This Fear the Walking Dead review contains spoilers.
Fear the Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 2
While it’s very easy to describe this season of Fear the Walking Dead as The Walking Dead on water, I’d like to think there’s more keeping FTWD afloat than its watery locale. I’d also like to believe that viewers are tuning in not just because TWD has wrapped until October, but because we have some pretty interesting characters in Travis, Madison, Strand, and the rest. No, they don’t all see eye to eye on how to deal with stranded survivors, but that’s the point. No conflict, no drama. Plus the post-apocalypse they find themselves in is so new, no one aboard Strand’s yacht truly understands what it is they’re up against. Except for Strand—he knows the bigger threat to their collective survival isn’t the undead, but fellow survivors. Sure, we’ve seen this play out numerous times on TWD, but this is a novel concept to this group.
As we know from last week, Abigail can’t outrun the larger (possibly military) vessel that’s chasing them down. So Strand wisely avoids radar detection by bringing the yacht ashore in a small cove. My chief issue with “We All Fall Down” isn’t that our group is already on dry land by the second episode. It’s not even the fact that our group brings ruin to an isolated family that was otherwise safe from harm until they arrived (much like what happens almost every season with Rick’s group on TWD). No, what rankles me is this interesting conundrum, a moral quandary, if you will: after abandoning other survivors at sea, our group is suddenly seeking the kindness of strangers. Travis, Madison, et al. believe they are deserving of aid solely because they are good, decent people. Is this some sort of deliberate cognitive dissonance we’re witnessing or is this a fault of the writers? I just would have liked to see someone in the group (like Alicia or Nick) address this blatant hypocrisy.
The family in question is headed up by a man named George. He’s not so much an outright survivalist as he is a patient pragmatist. In so many words, he tells Travis the zombie apocalypse is a “course correction.” He knows he and his family are safe on Catrina Island for the meantime, as long as they continue to maintain the chain-link fence along the shoreline. This includes walking the fence line and killing zombies with an axe, a duty that’s carried out by his older son, Seth. To him it’s just another chore, like taking out the garbage. But to Chris, killing zombies is a real eye-opener. Not only does he have a knack for it, he finally feels he’s doing something useful. I have to agree with him there. Up to this point, Chris has been whiny and self-centered. The apocalypse is really not the place for emo teenagers. So let him stab and bludgeon zombies, I say, even if Travis thinks it’s the worst idea ever.
Now Nick, on the other hand, isn’t just self-sufficient, he’s adaptable, too (this latter trait being something prized by Strand). I mean, who would have thought Nick would have such a way with young kids? Maybe it’s because he’s still a bit of a big kid himself. It’s an endearing quality, and George’s kids take to him immediately—especially little Harry. It’s by playing with him that Nick learns George’s gruesome secret—that he plans on poisoning his entire family should the infected make it through the fences. Is it any wonder, then, that his wife, Melissa, “accidentally” turned the house lights on as the yacht neared the shore? She wants Willa and Harry to have a real shot at survival—not merely biding their time before they must take their “power pills.”
Of course, things ultimately end poorly for George’s family, as Willa overdoses on the pills after Nick finds them in a globe. In a scene right out of Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead, Willa attacks and kills her mother in a pretty graphic scene. Major kudos to FTWD for taking the kid gloves off to show us child zombies—something we haven’t seen much of in TWD.
Now, as for Strand, he’s definitely hiding something—and Danny is on to him. His plan to seek refuge in San Diego has literally gone up in smoke (and napalm). But as we soon learn, Strand has been in touch with someone all along. What that mysterious rendezvous means for the rest of the group remains to be seen. I happen to think he views some of them as expendable—and things may come to a head next week. It’s my hope that Abigail remains out to sea in the next episode, given that the open water is this season’s conceit. Hopefully, the writers won’t squander it too quickly.
Some closing thoughts:
– Nick appears to be taking the fall of society in stride, marveling at the unexpected perks of no more smog, no more noise pollution. Just nature now, uninterrupted. The more we learn of Nick, the more introspective he becomes. He worries about younger generations growing up in this new reality. Nick is strangely optimistic, too. He doesn’t believe these are the End Times, as his sister does. This undead scourge is not biblical, he explains to her. It just is.
– At one point someone remarks, “Nothing but time now to read.” Was this meant as an intentional nod to Burgess Meredith’s nearsighted, post-apocalypse bookworm from The Twilight Zone episode, “Time Enough at Last?”
– I’m just going to throw this out there—did Tobias survive the first season? I’d like to think he did. But I wouldn’t count on seeing him any time soon, if at all.
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