TV REVIEW: “FEAR THE WALKING DEAD” COULDN’T BE MORE ON THE NOSE
Article by: Jordan Mejia-Prieto
“Fear the Walking Dead” is set between the months when Rick Grimes, from “The Walking Dead,” is shot and wakes up in the hospital, when Atlanta has already fallen to the “walkers.” Eventually “Fear” will catch up to TWD timeline, however it is still unknown if the two shows will ever cross paths. The show will depict the slow unraveling of society as ”walkers” begin to emerge and wreak havoc upon Los Angeles; unlike in TWD where Rick wakes up and Atlanta has already succumbed to the walkers.
EPISODE 1: “Pilot”
“Fear the Walking Dead” begins and will follow the journey of the Clark-Manawa clan consisting of guidance counselor Madison “Maddie”, 19-year old junkie Nick, and model student Alicia Clark; and English-teacher Travis, his rebellious son Chris, and ex-wife Lisa Ortiz.
As the episode opens, Nick (Frank Dillane) finds himself waking from a heroin-induced sleep only to find his (assumed) girlfriend somehow turn into a zombie and currently chomping on another druggie’s face. Freaked out, Nick runs out of the church so frazzled he runs into oncoming traffic and is hit by a car. Coming to his rescue, his mom Madison (Kim Dickens), her boyfriend Travis (Cliff Curtis) and Nick’s younger sister Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) meet Nick at the hospital, where Nick explains what happened and first hear of the dead coming back to life. Skeptical, Madison and Travis believe everything that happened to Nick was just part of his drug induced state. However, Madison can’t stay skeptical for long when she comes across a troubled student, Tobias, who had tried to sneak a knife school grounds. Tobias divulges that there have been reports of a mysterious disease or something that has been spotted in several cities and states, including Los Angeles. Tobias is convinced that the end is coming and nothing matters anymore. (And boy, does he have the right idea).
From that point on, the rest is more or less world building and showing the relationships between the characters. Travis and his son, Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) haven’t gotten along since he divorced his mother, Lisa (Elizabeth Rodriguez or OITNB’s Aleida Diaz. Alicia doesn’t like having Travis living with them and being part of the family; she’s the good child and Nick is the fuck up; she has a boyfriend whom she seems to love. (5$ he doesn’t last) Madison and Travis go looking for Nick after he sneaks out of the hospital in search of more drugs.
“Fear” stays true to its name, and actually instills fear and anxiety (something TWD can’t do as well since zombies are a mainstay, not a slow emerging threat). While driving back from visiting the heroin den where Nick was found, Madison and Travis get stuck in stalled traffic (typical LA) and while although noting notable happens onscreen; offscreen, which we are shown later, a man dies after a car accident and as paramedics try to revive him, the man comes back to life and starts chomping on the paramedic’s neck. He then comes after the police who open fire until someone finally shoots the walker in the head. (C’mon people, headshot first). The second notable scene comes at the end as Madison and Travis go looking for a runaway Nick, who just killed his friend and drug dealer Calvin after a violent struggle, and when they find him he tells them what just happened. They go looking for Calvin only to find his car empty and body missing. That is, until they leave the scene of the crime and find Calvin walking towards them. Idiotically,Travis and Madison believe him to be sick and Madison nearly gets bit until Nick runs Calvin down with the car. Nick runs him down twice, which leaves him horribly disfigured but alive, just as the show comes alive.
One of the interesting things about FTWD is that Madison, Travis, and Nick have already learned so much more than Rick & Co. ever did in their first season (and they had a few extra months while Rick was napping!) – like you don’t have to be bit to turn into a walker. Also, unlike Rick and Shane, who were cops, neither Madison nor Travis have that sort of training or mentality which shall prove interesting as things get worse.
+ “Fear” is appropriately named
+ Character’s difference from TWD
+ Watching LA slowly fall apart
– Relationship nonsense
EPISODE 2: “So Close, Yet So Far”
After waiting around for her boyfriend, Matt, Alycia decides it’s time to find out why he didn’t show. Which (like I called, you owe me 5$ btw.) turns out is because he was bitten by a walker.
Meanwhile, Madison, Travis, and Nick drive away as fast as they can after the Calvin debacle and decide that they are all, including Travis’ son and ex-wife, going to the desert to holdout until “it” ends. Madison calls Alicia to inform her of their plans only to be told about Matt; together the three of them go to pick her up. Yet, knowing what Madison and Travis know, they decide they have to leave him.
Once home, Madison tells Nick that because of him, despite his past mistakes, saved their family. (The gratitude should really go to Tobias, but with most things people don’t believe until they see). Not being able to get in contact with his ex-wife and son, Travis decides he needs to go get them. However, Chris is in downtown LA in what seems to be the beginning of a classic LA riot. Back at home, Madison and Alicia are trying to help Nick go through his withdrawl yet are having no luck getting him the medicine he needs to slowly wean off.
Taking action, Madison goes to the high school lock-up to retrieve the drugs for Nick. Along the way, she comes across Tobias who was there collecting food because unlike everyone else he knows this won’t be over soon. Tobias tells her that starting now everything is going to shit; internet, cell phones, GPS, satellites, and power will all be gone and it’ll happen quicker than you think. While roaming the halls, they hear a walker through the speaker system and then the metal detector goes off. (SOUND PEOPLE! Walkers are attracted BY SOUND!) While it can be frustrating when the characters don’t know basic facts about walkers like the audience does (if they watch TWD) like walkers are attracted to sound and can only be killed by a fatal blow to the brain. While running away, they run into Artie, the principle of the high school, who has been turned. Being foolish, Madison believes she can talk with and get him help, yet he attacks Madison but Tobias pulls out his knife and starts stabbing Artie. During the struggle, Artie and Tobias fall down the stairs and Tobias is almost bitten until Madison uses a fire extinguisher to end Artie. This is the first time Madison takes that step towards her new, inevitable life that Rick & Co. from TWD are all too familiar with; it’s the beginning of her transition into (hopeful) a badass, ala Rick Grimes. (Preferably without the craziness, but it’s the apocalypse, anything can happen).
Meanwhile, Alicia tries to leave to go see Matt but is stopped when Nick starts having a seizure. Travis and Lisa finally get in touch with Chris and go search for him in downtown LA. When they do find him, all hell has broken loose. The police opened fire on several walkers which sparked rioting from the crowd who believe the police to be shooting unarmed citizens. Trying to find a safe place, Travis, Lisa, and Chris come across the Salazar family who own a nearby barbershop and take shelter with them until the riots end.
Finally back at home, Madison gives Nick the drugs he needs and Alicia doesn’t understand why they can’t help Matt or what’s going on. Madison somehow believes, that by not telling Alicia what’s going on, it’ll keep her safe. Yet, when Alicia witnesses her neighbor, Mr. Dawson, attack her other neighbor, Mrs. Cruz, outside and tries to intervene, Madison stops her and mercilessly turns her back on her neighbor. For Madison, it’s all about survival even if that means ignoring those who need help; in her mind it’s better to keep her family together and safe than go out of the way for someone else. Yet, as society breaks, Madison & Co. will have to learn to adapt to the harsh new reality.
+ Fire extinguisher!
+ Madison giving no fucks
+ Slow, but strong burn
– Travis & Co.