For reasons no one other than AMC can understand, the network has already re-upped Fear the Walking Dead for a third season. Yeah, yeah, money…blah blah blah, and indeed I’m sure the ratings for the second season opener were through the roof. All of us hoped there might be something we could look forward to in between waiting for Fear‘s parent series, Netflix binges and that long awaited Game of Thrones winter, but I’m here to tell you things really haven’t gotten better. And, if you’re questioning why I’m bothering to write about it at all, you’re not the only one.
***Spoiler Warning: This post contains spoilers through last night’s episode of Fear the Walking Dead. If you’ve not seen it, count your lucky stars and instead, read about it!***
I actually tuned in last night with the hope “We All Fall Down” would be so dumb, it would turn hilariously funny. Unfortunately, we had no such luck. It’s just plain stupid. On the plus side, the episode was written by Kate Erickson (Mr. Robot) and Carla Ching, and there were some better moments sprinkled throughout (Daniel and Victor’s verbal sparring, George — before we found out he was looney tunes). On the down side, the characters — old and new — continue to be impossibly ignorant, and most of the dialogue (I’m talking to you, Travis) is vapid and beyond naive.
After the episode opened with a handy, dandy federally protected land preserve fence to keep out the walkers, and to make sure little kids don’t get chomped right in front of us, we find the boat gang headed to an island where they hope to ditch whomever might be following them. Discovering a house, Travis decides yelling at the people inside is the best way to draw them out; I guess he’s desperate to make friends?
Travis: “We’re not a threat, we’re not sick; we’re just…”
As with many Walking Dead ploys, for no good reason it works; a little kid comes out to investigate, maybe because Travis is basically on the same level as a 4-5 year old kid. After discovering an entire family inside — Melissa (Catherine Dent), George (David Warshofsky), and three kids, we’re treated to riveting mind-numbingly insipid dialogue like this:
George to Travis: “You guys are from L.A.; you’ve got that air about you.”
Ofelia to Daniel: “I’m starting to understand this world better.”
George to Travis: “We’re the weeds mother nature is pulling.”
Nick: “Something is off here.”
Alicia: “Everything is off here.”
Travis to George, upset after seeing Chris killing walkers at the beach fence: “My son used to mow the lawn, take out the garbage, tidy his room, clean up the dishes…this is…”
Me: Yes, Travis, in case you still haven’t figured it out, things have changed. You all need to learn how to kill walkers, even Chris.
We did manage to score a Best line of the episode…
Victor: “You hover over me like the specter of death, Daniel.”
…and truly, Victor is our only hope for this series. Colman Domingo delivers every line (well-written or not) with a knowing and sinister air. If we find out he engineered the whole apocalypse, tell me you wouldn’t be right beside me, nodding “Mmmhmm”?
After a lot of pussyfooting around George and Melissa, and amateur investigator Nick having made a terrible discovery during his weekly drug hunt, Melissa — who’s sick and desperate to find hope for her children’s future — asks Madison to take her two younger children with them. Never mind that Madison is supposed to be a guidance counselor and have some common sense; after approximately minus 5 seconds thought, she agrees to Melissa’s plan of taking the kids without a word to George. In this scenario, Travis is actually the intelligent one, and the idea that the boat will be any safer for the kids than their island home — away from their parents — gives him pause. Never mind that both Travis and Madison can barely keep tabs on their own, semi-self-sufficient children, why not take on a couple more? It’s a recipe for disaster, and luckily (as George earlier surmised) “nature” takes care of things. Okay, well not really nature — more like George, who it turns out is as bananas as the rest of the people we’ve met on FtWD — and little Willa (Aria Lyric Leabu) takes the pills Nick found, dies, turns and attacks her mother. This brings up another of the show’s failings; if you’re committed to having a child zombie attack her parent, why hide the gruesomeness TWD has always been known for? It’s not that I necessarily want to see the attack in its full glory, but if you’re going to go there, go there.
Predictably, the mess of an hour all falls apart pretty quickly. The boat gang grabs Willa’s little brother Harry (Jeremiah/Maverick Clayton) and runs him to the boat, but older brother Seth (Jake Austin Walker) follows them and waves around a gun to get Harry back. He does, but of course, just as they’re making their way back on the pier, the brothers run into, and Seth is forced to kill mama Melissa while Harry frantically waves goodbye to the boat gang. In one short stop, Madison and Travis basically ruined a whole family’s lives, but not in a funny, Chevy Chase way. Thanks, assholes!
The only vaguely intriguing aspect of the entire episode comes when Daniel breaks into Victor’s cabinet and finds automatic weaponry and maps — to Mexico. At the end of the hour, Victor calls someone and plans a meet. But, I just don’t know how I’m going to keep going with this thing.