(Be warned, plenty of spoilers below)
“Slow burn.” When information came out about The Walking Dead spin off Fear the Walking Dead, the producers warned those looking for fast and intense action that this would be a slower build up. The main purpose behind Fear the Walking Dead is to introduce the public to life before the virus spread and removed most of society. We are introduced in the opening sequence to a junkie who wakes up in a daze looking for his girlfriend. The church-turned-drug house offered an incredibly eerie setting and hinted at what to expect. After stumbling around for a minute or so, the young man discovers the girl, Gloria, hunched over a body. She turns on him with the typical “walker” appearance. The young man sprints out of the church and right into traffic, getting smashed into by an oncoming car.
The introduction did a good job of giving us something to satisfy our need for action, because the rest of the show centered on established the main characters. We come to find that the junkie is Nick Clark, a lost soul who did not follow in his sister Alicia’s footsteps. Alicia is portrayed as a super intelligent and well-centered individual, everything that her brother lacks. Nick’s mother and step-father, Madison Clark and Travis Manawa work in a public high school as a counselor and teacher, respectively. Travis has a step-son Chris who is clearly resentful towards his father, and that reason will hopefully be uncovered in future episodes.
Most of the episode focused on Nick at a bedside hospital recovering from the car accident. His step-dad Travis became very intrigued from what Nick told him about the massacre at the church and went to look himself. Travis found blood stains everywhere and a less-skeptical Madison decided to look for herself. From that moment on, the tension among the characters grew as they began to accept not all is right in Los Angeles. And this tension came to a head when Nick’s drug dealer Calvin took him to an underpass with a gun. Nick understood what was happening and stabbed Calvin to “death.” Nick’s family found him and he demanded that they drive to the underpass to see the dead Calvin. As expected, Calvin returned as a zombie and withstood multiple impacts from the car. From there, the episode wound down and gave us some previews for the rest of the season.
Here are a few assorted thoughts from the intro episode:
-I was very refreshed to see society still in relatively normal functioning. I have become so used to The Walking Dead‘s barren landscape. Watching the people react to the oncoming virus should bring a lot of intrigue.
-Killing off the drug dealer Calvin in the early going is extremely disappointing. He really had a lot of layers to him and I would have enjoyed seeing his character fleshed out.
-Travis’s and Madison’s reaction to the turned Calvin was awful. I don’t know about you, but if I saw someone survive being smashed with a car multiple times and still stumble towards me, I would be a little more frightened. Either the producers hamstrung the actors with the content, or they just did not deliver the correct reaction.
-Frank Dillane’s portrayal of Nick was great. In my opinion, he is a step above the other actors on this show.
-The episode as expected was very slow. Other than a few moments of buildup, most of the time focused on character development. If you are looking for shootouts and zombie beatings, this show might not be for you until a few episodes in.
Just an old man who enjoys the simple things in life: Seinfeld, Michigan sports, working out, and playing video games. You can find me on the basketball court or trying to find a way to slow down time.