[FEAR THE WALKING DEAD SPOILERS BEYOND]
Ryan: You can say one thing about the fourth episode of Fear the Walking Dead–they totally nailed the Fear part. But the Walking Dead? Not so much. It appears that all of Los Angeles has been wiped clean of the undead. That’s…impressive? Impossible? Inconsistent with the overall theme of the world changing? An interesting move when you only have six episodes to make a case for getting a full season?
Showing life inside the flimsy fence was interesting enough–tensions exist, there’s definitely a buildup of hostility on both sides of the military-civilian equation. But the best part was seeing Madison leave the safe zone and venture into the open world. I guess we know a little why we aren’t seeing any walkers–the military has figured out headshots work and they’ve taken to killing anything that moves outside the fence. That’s a bold choice. And by bold I mean totally evil. But for some reason Madison is going to keep that to herself for now because she needs to slap her drug addicted son. Madison is not holding up well, methinks.
Which leads me to the Big Question: Who is going to die? It’s a spin-off, but it’s still Walking Dead. Main characters die in The Walking Dead. It’s not just a stunt, it’s a way of communicating how real the danger is in this new world. So somebody has to die. And not just some fringe characters, even Mrs. Salazar is fringe in this case. Will Madison’s fierce sense of protection and house cleaning finally do her in? Will Travis sacrifice himself to bring the fragments of his family together in the end? Did Alicia sterilize that needle she was using to give herself a tattoo?
Two episodes left. Who will make it?
Score: 7 out of 10 toe IVs.
Jimmy: When you peel back all the layers of skin, underneath it is easy to see that The Walking Dead is not about zombies or walkers or hungries or whatever label you want to put on the mindless creatures that don’t get why you won’t just let them eat your brains. This is not any major revelation on my part that I am sharing with you that will blow your mind (and make it easier for those walkers to get at those tasty innards). It’s pretty much the concept from day one issue one of Robert Kirkman’s series. And we’ve seen throughout the life of the comic and the TV series that many/most times the people that are surviving are far worst threats than any heard of walkers.
So it’s not really that surprising I suppose that last night’s episode of Fear The Walking Dead featured zero walkers. And zero infected people. And only a scattered handful of dead bodies. And they were real, real gone, not undead. The lack of any walker appearances at all I think is a first for either series (but I could be wrong).
While not surprising, I did think this wasn’t the right time for such an episode. My problem with it is that I’m not invested enough in these characters for them to support this episode on their own. Want to have a walker free episode with Rick or Carl or Darryl or Carol or Maggie or Glen? Cool. I really care about those characters and want to see what they are up to. Be it scavenging or reinforcing walls or figuring out the politics of Alexandria, I want to see it.
In time, maybe I will care about Travis going for a jog or Alicia giving herself a selfie tattoo. At least Nick continues to be an interesting character as his battle with addiction endures. (Note to Nick, stay dishonest and troubled my friend. As soon as characters find their morality on this show they often quickly find their maker thereafter.)
And back to the lack of walkers/infected for a bit…where is everyone? I don’t know the population of the area of Los Angeles that the show is occurring in, but I find it hard to believe that when Madison sneaks out into the streets that there are only a handful of bodies around. I know it is early in the “apocalypse” but you would think there would be walkers or rioters about like the first couple of episodes. Maybe they are all hiding from the militia that is rolling through town, but that seems a bit farfetched. (Yes, I’m complaining about things being farfetched in a show about people returning from the dead.)
With only two episodes to go, FTWD will really need to ramp things up for a strong finish. The show likely suffers from my conscious and unconscious comparisons to its predecessor, as it is a decent show, but to this point I’ve been slightly disappointed.
Score: 7 out of 10 toe IVs. (Editor’s note: “Jimmy, Ryan already used that one.” He did? WTF? Dammit Ryan!) 7 out of 10 Nick bitch slaps.