Title: Fear the Walking Dead: “Just In Case”
Air Date: May 20, 2018
Genre: Serial Drama, Horror
This weeks episode of AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead, titled “Just In Case”, is a bit of a roller coaster. We begin to fill in a lot of the holes to Naomi/Laura’s story and it is both heartbreaking and infuriating at the same time. Her story is used to flush out some internal struggles in the other characters and further develop some of the philosophical questions the show as a whole attempts to explore. We also continue to bounce back and forth between timelines, however in “Just In Case”, we spend the majority of our time in the past.
The scene to me that steals the entire episode, unfortunately, happens in the very beginning, the opening sequence. In it, we find one of the vultures picking clean a gas station. He has corraled a small horde of zombies into the walk-in coolers and is busy ‘shopping’, I bring this up because it raised a big question for me; how did he get all those walkers into the coolers by himself? Were they already in there and if so why were there still supplies to be picked through? Eh, sometimes I overanalyze! He is loading up his truck when from behind we hear John’s voice. Again, Garret Dillahunt does not disappoint; his character is so strong in terms of presence that he easily steals the scenes from almost everyone else. The only other character able to hold his or her own is Lennie James, which I am pleased to say that these two spend almost all of their screen time together. The combination of these two actors and well thought out characters makes for some really engrossing scenes. I would honestly love to see these two get their own spinoff. I am imagining a show reminiscent of the 90’s Renegade or 70’s Kung Fu. I would love to just watch these to explore the wasteland and see what happens.
We spend a little bit of time with Al and the shows original crew, but it isn’t very impactful. They are traveling to find the vultures and Al is still trying to get their story. My overanalysis kicked in her again when a nagging question about Al finally broke through and I’m sharing it with all of you; how does she keep her hair cut so well? Every other character in the show has longer strangely hair or has companions to help maintain it, but hers is still fairly well manicured for someone who travels solo. I know it’s small and silly, but for a show with such high standards, I notice the little things I guess. I am also hungry to hear Al’s story. If the show does not start to deliver a bit more on her background she is going to quickly become a very flat and uninteresting character. I adore the actress who plays her, Maggie Grace, I’ve seen almost everything she’s been in so I’m a little frustrated not to see her be able to stretch her acting into this character.
During this episode we get to see a bit more of Strand and Cole’s relationship, they both need to deal with Strand’s revelation from last week and I feel like Cole’s reaction is very logical and believable to what an actual person would do given the circumstances. Strand, on the other hand, is flat to me, he is a character who continually makes the same choices and receives the same results. He is static in his flaws and it begins to grate on you after awhile. How many times have we seen this character gets put into a wishy-washy moral crisis and still make the wrong choice? His reaction to Naomi/Laura’s perceived betrayal of the group is on the one hand very hypocritical since he is accusing her of doing the very thing he was attempting to do, but on the other hand, can be explained as a transference of his own self-hatred. He is projecting that self-hatred outward at an individual whom is weaker than himself in both physical stature and social standing. The character at his core is opportunistic and selfish, he has never denied and has in fact verbalized on many occasions, so can we, therefore, be angry when he shows who he really is? This is one of those philosophical questions I mentioned at the beginning, are we at our core always the same person, but just hide it from others and ourselves through various masks or can we change? Can we fundamentally change who we are as a person?
Naomi/Laura’s story helps to flush out these issues for Strand but also has her own to deal with. The majority of, ‘Just In Case’ delivers the reasons for Naomi/Laura’s desire to flee every group she finds. She returns to her place of origin and has to face the consequences of a choice she made. This brings out a continual theme of the show, there are always lasting consequences to our actions, especially those made without thinking. Many of the characters in this show make choices based in fear or anger, they react instead of stepping back for a moment and analyzing the situation. The only character who truly does this is Morgan, he is the voice of reason in a world that has lost all sense of humanity and rationalism. We see this same theme resurface later in the episode with Alicia and the Vultures. Morgan just moments before a confrontation, tells her that she still has time to change, to go another way, but she makes her own choices. Naomi/Laura’s character also serves to teach Madison that perhaps her blind faith in the community is not the right thing. She helps Madison to see the perhaps preparing for the ‘Just In Case’ is not a betrayal, but a logical and rational thing to do.
Verdict: This episode of Fear the Walking Dead is not a standout star, but does perform solidly strong for the standard the show’s brand has set. There is a good mixture of exposition and action. The characters, most of them, continue to develop and engage in interesting ways. There was more of an emphasis on character development in, ‘Just In Case’, which left little room for the little things that embellish a scene which I prefer to see like soundtrack and cinematography, but still a solid episode.
- Character development
- Great acting
- John and Morgan
- Strand is too static
- Althea is poorly developed