We’re four episodes through this first(?) season of Fear the Walking Dead, and what have we learned? Well, we’ve learned that the military responded pretty darned quick to the outbreak, which might indicate that they knew it was coming. We’ve learned that the rapid spread of walkers across the country can largely be attributed not just to the disease itself, but to the fact that nobody really seemed to believe that it was exactly what it was. Honestly, can we really say that if we lived through an actual zombie apocalypse, we’d be any different? Especially if you ignore the wealth of zombie fiction that we’ve been immersed in, which clearly does not exist in the world of The Walking Dead.
Oh, and we learned a third thing, too. We learned that Nick is somehow a character more worthless and more irritating than Carl in his worst moments. At least Carl had the excuse of being a little kid, forced to adjust to this new reality while barely having a grip on the old one. Nick is so wrapped up in his drug addiction that he’s continuing to wear the clothes he gathered in episode one. While his addiction is clearly severe, he’s also clearly showing that he has very few morals. as was evidenced by the actions he undertook inside this ultimately dragging episode. Come on, guys, only two episodes left to the first season, I’m currently rooting for one of the family to go away permanently, and any momentum picked up has ground to a halt. Instead of getting to see the beginnings of the new, nomadic lifestyle, we’re seeing a retread of “the real monsters are other people”. So let’s see who found themselves on our list this week, as the episode tried not to Not Fade Away.5. Alicia
No, it isn’t time to ding Alicia for wandering over to Susan’s house. Alicia’s dumbest moment was giving herself a tattoo, without any real sterilization or know-how. Admittedly, of course, it could have been worse. She could have been trying to ink herself with a kanji character, believing it means “Peace”, when it actually means “Lunch”.
You’re living in what basically amounts to a quarantine zone. You’ve recently watched your neighbor, turned into a walker, have his head blown off inside of your house. You don’t quite understand any of the things that your boyfriend is doing to try to work with the military, and you’re struggling to keep your wits about you with everything that’s going on. Honestly, one of the smarter things you do is to drink. Not enough to lose your faculties, but enough to kind of take the edge off of the craziness going on around you. But, like last episode’s Monopoly game, you might be clinging a little too hard to any sense of normalcy. Insisting that the any part of your house gets painted is just a way to shut out the reality around you. But hey, at least you didn’t decide to cut a hole in the fencing and wander off beyond the safe zone all by yourself. Oh, wait…
3. Lt. Moyers
We get it, everyone who works behind the scenes on The Walking Dead universe. Other people are bad. The government and/or military is bad. Never trust anyone in those shoes. Thanks for drilling it into our heads again, and letting Lt. Moyers be the military caricature we’ve come to expect from this genre. But, really, having him tell the civilians they’re the “lucky ones”, and then later playing golf outside of the gate? Why not just give him a mustache and have him twirling it between every word? Why not have him cackle maniacally? The dumbest thing he does is to pretty much blow off Travis, one of the few people inside the safe zone who seems to actually be on his side. By the same token, it IS Travis he’s blowing off, so there’s very little chance of this going too terribly badly.
I’m not proud of saying that I’m hoping for Nick to shuffle off this mortal coil sooner, rather than later. He’s basically shown very little ability to actually be a productive member of the cast, and goes out of his way to make things even more difficult. He sneaks over to steal some morphine from a dying man, he outright lies to a doctor who can get him actual help (and probably recognized his symptoms as the addiction that it is, hence his being taken into custody), and he shows so little regard for the people trying to help him out, despite everything going on around them. But his dumbest moment? Listening to Alicia and trying to run when the soldiers show up to grab him. You’re locked into a relatively small neighborhood. The military is everywhere. Outside of the fences, everyone seems to be dead, and things are getting worse. You may not want to get help, but how is running going to help? The best case scenario is that you’ll get taken down and arrested. Worst case scenario? You make it over the fence, turn into a walker, and still somehow find a way to show up every week to make us hate you more.
As irritating as Nick has become, he at least doesn’t seem to have the willful ignorance of the world that Travis does. Travis has gained some sort of power with the commune, so he should know that maybe things aren’t going as swimmingly as they seem. And yet, even after getting blown off by Lt. Moyers, especially with regards to Doug, Travis kept defending them. He talked about how they were just trying to make things better, despite the broken promises on getting basic services up and running again (we, the viewer, know that isn’t possible, but our characters don’t know that). Oh, and after having another less-than-fruitful conversation with Lt. Moyers, and clearly upsetting the soldier, Travis decided to broach the subject of the light in a house outside the safe zone (a light Travis didn’t completely believe in at first). That gunfire seen from the roof at the end of the episode? That’s on Travis, and you have to wonder how many other problems he’s caused by playing “mayor” for the past nine days.
We’ve got two episodes left for this season, and that will lead us directly into the main event. What do you think we’ll see over the remaining hours of Fear the Walking Dead?