Title: Fear the Walking Dead “Monster”
Airdate: April 10th, 2016
Genre: Serial Drama, Horror
Just who did Negan kill with Lucille… was it Glenn? I have to know!! Let me calm my rage from the finale of the Walking Dead Season Six finale because Fear the Walking Dead is now here. Believe me, when I say I contemplated making this entire review about the finale of The Walking Dead, but I’m happy to say as soon as I got into the premiere episode “Monster” from Season Two of Fear the Walking Dead… I changed my mind.
Fear the Walking Dead picks up a very short time after the finale of season one where our survivors are headed out to Strand’s boat, the Abigail. From the opening of the episode, it is incredibly clear that the world has plunged into chaos. Through the blackest of night, we see Los Angeles in flames with a huge number of walkers closing in on the beach where our survivors are. I believe one of the biggest issues Fear the Walking Dead will run into this season is viewer knowledge. Chances are if you’re a fan of the Walking Dead and you’re tuning into this show, you already have five to six seasons under your belt of zombie mayhem. Therefore going back to the start of the apocalypse, you may see things from these characters that you find frustrating… and believe me you will get frustrated.
Personally, I love going back to this point in time to see how things play out with the start of the apocalypse. When we saw Rick awake from the coma in season one of the Walking Dead, everything has already happened. Life is over. Fear the Walking Dead explores a different set of characters leading up to that point and I loved that about season one. Sure it was slow to start, but what really captivated me was how the media and people would generally react. If someone told you today that the dead were actually walking the earth and feasting on the living, there’s no way you would believe them. It would without a doubt be some hoax or prank that would soon be exposed and life would go back to normal. With the first episode of season two titled “Monster”, it is very clear that this is not a prank, it’s not a hoax… this could be the end.
“Monster” jumps around to the different characters in our group and briefly touches on each one so we get a little reminder of who everyone is from season one and what has happened. Strand is just as mysterious as he was when we first met him. He has a coolness and a coldness about him that is both intriguing and troubling. At one point in the episode, he ignores a stranded group of people without a second thought. He could care less about helping people or being the “good” guy so it makes one wonder why he agreed to take everyone on this boat that he has. Maybe he needs them for something or there is some ulterior motive that we the viewer are not yet privy too, which Daniel suspects as well.
Daniel Salazar is a character you would almost expect to find in the later seasons of The Walking Dead. When he was initially introduced in season one we got the idea that he just might be your average barber that had come to America trying to make a living. While some of that may be true, we find out that there is very much more to the life of Daniel than we may initially suspect. Daniel served in the Salvadoran junta under a revolutionary government where mass murder, torture, executions and unexplained disappearances occurred. He may not have experienced the walkers that are now taking over the world, but he has seen unimaginable horror and knows what to look for in a person. He has been watching Strand closely. He is still very unsure of just who Strand is and what his motives are, and even questions Madison at one point as to why he was so prepared to leave before everything happened. Daniel is one of the characters I most like in Fear the Walking Dead and I am very interested to see how this character progresses.
Alicia makes decisions this episode that make you want to reach through the TV and shake her violently. Thankfully, I had a wrestling buddy from when I was younger to punch repeatedly in the face mumbling, “You’re so stupid Alicia.” For Walking Dead veterans this is a perfect instance in where frustration may boil because we know the same thing Stone Cold Steve Austin knew in WWE which is DTA – Don’t Trust Anybody. In the event, you had never seen the Walking Dead before you may be able to relate to Alicia just a little bit more, which is why it’s important to watch this episode with an open mind. Try to act as if this is the first time you’re seeing this chaos unfold and you generally think everyone is a decent person, which most people would. Alicia is clearly still suffering emotionally from the loss of her boyfriend from last season, and even still has a drawing on her arm from when they were last together. Naturally, when she is asked to monitor the radio channels and hears a distraught young voice that has experienced the same pain that she has, she gets all too comfortable with the mysterious “Jack”, which to veteran fans means trouble.
Travis, Madison, and Chris are focused around an event that happened in the finale of season one, the death of Chris’ mother, Liza. During the escape from the military base last season Liza had been bitten and from her time there, she knew what would happen to her. To avoid turning she asked Travis to shoot her, and he did. Chris is distraught over losing his mother as almost anyone would be. He’s angry at the world and what has happened and takes that out on his father, Travis, believing he could have done something different. It’s an argument Walking Dead fans have been through before. We know nothing could have been done and it’s time to move on. This is another situation that might cause you to groan getting through it, but do your best to watch the episode with a fresh set of eyes.
The progression of Nick as a character is very interesting to watch from when we first saw him in season one. In season one, he was a junkie and a loser, someone who wouldn’t be going anywhere in life and furthermore a disappointment to everyone around him. Throughout the season, as he dried out from addiction more so because of the state of the world than by choice, he has really shown his value, especially to Strand. Strand see’s Nick as a survivor and someone with that quality is a use to him in this world. Nick slowly begins to see this through the episode despite his onscreen skepticism. Strand lets him now how far he’s come despite the person he’s been labeled as and shows him how valuable he could be. I’m on the edge of my seat with curiosity as to how this character could be developed in the coming episodes because he shows that even the low man on the totem pole can be the top man depending on how you look at it.
Fear the Walking Dead offers a great first episode with “Monster” and shows how life on the water moving forward is going to be interesting. Even if you didn’t catch season one then you can tune in here and still not feel left out. Either way, I’d tell you to tune in just to get the gruesome scene with the motorboat propeller in the opening. Fear the Walking Dead will require you to toss out some knowledge acquired in previous seasons of the Walking Dead but it is without a doubt worth your time. We’ve already seen the aftermath of apocalypse in the Walking Dead, so now open yourself to the characters and experience of the apocalypse as it unfolds… you won’t be disappointed.
Characters: All of our survivors are back from season one and isolated aboard the Abigail.
Cinematography: The shot of Los Angeles burning sets an eerie tone from the start.
Story: Continuing from season one the undead continue to rise in numbers as the world falls apart. Our survivors take refuge aboard the Abigail in an attempt to find safe haven wherever they can.
Acting: Nice performances all around. Chris’s emotions come off as a little forced.
- That motorboat propeller...
- Water walkers
- Alicia on the radio
- Chris's temper tantrum