Title: Fear the Walking Dead “Grotesque”
Air Date: August 21st, 2016
Genre: Serial Drama, Horror
After a three month hiatus, Fear the Walking Dead returned tonight with “Grotesque.” If you need a refresher you can check out our review for the mid-season finale here. This episode revolved solely around Nick on his 100 mile trip to Tijuana. Nick is trying to find more people like Celia, that don’t really view the dead as monsters. I’m still not entirely on board with this mindset but hey, to each his own. We did, however, also get some flashbacks giving us more info on Nick’s drug abuse and where his real father is. As excited as I have been for the return of Fear the Walking Dead, I wasn’t really digging this episode at all after the first 10 minutes.
The first 10 minutes of the episode I thought were great. I especially liked the music by Jose Gonzalez titled “How low.” The lyrics are very fitting for Nick as a character and also allude to how things may go down the road for him. After that though… I often found myself saying, “What??” I am a big fan of the Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead. When you are a fan of something, it’s generally easy to dismiss small details that might otherwise irritate you. That only goes so far though because when these things begin to pile up, you become an irritated fan. That’s what happened in this episode for me as I constantly found myself questioning what was unfolding onscreen.
In Fear the Walking Dead, Nick has been portrayed as a survivor. He has killed and gutted the infected to mask himself along with fighting them off to protect his family. Yet a woman with a bat and child cowering in the corner ran him off without his supplies. Now let me say, I have never been up against a frightened woman with a bat. Therefore I maybe just have a macho tough guy mindset here. But Nick is a survivor, he’s heading into unknown territory and he knows it. Water and food are essential. That’s potentially his life right there in his bag and the water jug. Take the hit, grab your stuff and leave. Even rush the woman and take the bat, not to hurt her but to take her weapon momentarily at the very least. Furthermore, after she already hits him twice… he goes in to grab his stuff without really looking at her or protecting his head. Seriously?
Now before Nick leaves on his journey, he gets some direction from one of the members of Celia’s former compound. He is warned about traveling on the highway as it is now controlled by “the worst of men.” At first, I thought the men he encountered certainly appeared brutal as they kill an old man pleading for water. During Nicks escape however, they first try to shoot him with a revolver at a distance… instead of the assault rifle the one man is carrying. Naturally, Nick escapes outrunning them, but he’s still in the wilderness. These men can’t be far behind. Instead of staying in cover, he wanders out into an open plain in a white blood covered shirt. They didn’t find him and that came off as a stretch for me.
I don’t even know how to talk about the second time we see “the worst of men.” I’m actually hitting the keys harder as I write this because it was so frustrating to watch. I was less frustrated at Jared Leto’s portrayal of the Joker in Suicide Squad. Speaking of which, you can check out our review for that here. Seriously though, how do two men with assault rifles and one with a revolver get taken down on an open road by a group of walkers? It was like watching a horror film while the escaping woman is fleeing through the woods and trips five times. Sure I can buy dropping your rounds while reloading in an intense situation, but pick them up, retreat and reload.
There was absolutely no reason to kneel there and reload while the walkers closed in. This guy wasn’t defending a position or some vital supply. He saw Nick walking with the infected and for some reason, had to shoot him that very instant. Not only does revolver guy get killed but his friend with the assault rifle does as well despite being further back. It’s not as if these infected are running. They’re at shambling speed. How could you not possibly get out of the way in a wide open area? If these are the “worst of men” then I’d love to see Rick and company go there. They’d conquer the country inside a week.
By that point in the episode, every little thing began to irk me. I found myself pondering insignificant details just wanting to stay irritated. Did Nick’s shirt just go from blood soaked white to blue due to the rain then back to white again? Did he use that belt as a tourniquet for more than a day? Because you only apply a tourniquet if you’re prepared to lose whatever is below where you put it. If Nick has fresh blood on his leg how was the horde not able to smell him? Wouldn’t the fire he started earlier in the episode have drawn the dead to him?
Despite some of the negative criticism Fear the Walking Dead received with season one and two, I was still into the show. This episode, however, is the first time I found myself saying, “that sucked.” It was disappointing but I remain optimistic that things will turn around. I will say that the flashbacks were a decent part of the episode. I think Frank Dillane did an amazing job in the one scene describing his father. Also, how about that blonde girl? Definitely a familiar face. If you want a refresher on what’s happened in season two so far, you can start with my review of “Monster.”
This Nick-centric episode of Fear the Walking Dead for me has been the worst so far. Nick does eventually find a colony style outpost in the city so we’ll have to see where that goes. Have you seen this week’s episode of Fear the Walking Dead? Is so, what did you think? Do you think I was being too critical of the episode or were you feeling the same way? Be sure to let us know in the comments below and check back next week for our review of “Los Muertos.”
- First 10 minutes
- The "worst of men"
- Nick ditching his supplies so easily
- Infected not smelling fresh blood