This Fear the Walking Dead review contains spoilers.
The episode many zombie fans had been waiting for finally arrived in the Fear the Walking Dead season finale. And for the most part, it’s an exciting hour that is only brought down by the fact that the first five episodes didn’t really give us enough time to really get attached to any of the characters. But the threads are tied up and we even get an expected “big” death by the end.
I have to start with the big Daniel walker invasion at the military camp, which plays out much as one would expect. The soldiers are quickly overrun by the horde, and everybody is pretty much left to fund for themselves. That means that Liza, Nick, and Strand (the mysterious man in black from last week) have to figure their own way out of the camp. Luckily for them, Travis, Madison, Daniel, and Ofelia are making their way to them with the world’s most reckless plan.
How reckless is Daniel’s plan to free Griselda, Liza, and Nick? Enough to seem completely impossible. That this guy was able to unleash an arena full of walkers onto the streets without anyone noticing (I know the military was pretty much gone by that point, but come on…), manage to not get eaten in the process, and then casually walk up to the camp like he’s ready to tell a really great joke is beyond me. Wasn’t there an easier way to go about things? These guys already knew the soldiers were running and Corporal Andrew even told Daniel et al where they could find their loved ones. Also, how could these people, who never really dealt with walkers (at least at this magnitude) in any other episode since the beginning of the season manage to herd such a large horde? It was far-fetched, but it’s fiction, so I’ll get past it.
The mystery behind Strand, who was by far the most intriguing character of the entire season, especially due to his introduction last week, slowly unravels, as his plans fail him halfway through the episode. The calm and cool, even sinister, suit-clad “villain” becomes just another survivor among the many during the escape from the military camp. He doesn’t have a plan B when his ride gets taken down by a walker, and he’s not a particularly good shot. And his overall plan of survivor, while intriguing, isn’t something we haven’t seen before (pretty much the last ten minutes of the Dawn of the Dead remake).
Last week, Strand seemed other-worldly as he talked Doug into a mental breakdown and then tempted Nick with an offer to play sidekick, but this week’s Strand was as helpless as everyone else. Even when they arrived to his awesome pad on the shore at the end of episode, I always expected him to reveal his true motives. Like he was the leader of a zombie-worshipping cult or something. Probably ahead of myself, but something along those lines. Still, it will be exciting to see them get on that yacht next season, hopefully with Tobias right on their tail via speedboat…
Travis learns a valuable lesson in the finale, as Andrew turned on his captors and shot Ofelia in the arm. This drove Travis to the edge, before completely having to jump off the cliff later in the episode. Although Ofelia is spared, Daniel seemingly forgiven for his crimes (for the time being), Travis pays a high price for being this episode’s “Good Man.”
Liza is this season’s big death, a character that I predicted would die two episodes ago when she chose to get in the truck and leave her family to help the sick at the military camp. It reminded me of Andrea’s choice in season 3 of The Walking Dead. Liza had a foot in both camps, split in half by duty to her family and those that needed her help. Madison and Liza share a moment by the end, bringing closure to their implied animosity toward each other. Liza, who was bitten in the escape, asks Madison to kill her before she turns.
In the end, it’s Travis who does it himself, left to mourn his dead ex-wife, his motherless son, and this changed world. Liza told Madison that it would break Travis to kill her, but it seemed like the necessary thing for a character who has been frustratingly neutral all season. While everyone was busy adapting, Travis remained ever the pacifist. I think we’ve seen the end of that. Daniel said earlier in the season that, “Good men always die first.” He forgot the part Travis learned this week: Good men also lose the most.
Overall, a good season for this companion series with a lot to prove. Did it accomplish the juggernaut status of its parent series? No way. It was too bogged down in parts without enough action to keep people interested between all those moments of family drama. But the series showed its potential in moments like the escape from the barbershop, Strand’s introduction, Daniel’s torture scene, and this week’s action scenes. The first season would have benefited from less of a time jump and more episodes for sure, but at least we’ll get 15 episodes next year to really get to know these characters. Until next season, folks!