To say that I disliked last week’s pilot of Fear the Walking Dead would probably be a bit of an understatement. But having lots of experiences with pilots, I took the episode for what it was at its core: a high-level introduction of the universe. Luckily, “So Close, Yet So Far” infused some much-needed action and some additional characterization into the story.
If you hated the slow burn of last week’s pilot episode of Fear The Walking Dead, then there is good news: “So Close, Yet So Far,” had a completely different and much faster pace. A show like this will always have pacing issues, and this episode was not immune. Instead of opening the episode immediately after Cal’s demise from the end of the pilot, we were taken along on a walk with Alicia and saw a glimpse of what was going on with Matt. It then shifted to Travis, Nick, and Madison getting the heck away from Cal. I would have liked a little bit better flow with these two scenes, especially after the sluggish pace of the pilot, but the showrunners are still just warming us up for what is ahead.
Going back to the scene with Alicia and Matt, it was actually a nice change for someone to get to say goodbye to a loved one. It seems like, at least at the beginning of the outbreak, it takes much longer for a person to turn. I was actually shocked that everyone in the goodbye scene seemed as rational as they did, particularly after the events in the pilot where everyone just kind of stood around. I guess that the zombie legend doesn’t exist in this particular universe. I do have to nitpick here for a minute and point out a trend that was started on The Walking Dead and seems to be continuing onto Fear the Walking Dead: they are killing off the black men. So far, we have had three named black male characters on the series: Cal, Matt, and Artie, and they have all died (I think it is safe to assume that Matt did not survive that bite and subsequent fever). This is very alarming to me, and I hope that someone, ANYONE, at the studio notices this before it becomes a trend on this show as well. We are only on the second episode!
Speaking of rational, Nick is going through withdrawal but seems super lucid. I loved the fact that he was going through the radio stations and trying to get news about what was going on. A little paranoia in this context is probably a good thing. Of course, Nick is really the most experienced in zombies at this point out of our main cast, so I am glad to see that he is concerned. But also, going through withdrawal during the zombie outbreak–terrible.
I disliked the other story of this episode which was Travis and his search for Eliza and Chris. I think that this story could have had a little more meat, and although I liked Chris being at the center of the homeless person shooting, I wish we would have gotten a little more context. I also liked the “protest” element of the downtown story because that is exactly how I envision a zombie outbreak going down in an urban area. This pains me to say, but I actually wish we had gotten more exposition in the barber shop. We still have only seen Travis interact with Chris on the phone; even when they were within a few feet of each other, we really got very little insight into their relationship.
The one scene that really got to me in this episode, though, was Madison having to kill Artie. Being so immersed in The Walking Dead has desensitized me a bit in just how far that group has come in their instincts for survival. In this early time frame in the outbreak, Madison is a perfect example of people not being prepared, not knowing how to kill a zombie, and not even knowing their own strength. Even though Madison did have some hesitation (who wouldn’t?), she was able to pull it together to save herself and Tobias. To me, this was another super realistic portrayal that this episode did well. And how can you not love Tobias? Please don’t die yet.
This was a solid second episode. We saw a lot more action and fast movement, and got a little more of a glimpse into the outbreak. I would like to see a bit more characterization, but I am hoping we will get to know these characters better as we spend more time with them. I also would like there to be some sort of plot, because it does seem to be a bit unclear right now. Is the goal to get the family back together? To get to the desert? To survive? I guess we will have to wait and see what the ultimate goal is other than to survive each day.
Erin has reviewed many shows over the years including Orphan Black, iZombie, Penny Dreadful, and Killing Eve. She has a keen eye for on-screen chemistry, and loves to tackle the subject of casting. She is also our horror aficionado. She live tweets shows, and loves to share her feelings. Erin has a BA in History, and likes to analyze the lore behind historical fiction. She attends San Diego Comic Con every year and has also attended C2E2 and WonderCon.
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