wife brought to him so they can resume their journey to Austin for the Simian Flu cure. Shavers surmised Malcolm would mention the cure and told him bluntly, there is no cure. Malcolm enters a state of denial while Shavers implores him to think of Alexander’s fate. Malcolm becomes adamant and refuses to give up on his wife.
Malcolm and Alexander find Rita in a closed-off section of the compound; she assures her son she must remain in the fenced area for now as Malcolm states they’ll leave tomorrow morning. Rita asks Malcolm if Shavers was right about Austin, but Malcolm states they shouldn’t trust Shavers. Rita believes he should trust him, and to think about their son for the future. As Malcolm states him, Rita and Alexander will make it together, they heard gunfire. The people spot two vans moving towards them with the passengers firing at the compound. Malcolm attempts to open the fence as Rita tells him to take Alexander to safety. Malcolm takes Alexander and runs to Shavers, who gives order to grab their guns. Malcolm asks Shavers how to leave the compound and as he gives directions the two vans surround them, and the passengers exit the vehicles with their guns raised. Malcolm tells Alexander to run as he fends off the intruders. One of the armed men knocks Malcolm down as the rest abduct people, including Alexander.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes #2
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