Fear the Walking Dead: Not Fade Away
September 21, 2015 7:42 AM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Madison and Travis see different sides of the National Guard's occupation in their neighborhood; the family tries to adapt to the new world
posted by Brandon Blatcher (40 comments total)
 
I dunno.

That pretty much sums off my thoughts. After last week, it felt like the show was really going somewhere. And it is, not doubt. But it still feels flat, like the it's decided to slow down for no good reason. It's not bad, but still a let down after last week.

Overall, I would have preferred a six episode season that really focused on the breakdown of everything as seen through the eyes of single group or family. And what would have made it great was seeing one of them slowly turn over several episodes, to really get the emotional impact of the introduction of walkers into the world. I wondered be surprised if that was contemplated in the writing room, but not done because it was decided it was too slow. Which is a shame, because that slow build of horror would have been perfect, done right.

Instead, we get a bunch of characters, most uninteresting as we yell at the tv about why they're doing something stupid. That said, my favorite aspect is that Madison clearly the smarter and stronger one, more able to deal with what's happening. But Travis has useful skills and together they could be formidable leaders.

The son's drug problems are going to be a drag on the narrative. Hell, they already are.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:52 AM on September 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Really all I have to say about that episode is: I am officially done with this show.
posted by bondcliff at 7:57 AM on September 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well, looks like that military squadron that Maddy hid from after CUTTING A PERSON-SIZED HOLE IN THE FENCE, WTF MADDY, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU found the poor survivor signaling "SOS" in Morse code from that house up on the hillside.

Good job, Travis. You probably just killed Tobias via helpful speculation with the not-always-benevolent military leader.

But wait, how do I know he's not trustworthy? Uh. He is practicing his golf swing during his down time, not unlike TWD's long-term baddie, The Governor. (One thing this series isn't, regardless of the story arc or medium: subtle.)

That said, I do have one thing I generally love about this show which I've failed to note in previous comments: the scenes that look like they're faithful reproductions of a comic book panel, even though it's a straight-to-television storyline. Those are pretty abundant in FtWD, and a nice nod back to the origin storyline.

A lot of people seem to be speculating (especially on Reddit) that Nick got taken because they're rounding up people who may potentially die soon or are draining the medical supplies/resources before they can be properly replenished within the safe zones.

I don't think that's why they took Nick, though. I think they reviewed the neighbor's condition, saw he was close to death and the new doctor correctly surmised that some of his morphine drip must've been siphoned off by someone. Liza sold out Nick by revealing his drug addiction; when the military doctor examined him and he told her he'd already kicked, his lowered blood pressure, pinned pupils and clammy skin would've been a dead giveaway (heh) that he was lying and still routinely ingesting opiates. Since Maddy most likely told her he'd been passing up the pills she'd laid out for him to kick heroin with, Nick clearly became the likely morphine thief and therefore has shared a needle with someone who's dying. We all saw him stick that IV into his own foot and hide under the dude's bed; if the neighbor's infected and close to death (which we know is true, everyone alive is already infected), then by the transitive property, Nick's next in the military's death pool.

As a preventive measure, it makes sense they'd want to take both of them away for observation, if only to film/document how each sick person dies and turns.

I'm pretty sure that Maddy and Nick's stupid "I'm not a hero" exchange earlier in this ep is FtWD's super-obvious way of telegraphing: SPOILER ALERT, JUNKIE DEPP IS GOING TO BE THE HERO. STAY TUNED FOR JUNKIE HERO ADVENTURES!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:05 AM on September 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


I was doing dishes when the show first came on, and heard strains of "Perfect Day" from the kitchen.

So I yelled to my roommate: "I hear Lou Reed. What's the junkie kid doing?" Roommate: "Lounging in a swimming pool, duh!" Duh, indeed.

That about sums up my feelings about this episode.
posted by divined by radio at 8:10 AM on September 21, 2015 [8 favorites]


Yep -- we're done, too. The level of idiocy on display is stunning. Much disappoint.
posted by davidmsc at 8:25 AM on September 21, 2015


They skipped the whole point of the show.

The fall of LA, they skipped it. It's a week later and everything outside the safe zones has been evacuated. We didn't seen one second of it.

The only thing I can figure is that this show must have been done on a shoestring budget. Like, no money. That's the only reason you'd skip the entire reason it's taking place in an urban setting.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:50 AM on September 21, 2015 [14 favorites]


That's the only reason you'd skip the entire reason it's taking place in an urban setting.

Here's AMC's blurb about the show, from its homepage:
Living in the same universe as The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead is a gritty drama that explores the onset of the undead apocalypse through the lens of a fractured family. Set in a city where people come to escape, shield secrets, and bury their pasts, a mysterious outbreak threatens to disrupt what little stability high school guidance counselor Madison Clark and English teacher Travis Manawa have managed to assemble. The everyday pressure of blending two families while dealing with resentful, escapist, and strung out children takes a back seat when society begins to break down. A forced evolution, a necessary survival of the fittest takes hold, and our dysfunctional family must either reinvent themselves or embrace their darker histories.
So the show isn't explictly about the zombie apocalypse in an urban setting, but clearly its a factor.

I don't mind that they skipped the fall of LA. There should be an element of things happening that the main characters just don't know. But it's nuts that no one is talking about it. LA is a major city in the one of the richest nations in the world and it's been without power for nine days? That's a topic of conversation, along with those dead people who won't stay dead.

I'll finish out this season, but see no reason to return for the 2nd unless something very good happens in these last two episodes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:11 AM on September 21, 2015


I agree that this wasn't a very satisfying episode, but I'm still going to keep on watching. I really love Daniel the Barber and the relationship developing between him and Madison reminds me of the relationship between Daryl and Carol (which I love). And I can't help but love Nick, even though he's such an asshole, because the actor is doing such a great job of portraying a person who is so utterly enslaved by his own addiction that even the end of the world can't stop him from trying to get and stay high.

One of the things I like to do with zombie stories is try to figure out who will make it to the end of the season - I'm honestly torn as to whether Liza is going to make it. I thought initially they'd off her because that would heighten the tension between Travis and Madison and Chris, but now I think she may make it because the producers like love triangles (not that I think Travis loves Liza in the same way as he did when they were married, but they have a history) and Madison now blames Liza for Nick's arrest. So now my current Survives-Until-Next-Season group consists of:

Madison
Travis
Nick
Alicia (sad to say, I feel this character is kind of pointless and the only reason she'll make it is because she gives the producers the excuse to show some skin)
Liza
Daniel
Ofelia
Chris
Dr. Exner (maybe)
The military guy that Ofelia was hanging with (maybe)
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:13 AM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was 90% sure last week that I was done with this show. Then last night my girlfriend said, "Oh, you're not watching tonight? I was going to watch it" and because I want to spend time with her, I did.

Which means I guess I need to give up and accept that I'll be hate-watching the last two episodes. Maybe even more than I hate-watched this one, if that's possible.

I am just astounded that this show has managed to be simultaneously boring and frustrating. I dislike every character except for Daniel Salazar. Madison and Travis are ineffective and ridiculous and act as if they intentionally want their families to come to harm by both not listening and not sharing.

Most infuriating is that junkie idiot. I wish he'd die and turn already. If he's given some sort of heroic redemptive arc - and dollars to donuts says he is - I'm going to throw something at the television. There are plenty of other shows (many of them on AMC even!) that show how to make a proper anti-hero, someone we can dislike but still root for, but apparently the producers and / or writers aren't paying attention.
posted by komara at 10:02 AM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm going to throw something at the television.

This will not enhance the relationship with your girlfriend.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:15 AM on September 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


Was there a rest of the episode? I think I missed it because I was on the floor convulsing while screaming "NINE DAYS LATER?!!!!!!!"
posted by Catblack at 10:16 AM on September 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


Was there a rest of the episode? I think I missed it because I was on the floor convulsing while screaming "NINE DAYS LATER?!!!!!!!"

Remember the promos that had Tobias saying "when civilization ends, it ends fast"?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:23 AM on September 21, 2015


I loved the twist at the end. It wasn't worth watching to get there, and some of the "This I knows, every night we does the tell" moments with that kid on the roof were so cringeworthy, but I did like taking that hope and turning it into something awful.

I also want heroin boy to bite it. I'm sick of his shit. And as annoying as he is, the show still finds ways to make every single character do something ridiculous and even more unbelievable. Dude is jogging around away from his family, with headphones on? Heroin boy in that nasty pool? Annoying son on top of the roof with a video camera from the 80's? The daughter wandering around like she can't find the dressing room in H&M? I mean it just goes on and on. I wish they'd take out one of the main characters like The Walking Dead did.
posted by cashman at 10:54 AM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


They skipped the whole point of the show.

That pretty much sums it up, and I was pretty sure that was the direction they were taking when the military rounded everybody up at the end of last episode. Like, "Woo! They're finally going to hit the road and we can see some chaos! Oh, wait, no, they've got babysitters now."

But even I was surprised that they just fast forwarded right through the fall of civilization, with nobody even really talking about it. I mean, I'd expect a lot more speculation about missing loved ones, other camps, and so on at the very least.
posted by mordax at 11:38 AM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


What I want to know is what demands on Travis's time are so goddamned pressing that he not only won't go up on the roof to look at the flashing light, but also won't take five seconds to look at his son's video recording? Is the training regimen for the LA Postapocalypse Half-Marathon that grueling?
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:12 PM on September 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


Was the voiceover from the daughter at the end supposed to imply that she is going to kill herself to be with her (un)dead boyfriend?
posted by LizBoBiz at 12:13 PM on September 21, 2015


I thought it implied she'd join the cult from The Leftovers.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:26 PM on September 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


She was reading a letter that Susan (the Asian neighbor-zombie from last week) had left for her husband, Patrick.
posted by jimw at 4:04 PM on September 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Thanks! I totally did not pick up on that.
posted by LizBoBiz at 4:14 PM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Susan apparently saw something (walking dead, I assume) she interpreted as end-times prophecy, so...she killed herself.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:36 PM on September 21, 2015


I don't dislike the characters as much as other people here do. I did hate Travis in this episode. I'm ambivalent about Nick from a critical perspective because, wow, that's an uncompromising depiction of addiction. He does the things that addicts do. But as a member of the audience, I was right there with his mom as she beat the shit out of him. And despite what I just wrote about addiction, I have to confess that I keep vacilating about the argument that, well, this is the zombie apocalypse (and Nick has been presented as seeing it for what it is) and so is his behavior believable? Well, it's the zombie apocalypse, more incentive to retreat into addiction. But it's the zombie apocalypse, reason to worry more about not being eaten. Dunno.

Yeah, the whole nine days later skipping of the what I expected was the premise and most interesting aspect of the show induced rage. Later, I thought, well, I can imagine enjoying a show about the intermediate stage under a partial collapse of civilization and corresponding authoritarianism. But this isn't really quite that, or won't be for long. The fenced zones are already in TWD territory.

I'll keep watching because I do actually like the characters, for some values of "like". I find Nick intriguing and a refreshing in that he's loathsome and complicated in an unusual way. I'm a huge fan of Kim Dickens and I like Madison. She's my favorite character. I like the daughter a lot. I like Daniel Salazar, especially in this episode.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:43 PM on September 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Maybe the cast didn't notice anything during those 9 days because of an epic Monopoly game
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:34 PM on September 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


They're probably playing with the jail money under free parking.
posted by cashman at 9:01 PM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


It really hit us over the head with the "Look at what's happening in your own household before worrying about everyone else, Travis!" throughout the episode. OK, we all know Travis is a Good Guy who wants to fix EVERYTHING. Good luck with that, now that your family is scattered to the four winds.
posted by tracicle at 12:38 AM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm really starting to wish we had more visibility into what the authorities actually think they're accomplishing. The mysterious, seemingly random and pointless, actions they're taking aren't having the desired effect of ramping up the suspense and fear. They're just making everyone look like morons.

I kind of suspect Kirkman is taking a lot of his playbook from Max Brooks. It looks like they might have implemented a small scale version of the Redeker plan in LA. They picked some neighborhoods they could hold and save and fenced those off and made enclaves. Then it looks like they just killed people outside the fence - that six mile radius they talked about - on the grounds that they didn't have the manpower and supplies to protect them, and sooner or later they would just turn into more zombies they'd have to deal with.

If they're really thinking Redeker, then our neighborhood is actually intended as one of the bait zones meant to draw zombies away from the areas they really care about. Because it doesn't seem particularly important strategically. It doesn't appear to have any useful facilities. It's just a bunch of suburban homes full of civilians who can't even feed themselves. It's a zombie honeypot.

Given what we saw of Atlanta in TWD it seems really unlikely to me that LA is just empty. I think the zombies have ended up clustered in one or more big hordes elsewhere, and given how TWD invariably ends its seasons, I assume episode 6 will be a fucking shitton of zombies overrunning the neighborhood, (or possibly the "hospital zone" if next episode is everyone mounting up to go after their stolen loved ones), the army falling apart, and whoever survives out of our small group fleeing into the badlands.

Of course this is all just me projecting into the big blank space left by some pretty annoying storytelling.
posted by Naberius at 7:00 AM on September 22, 2015 [8 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: Here's AMC's blurb about the show, from its homepage

Thanks, Brandon. With this as a reminder/re-focus for viewing the show, the way the show is progressing makes sense. We saw the fall of LA, through the eyes of the family (those who were in the heart of urban unrest, and those who watched from the suburbs), we saw how people come to terms with the idea that the Dead Don't Stay Dead, and what it means to have military protection (both Travis and Madison have seen what the military does to keep people safe, what Daniel knew all along). And we know nothing of the outside world because we're standing beside Madison and Travis.

For me, a lot of this seems pretty real, and that realism is what makes it tedious and annoying. When faced with a completely new terror (the undead), some people will embrace that reality and start planning for it (Tobias, I miss you so much), others will deny the evidence in front of their eyes and hope things will get better (Travis), while others pretend it's not really impacting their lives if they don't get involved (Madison). Of course, there's the religious response (Su-Su, who likely saw some of the unstoppable people footage on TV), and the varieties of responses (suicide to get to heaven). The military folk do their military thing (secure and subdue, with extreme prejudice, while controlling the flow of information so they maintain control).

While I was initially upset at Maddy for cutting a hole in the fence, I then assumed the next outbreak would happen inside the fence, likely due to the old man that Liza was treating turned, thanks to Junkie Johnny Depp taking his morphine. Sadly, that didn't happen so we had no zombies this episode.

Honestly, that's what annoyed me the most. Then again, I'm mostly here for the zombie mayhem, and my threshold for "good zombie show" is pretty low, thanks to seeing a lot of really bad zombie movies.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:31 AM on September 22, 2015


I have a superficial interest in this show, only because I know a guy who's supposed to be in a featured recurring role but from the looks of things hasn't shown up yet; has Colman Domingo turned up, playing a guy named "Strand"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:56 PM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, the imdb page claims he's been in all the episodes. But if so he's been hidden very, very effectively.

Perhaps it's some kind of meta thing where, as a black character, he's hiding out because if anybody notices him he'll be killed off.
posted by Naberius at 1:02 PM on September 22, 2015 [10 favorites]


Empress, after checking out his photo on IMDB, I think I caught your friend in a preview for the next episode.

As in, he speaks. First time I've noticed/seen him, though.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 2:12 PM on September 22, 2015


Maybe it's like a Where's Waldo sort of thing, where if you go back frame by frame he's hidden in every shot
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:32 PM on September 23, 2015


Such a lacklustre, disappointing show. I mean, I love a cosy catastrophe as much as the next post-apocalypse-lover, but I just can't buy into the reality we're being presented with. Despite the title, there's precious little fear to be had here. Where's the sense of peril? Where's the trauma? Where are the ZOMBIES? Nine days in and these people are playing board games and redecorating and impatiently awaiting the return of electricity and having relaxing swimming pool times? No one's frightened? No one's freaking out because ALMOST EVERY SINGLE PERSON THEY'VE EVER KNOWN IS DEAD? In fact, they might be the last human beings alive on the whole planet! Let's just think about that for five minutes! But no, no, let's repaint the living room or go fucking jogging or whatever.

Mind you, these are people who, having received early warning of a coming catastrophe, blithely chose not to warn their nice neighbours and then just closed the curtains when Mrs Cruz was eaten alive on her front lawn.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 3:21 PM on September 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


I agree! It's why I joked the show should be called Peruse The Walking Dead instead of fear. There is no fear in this show. It is such an unworthy addition to the Walking Dead family of media content. I think what sealed the move from maybe just maybe it can pull itself out of this hole, to it's gone, was when the lead character got upset because she saw his ex and figures she is responsible for getting her son dragged away. Really? I mean there were crappy love triangles in The Walking Dead as well, but at least there was a buildup and a twist, and it was an actual thing. No, here we get the "It's just a big ol misunderstanding!" thing people have mentioned they hate. I'm just not sure what they think they're giving to the viewers?

On the Talking Dead that introduced this show, Hardwick said they would follow Fear The Walking Dead if viewers wanted it, before it returned after the Fear The Walking Dead season one finale. Well I guess we got our answer, because it hasn't followed it. And goodness knows there is no reason for it to. What beloved character got killed off? Nobody. Besides the black guys who had speaking roles that all got killed off in the first two episodes, has there been a character with a speaking role that got killed off during the show?

The opening scene of The Walking Dead is better than this entire series so far.
posted by cashman at 7:35 PM on September 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


No one's freaking out because ALMOST EVERY SINGLE PERSON THEY'VE EVER KNOWN IS DEAD? In fact, they might be the last human beings alive on the whole planet! Let's just think about that for five minutes! But no, no, let's repaint the living room or go fucking jogging or whatever.

Mind you, these are people who, having received early warning of a coming catastrophe, blithely chose not to warn their nice neighbours and then just closed the curtains when Mrs Cruz was eaten alive on her front lawn.


It doesn't seem they even know how bad it is primarily because they're not asking. Clearly the military at least is still functioning. But none of the people on this show are the least bit curious about what's going on. If I were in that situation I'd be pestering every guardsmen I saw for rumors and news.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:00 PM on September 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Apparently there's no radio, TV, internet or electricity... and every building to the horizon is filled with bodies. These people have university degrees; surely they should be able figure out that 1 + 1 = complete societal collapse.

So: the characters don't behave in believable ways, there's nothing at stake, and the show feels really cheap. I think the zombie neighbour who got shot in the head by Mr Salazar is the only Walking Dead-quality zombie we've seen so far.

I mean, I'll keep watching because zombies. But it's not any good.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 9:45 AM on September 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Maybe the show is just waiting for Colman to get there and be awesome. :-)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:53 AM on September 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


But none of the people on this show are the least bit curious about what's going on.

They're curious when the plot says they should be, such as Madison going through the fence. Which is annoying as hell. Otherwise, not a hint about when they did with the dead Dealer friend or discussion about him or Sue Sue or the things they saw in the city.

Having people hope or pretend that things will go back to the way they were is fine, that's totally believable. But having zero conversations with each other about friends turning into virtually unkillable cannibalistic monsters is frustrating.

"Hey Travis, you remember my boss, Joe. Bit of a wonk, but basically a good principal? Yeah, today he tried to eat me and a student, while acting like he didn't know who we were, just growled at us with bloodshot eyes. So I had to kill him by bashing his head in, he just wouldn't stop. Not sure how to cope with that. How was your day?"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:02 AM on September 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


and every building to the horizon is filled with bodies. These people have university degrees; surely they should be able figure out that 1 + 1 = complete societal collapse.

For this matter they ought to be able to smell societal collapse
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:31 PM on September 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm just shocked that not a single person in one of those houses has a pair of binoculars that they could use to see dead bodies all over the streets outside the fence. I mean even I own a pair of binoculars, as well as a hell of a zoom lens for my camera.
posted by komara at 8:15 PM on September 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's now episode 5. Colman is on and he is indeed kinda badass.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:59 PM on September 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


He really is, that was a magnetic introduction to the character.

But he's black and on the Walking Dead, so...yeaaaaah.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:06 PM on September 27, 2015


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