How do you keep us hooked from a fan standpoint when we know what’s (eventually) coming down the line? That’s the tightrope that Fear the Walking Dead is trying to walk along. After all, we know that there’s no chance whatsoever that the undead will be eradicated while Rick is still stuck in his hospital, pooping into a bag and getting his food through a tube. Clearly, the threat needs to keep rising, and we’re eventually going to get to the point where there are zombies everywhere, and none of our characters will have any real semblance of being clean.
Of course, we’re only two episodes in, so there is a bit of an ability to do a slow climb up to the crazy that we know we’re bound to experience. How did the second episode fare? Well, a little oddly, to be fair. Our heroes (can we really call them that so early in the story?) seem to know that there’s a need to get out of town, and as far from the mass of population as quickly as possible. Or, at least, Madison and Travis know this. What follows is their path over the rest of that day as they get everyone they care about together, load up the car, and start a new settlement in the desert, right?
If you think that’s what happened, you clearly aren’t familiar with the people in the universe of The Walking Dead. After making it clear how important it was to get moving, the family is still trapped inside the city. Even better, they’ve become separated. It’s almost like they’re all Carl, and not the Carl that’s actually starting to learn how to deal with the apocalypse. No, they’re all early Carl, who never stayed in the damned house, and caused more trouble than he was worth. They started out so close, and yet remain so far. Let’s look at how they fared through episode two.
5. Everyone on the bus
Aside from the fact that apparently, in this particular alternate reality, mass transit is actually heavily used by people in Los Angeles (or was that supposed to be a school bus or something), how is it a good idea to, en masse, leave the bus when you hear that the police have shot at someone. Guys, this is LA. Maybe it’s because I just recently watched Straight Outta Compton, but it seems like hearing that the cops are shooting people would make me want to stay ON the bus even more. But hey, if they hadn’t left, we wouldn’t have gotten the riots, which could only have been improved by taking a line from PCU, and shouting “We’re NOT gonna protest.”.
Look, Alicia, you’re clearly academically advanced. You’ve got your college acceptance letter (thanks for reminding us what she’s losing, showrunners!), and the point was made that you never skip classes, even if you could still pass them easily. So, while your brother is in the midst of some of the terrible aspects of withdrawal (the seizures and vomiting), you decide that you just have to go and see your boyfriend. Your boyfriend who, it should be made clear, you saw feverish and infected thanks to a large bite wound, after you entered his house that had an ajar front door. Maybe we’re supposed to believe that you’re being altruistic towards Matt, but it was conveyed as a lack of care for Nick, and a serious deficiency with regards to your sense of self-preservation.
Let me make sure I’ve got this absolutely correct. While not being able to get access to good acne medicine, Tobias has instead immersed himself in knowledge of exactly what would happen should a terrible event occur, like, oh, the dead rising to walk the earth. He knows that there’s a need to stockpile food and medicine and water. He is aware of the importance of getting away from large population centers. And yet, he gets hung up on getting his knife back (to be fair, he was also on a scavenging trip at the school), and then, after encountering his first arisen corpse, he still thinks he’ll fair better on his own than with someone who’s willing to bash their superior over the head with a fire extinguisher? If you die, who’ll give us all of our needed exposition?
You and Madison combined to make it incredibly clear that the family needed to get out of the city and find a place to hole up. Then while communicating with Chris, you take the soft sell angle, not ever telling him that dead people are getting up to create more havoc? I mean, sure, maybe he would have ignored you, but it doesn’t seem like you’ve got a long history of making outrageous “gotcha” claims to him. It might at least have made him think twice about entering the protest and filming the entire thing. When you do finally catch up with him, you, Chris, and Liza are forced to hide out in a barbershop, because of how bad things are getting. There are barricades, and it seems like a pretty safe place to hang out and ride out the night, at least. Except you almost forced the issue about the back room to the point where you were kicked back out onto the street. Seems like someone needs a few levels of diplomacy if they’re going to make it too long.
Congratulations on saving Tobias. Good job. Also, a completely avoidable situation. Look, Madison, you know what’s going on, at least to some extent. You saw Calvin, and watched him get up from wounds that would have killed a person (hint: they did!), and yet you still feel the need to try to communicate with Artie? While he’s displaying some of the same tendencies that Calvin was before there was a need to run him down? If you hadn’t been able to get the fire extinguisher, we would’ve had at least one more corpse walking the streets. Streets that, because of your knowledge, you know you need to get away from. You’re able to keep Alicia safe(ish) by making sure she doesn’t rush to help the neighbors, but you may have sacrificed everything by keeping your family home until Travis and Co can make it there. Let’s just call that a wash.
That wraps up this week. Thanks to the holiday, we’ve got a break before we get episode three. Maybe next week will be another predictions blog. After all, we finally know enough about these people to be able to start postulating what might happen to them, as opposed to the more general predictions offered a couple of weeks ago.