Fear the Walking Dead 1×4 Review: Not Fade Away
I actually did not mind this episode! It only took four episodes, but for the first time, I felt like I “got” what the showrunners were going for in this series. All along, the producers and writers have said that they wanted to do something completely different from The Walking Dead, and until this week, their vision mostly fell flat. But this week we got some much-needed exposition, and–gasp!–no zombies!
For those of us who are fans of zombie shows, we know who the real enemy is–and it’s not the zombies. Indeed, “Not Fade Away” gave us a glimpse into the military’s reaction to the outbreak. And it was mostly bleak. After Christopher saw the SOS coming from across town, I figured the grim outcome was coming. That ending though was pretty terrifying, and I am glad that it was Travis (Mr. Denial) who witnessed it. What I did not expect, however, was that Madison would venture out beyond the fence.
I am not a huge fan of Madison, but she showed some cajones this week. Not only did she finally get emotional on Nick (although it was done with violence, which I never condone), but she went outside the border of the little town that has been fenced in by the National Guard. I do feel that Madison is probably the only character that could have gotten away with this, but I feel like she would have and should have gotten more emotional by what she encountered on the street. Heck, she should have run back home and told EVERYONE that the military was killing civilians who were not sick. Again, the biggest problem that I have with this show is the lack of exposition, and the fact the Madison did not immediately communicate what she witnessed really bugged me.
Let’s go back to Nick. Ugh, Nick. I have been with him from the beginning. I feel like he is really the only one who has a good grasp of what is going on, and I credit most of that to his street smarts. But going next door and getting high off a dying man’s morphine drip? I am not good with that. Especially since he lied to his mom about being clean, after she offered him drugs to help with the withdrawal. I wanted to smack him along with Madison! (Again, I do not condone violence.) Of course, the doctor saw right through his act, and I am sure that will be to his detriment.
Speaking of the doctor, she freaks me out a little bit. She has to know what is going on outside of the border, and yet she seems totally cool with it. Although, it looks like we might get a peek at what is happening at the hospital next week. I don’t think that she is entirely genuine, especially after she basically forced Liza to make a last-second decision about joining her and leaving her family behind without saying anything. Come on, lady. Can’t Liza say goodbye to her son, even if it is temporary? I felt like that entire last scene was contrived, and probably not very realistic. I can see Nick being forced to leave without notice, but the rest of it just seemed like shock value.
The whole military aspect of the episode, to me, was conveyed fairly successfully and probably (unfortunately) realistically. We know what the world becomes as a result of this outbreak, so it makes sense to me that they would want to contain safe zones. Did anyone else notice the lack of diversity in our safe zone? It was pretty obvious based on Madison’s excursion outside the fence that their nice, middle-class neighborhood would survive intact but just a few blocks away, the more urban areas have been completely shut down by the military. It’s a sad depiction, but one that felt a little too plausible, unfortunately. The seeming lack of urgency demonstrated by the people in charge was a depressing editorial on the federal response to an epic biological disaster. One has to wonder how many, if any, safe zones exist by the time The Walking Dead timeline rolls around.
All in all, this episode was an improvement on pacing and exposition from the prior episodes, but is still lacking severely in characterization and vision. I want to know what the endgame is! I still feel like I have no idea what the goal is for telling this story other than to cater to fans. I want to know more about the characters, but without them being super boring. I want to see more conversation happening among them, and I want to see them actually communicate with each other about what is going on. I feel like the lack of dialogue is a bit lazy at this point, but we only have two more episodes left of the season, so I am cautiously optimistic.
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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