Fear the Walking Dead Review: Monsters in the Water

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Fear the Walking Dead, the spinoff of the wildly successful series, had an awkward first season. The same could be said about its counterpart. It can be tough to tell a well-rounded story with only six episodes. I have high expectations for this sophomore season. The Walking Dead is a high quality show from every aspect. Fear the Walking Dead falls short even on this first episode.

The first scene, Maddie watching the boat from the beach, felt incredibly cheap and fake. Even as the zombies enter the scene I am bored. Still, this must come down to the fact that I am not really invested in these characters yet.

When they loaded Eliza’s body onto the sail boat, and then onto the larger yacht I laughed wondering why they would ever bring extra weight onto a boat. I’ve detached sentimentality so much from this franchise, it seemed ridiculous to bring a useless body onto a boat. Meanwhile, Chris hangs out with his mother’s dead body for several hours. Totally normal. I know I’m being a little cruel, but it is quite interesting watching the beginning of the apocalypse again. I’m so set in Carol’s philosophy of “One day you just change.” Things are so much more efficient in this world if the character have that mentality.

The Abigail, the yacht, encounters a small raft of people calling for help and Strand makes a firm decision to not help them, saying “I’ve filled my mercy quota.” Later, Travis supports his decision saying that “We’re no good if we can’t take care of our own family.” Here, here, Travis! I agree completely. I wish Maddie would get on the same page.

Alicia gets herself into a little romance plot, because god forbid we have a female character in a television show without a romantic subplot. In any case, how does she manage to do such a thing in the middle of the ocean? The radio. How quaint! They should send carrier pigeons. In any case, they chat for a while, and eventually the boy, named Jack, reveals that his boat is sinking. Alicia appeals to save them, but Strand makes it even clearer that he is not saving any more people. Fair enough, it is as he said three times, “my boat.”

In one final sweep of melodrama, Chris drops his mother’s body in the ocean after a short funeral. Later, he precedes to jump into the water, in a pseudo suicide attempt. Nick jumps in after him, when Chris nonchalantly says he just wanted to swim. Okay? I really couldn’t understand the point of this entire scene.

BUT WAIT, swimming zombies, we had to have them right? Nick swims into the capsized boat only to fight another swimming zombie. Travis calls out to him and strangely the zombie stops attacking Nick and looks in Travis’ direction. Nick swims away, unscathed. This little scene really confused me. The zombies of The Walking Dead universe do not display any sort of intelligence. There was that short bout of it in the first season, but it was quickly brushed aside when the showrunner changed. I have never seen a zombie give up on a human snack in front of them in favor of a sound in the distance. I am curious to see if this sort of behavior continues.

Strand warns the group that whoever attacked the boat they discovered was returning, and that they had to leave immediately in order to escape these mystery people. I am definitely interested to see how far they can push this zombie sailor gimmick.  I think it will end sooner rather than later. In any case, the biggest challenge Fear the Walking Dead faces is the character development. If the writers cannot draw viewers in with authentic characters, then they will not succeed overall. Until next week!

[Photo credit: Richard Foreman/AMC]

3

Monsters in the Water

Our heroes make it safely onto the Abigail, but the ocean is not as safe as it seems.

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