TV Review: <i>Fear the Walking Dead</i> 1×03 “The Dog”

The zombie apocalypse continues in this week’s 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 and episode two here!

Well, we’re halfway through the season and honestly, I don’t know what to think. The twist at the end of the episode (we’ll get to that soon) might mean that this show still has the opportunity to go in a more interesting direction than the one it’s taken, but I still spent a good chunk of this episode slowly shaking my head at the characters (and the writer’s to an extent). Travis (Cliff Curtis) and Madison (Kim Dickens) are still separated, but the tension in both of their situations is poorly handled and dissipates quickly. Getting through a riot… not that difficult. That ominous clip of “there’s someone in our house” from the trailer for this episode, isn’t nearly as intense once you realize that Madison’s clan isn’t even in the house anymore.

So we’ll quickly hop through Madison, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Nick (Frank Dillane) playing Monopoly, running from house to house to avoid zombified neighbors, and the dead dog scene which seemed to be placed more for shock than purpose. And on the other side of town we have the Manwana family hiding out with the Salazar’s, while neither family is sure just how much they want to team up with the other. When Griselda (Patricia Reyes Spindola) has her foot crushed in the rioting, they’re at least forced to stay together for a bit longer.  Thankfully, they all quickly end up in one place so that the narrative can start moving forward again… sort of.

The rest of the episode is all about the moral dilemmas that come with the characters’ shifting reality. When is it okay to hit your friend in the head with a hammer? If you’ve seen your neighbor eat a german shepherd, how likely is it that you’ll be able to talk some sense into him? I did find some of these bits tedious, but I did like that both Travis and Madison were on board with playing it smart and getting out of the city, even if their plans were interrupted with the timely introduction of some government assistance. Right as yet another neighborhood friend is about to get eaten, the military comes rushing in to save the day, letting our characters start to think that things will soon go back to normal for them. I do like that we’re headed back toward telling different stories from The Walking Dead, but I’m not sure why we had to waste so much time on the smaller scale downfall, especially since we’re now back peddling from there anyway.

Even after having written this (brief… seriously, nothing really happened this week) review, I’m still not sure how I feel about the episode. It wasn’t boring, it just could have been so much more. It also would have been nice to see more of the over done zombie-apocalypse-amateur-hour moves avoided. Even if you don’t know that the dead are rising, why would you leave the door to your house open when you know there’s definitely something going on beyond all of the rioting? The same with refusing to kill your neighbors when they’re clearly a danger to others. Not filling in anyone in your group on what you know of the current situation. Why? Why? Why? Maybe you want to protect people, but it should be pretty obvious by now that knowledge saves lives.

Next week we’ll jump back in with the entry of the national guard/army/generic military types and see where that pushes the story. Even just an episode of the government doing something to contain the threat would be a huge benefit as far as I’m concerned. Next season we can worry about the gore and drama that we’re already getting in the original series. For now, please show me something new!




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