The zombie apocalypse continues in this weeks episode of Fear the Walking Dead, the companion series to AMC’s blockbuster zombie series. If you missed our review of episode one, you can check it out here!
This week we jumped in right where the pilot left off, as Travis (Cliff Curtis) and Madison (Kim Dickens) are quickly coming to grips with what’s going on, though they still don’t know much of anything for sure. But what they do know is that they want to get out of town as quickly as possible. Of course, their plan to disappear into the desert until things cool down, doesn’t exactly work out. First, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) will need to be pried away from her quickly dying boyfriend, Matt (Maestro Harrell). Travis needs to collect his ex-wife and son, neither of whom is going to be especially cooperative. And Madison will need to go on her own side mission to grab some confiscated drugs in order to help ease Nick (Frank Dillane) through his withdrawal.
Yes, I’m sure nothing at all will go wrong.
The Alicia story wraps up quickly enough, though it’s more than possible that things could have been sped up by just filling the poor girl in on the whole zombified drug dealer situation. She’s hesitant to leave her incredibly sick boyfriend, who for whatever reason has been left home alone while his parents are in Vegas. Matt is clearly on his way out, and the audience knows exactly what’s going to happen once he inevitably dies and then reawakens. But fortunately that likely predictable scene isn’t one we have to watch as Alicia is dragged back home to look after Nick who is quickly crashing down through withdrawal from whatever it was he was using in episode one.
Now, of course, our core group must separate. In part to draw in the rest of the cast, but also in part because splitting up seems to be the easiest way that these shows know how to bring tension into the story. Fortunately, since we haven’t descended into complete chaos yet, Travis going off to find the rest of his family makes enough sense. I’m less convinced though that Madison would leave her kids to go back to the school for any reason. So let’s start there. Madison needs to find drugs for Nick (Mom of the year award, anyone) so that he isn’t dealing with quitting cold turkey. She finds what she’s looking for easily enough before bumping into Tobias (Lincoln A. Castellanos) who we met in episode one. Also known as the only character so far who realizes the extent of what’s going on. The two of them raid the cafeteria for food before running into a recently deceased Principal Costa (Scott Lawrence). Due to Madison’s refusal to accept the inevitable, we get our first real zombie struggle of the show before her old boss gets bashed in the head a few times with a fire extinguisher. Unfortunately, all of this ends with Madison dropping Tobias off at home, which will likely be the end of his character. I’d love to see an older, war-weary Tobias show up in the main series timeline having shed all the pudge after travelling halfway across the country while killing walkers, since he has a few years to toughen up before meeting up with Rick’s gang.
And at last we join Travis who is off to collect his ex and their son. Ex-wife Liza (Elizabeth Rodriquez) has somehow remained completely oblivious to everything that’s going on around her. So she’s is less than thrilled when Travis shows up at her house, at least until the two set off to find their son Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) at a crime scene that is well on it’s way toward becoming a riot. We still don’t know much about these two beyond how they feel about Travis, but I’m interested to see how the blended, disfunctional family dynamic will play into the rest of the season.
In addition to focusing more on Travis’ family, we also met three new characters who I suspect we’ll get to know more as the series continues (mostly because they’re included in the press kit). Daniel (Rubén Blades), Griselda (Patricia Reyes Spíndola) and Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) are a family of three who give Travis and company shelter when the riot breaks out, though Daniel doesn’t seem particularly thrilled about it. Granted, we don’t know much about them yet, but we seem to have met the bulk of the main characters at this point in the show, at least until they start dying off and getting replaced with other survivors as the series progresses.
Overall, I enjoyed episode two, probably even more so than the pilot. There has been an interesting mix of zombie attacks and tension so far. To the point where I’m not even really sure what I’m hoping will happen as the season progresses. It’s the horror movie elements that will likely pull in the big rating numbers (which definitely isn’t something this show is having a problem with so far), but too much too soon will lead to having a show maybe too similar to its predecessor. I want to see as much as I can about how the world unravels and still hope this will be the show to give it to me.
While I still appreciate needing to make us care about the character, there does seem to be a lot of uncovered ground still remaining. So while I’m still optimistic about the future of this show, I do wish it would step away from the family dynamics to explore the bigger picture a little more. I would have loved to see some sort of government official who is operating on the logistical side of things. It seems like everything that’s happening is still being massively under-covered by the media. Why? What’s happening behind the scenes? I’d love to see the show zoom out and show us more of what’s going on through the use of an in-the-know character who ultimately meets up with the bigger group.