‘Fear the Walking Dead’ Has Worst Episode Yet (TV Review)

[rating=3.00] “Not Fade Away”

I was glancing at Twitter while watching The Emmys last night and I ran across someone criticizing the use of Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” in an ironic context due to its overuse. While I agreed, I also thought “what program is possibly airing against The Emmys that’s ALSO using a Lou Reed song?”

A little while later, I found out the answer.

After a legitimately clever third installment, Fear The Walking Dead, sure enough, opens with the Lou Reed ballad set to shots of Gilbert Grape in his family’s pool, while Madison argues about painting the kitchen as Travis goes for a morning jog.

After a healthy spoon-feeding of irony, suddenly, after a nine-day time jump of the Army-occupied suburbs, we’re back to stepfamily exposition being substituted for any sort of story progression in a completely zombieless episode.

We are given our first antagonist, in the form of one supremely dickheaded Army Commander, Lt. Moyers, who in his opening speech makes a remark about behaving and following orders “or else I’ll have to shoot you.” He somehow resorts to Travis as a de-facto leader, even patronizing him by calling him “Mr. Mayor” in a scene that harkened back to this charming moment in the parent series:

Meanwhile, there’s drama with a neighbor, who’s able to drive off in a muscle car unnoticed, and a flickering light in the distance that catch’s Chris’s eye, one that both Chris and Madison play flashlight-tag with over the course of the episode. Complete with Madison’s “sneaking” off into areas outside the fence, and the golfing Army Commander, one thing’s clear: these are some Stormtrooper level Army guys guarding the suburbs.

We do learn Oscar’s inherent distrust and where it comes from which defaults his archetype into some kind of fresh ethnic take on the “Magic Negro” parable. As a boy, people disappeared from his village, only to turn up dead in a river. “They do evil because of fear,” was supposed to be the big takeaway quote from that story.

This begins feeding Madison’s doubt, as she questions the lack of progress in restoring lines of communication. Then, not long after a medical doctor makes the rounds, Gilbert Grape is abruptly snatched up and taken away, thanks to good old fashioned human betrayal. Finally, Travis, who had blamed the flickering light on Chris’s imagination (which, come on, dead people are reanimating and feeding off the flesh of the living to the point where the ARMY HAS QUARANTINED YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD – maybe it’s time for some benefit of the doubt), finally sees it, and then sees it snuffed out.

We are seriously overdue for some zombie gore next week after this paltry installment.

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4 Responses

  1. You shouldn’t be the person reviewing this series as I thought the episode was good. You probably were expecting a zombie action and if you’re smart enough, you would understand that this is the beginning of the zombie-apocalypse.

  2. This was the best episode yet. We see the military is here and obviously trying to cover up what’s happening. Madison is finally coming around to understanding what’s happening. She experienced first hand what’s happening outside the safe zone.

    And we have established safe zones! 12 of them! That’s a big game changer in itself. We see just how Alexandria, Hilltop, etc were established.

    Thinking of it, we essentially are following a normal family who lives a normal (but messed up) life and are lucky enough (or not) to be living in a safe zone.

    So many revelations.

  3. Where did you get the name Oscar from? The character’s name is Daniel. Also, claiming he’s like a “fresh ethnic take on the Magic Negro parable” is incorrect. Daniel isn’t a fresh ethnic person coming to impart his wisdom on the deceit of the government and their villainous ways that he learned in his homeland to the white people – he’s one of the most interesting characters on the show, who has more reason to be there than to just “assist” it’s main (white) characters into realizing what’s going on. The mans wife gets snatched away at the end of the episode, he has just as much to lose as anyone else. The show would be lucky to continue to have Ruben Blades for more than just it’s first season – his character has much more potential than some of it’s other characters so far.

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