Welcome back my friend to the show that never ends, never actually delivers what it originally promised, and is slowly but surely turning into a pale reflection of the original show it spun off from. That’s right, Fear the Walking Dead returned to our television screens, and decided to do so with an episode that literally could have been pulled from the parent show, with a quick palette swap of characters to make it fit.
One thing that FTWD has definitely had going for it is that it has included a much more diverse cast than the original program. It would be nice if that more diverse cast could lead to more diverse storylines. Sure, we’ve seen people who feel that the dead are the “next step” in evolution, but that isn’t that terribly far of a step from the people who decided to keep the dead around, either for sport or because of a belief that there would be a cure created. And when some of the shots are direct lifts from the original show, it just makes what’s happening in the second story look that much more like a shadow of something we’re more familiar with.
So how did Fear kick off the second part of the second season? If you remember correctly, we last left our crew as they were doing exactly what every D&D GM hates, and they were splitting the party. It’s a storyline that’s been done before, and now we’re guaranteed to see fractured pieces of what’s happening, until the family, through some convoluted means, ends up reuniting. In the belief that the real breakout star of the show is Nick, the addict who’s clean because there are no easily found drugs in the apocalypse, we get to follow our favorite (?) zombie camouflage artist as he wanders towards Tijuana. There were definitely moments in the episode that were fairly Grotesque, so let’s dive into this week’s list.
Right at the beginning of the episode, Nick is shown hiding out in a home, and there’s clearly other people there, as well. In fact, it even seems like these people share part of Nick’s new mentality towards the walkers. Clearly, to pool resources and skills, Nick travels with them, even riding in their car instead of hiking through an unknown land. Oh, wait, I mean he does the exact opposite of that, because Nick is a rebel. He’s a loner.
Further along his solo voyage, Nick finds shelter. He lights a fire, in a fairly open air space, which serves to keep him warm in the desert night, but also acts as a beacon for anyone else who may come by. This leads to him getting ambushed by a woman with a baseball bat (because we have to remember about baseball bats for the main show, right?), and costs him his backpack. What was Nick’s biggest sin in this exchange? Taking his eyes off of the person attacking him for even a moment. While he may not have wanted to try to overpower her, he should have been able to keep an eye on her while slowly maneuvering to get his possessions. Good thing he’s got all of that cactus around him.
After failing to take out Nick the first time they ran across him, these gun-toting men driving through the open wild had a second opportunity, running across the horde that Nick was hiding in. Not seeing Nick at first, they decided that they would take a few potshots, looking to thin out the dead wandering around. All of their shots are headshots, so they’ve learned a little something. What at least one of them hasn’t learned, however? Don’t carry only a six-shot revolver, stand closer than the rest of your crew, and refuse to back up at all when needing to reload. Yeah, maybe the sight of Nick spooked him a little, but there’s no reason he should have been close enough to the walkers at that point for it to even make a difference.
Before the outlaws got their second chance at Nick, he could have made good on another escape. He narrowly got away from them the first time, so while wandering within the horde (and having some wonderful hallucinations about them leading him home), the sound of an engine, followed by a car horn was heard. At that point, there was enough distance that Nick could have probably shambled away, despite his injuries, and laid low until the outlaws had departed. Instead, he chose to keep moving with the walkers, not even straying from his course as bodies were dropping all around him. The fact that he made it to meet Luciana and Francisco was a miracle of luck, or just convoluted story telling.
What was Nick’s biggest mistake throughout the entire episode? Well, after getting away from the outlaws the first time, he made his exhausted way through the desert, finding a deserted, broken-down van. The van was clearly in a severe state of disrepair, and the idea of hiding inside of it was pretty much a non-starter, but there was certainly a place Nick could, and probably should, have gone to give himself a little more safety. The top of the van, where he eventually retreated to after acting as a chew toy for a couple of dogs, would have provided a good refuge, just in case. It would have kept him safe from walkers, and random animals roaming past. Always take the high ground, Nick. Just not high like in all of your flashbacks.
Yes, this week featured an awful lot of bad choices by Nick, but that’s kind of hard to avoid when he’s really the only person we know for the bulk of the episode. He’s introducing us to an entirely new group, however, and they’ve so far shown to have a little more intelligence, by at least being willing to wait and see what Nick was trying to do before even moving in to help. After all, in the apocalypse, you can’t just go about wasting resources simply because some dude has a bloody shirt and walks with a limp. At least this episode taught us what happened to Nick’s dad, although there’s probably more to that story, as well. There always is.