Fear the Walking Dead: The Dog

Travis: "You know how I feel about guns."
Daniel: "The gun doesn't care how you feel about it."

Best one so far.

I thought Maddie and Travis would be separated longer, but no. Super lucky that Travis' truck didn't get burned out, huh? That riot was pretty intense, with the extra added freaky danger of walkers among the populace, and I felt for Daniel; how hard must it be to leave your hard-earned business behind to be looted and burned? And Travis was so sarcastic about it. What are they going to steal, combs?

It's probably too late to get out of Los Angeles. There are only so many ways out of town and I bet the major roads are already a nightmare. But what's the alternative? They can't stay, either.

The title of this episode made me uncomfortable because I knew a dog would probably get eaten. And it did. (Flashback to that poor horse in Atlanta.) Fortunately, it wasn't done in a hideously graphic way. Instead, the dog was more of a metaphor for the fact that the Clark, Manawa and Salazar families have to deal with what has just come unexpectedly in the door and into their lives.

Our characters are adjusting to the apocalypse at different rates of speed. Maddie is a real survivor, and she's adjusting the most quickly; I'm starting to like her. She knew that her long time friend and neighbor Susan wasn't Susan any more, and she went outside ready to take Susan out with a ball peen hammer. And Maddie didn't turn a hair lying to the Army ("Our dog died") to keep her family out of quarantine.

Maddie nearly saved Patrick Tran, too. I thought he was done for, since Susan was lunging for his neck; he was very lucky his wife didn't eat him. Except his luck didn't extend to avoiding quarantine. Too bad.

This is a world where you come home and a zombie is eating a dog in your living room. It's also a world where you play Monopoly by firelight; that was a nice scene since it showed how close the three Clarks used to be. But it was frustrating that everyone had a different level of knowledge about what was happening. Nick and Maddie not telling Alicia the truth nearly got her bitten. I was also unhappy that Nick was already breaking into houses for pills, although I guess it was understandable if he's in pain and Maddie gave most of the pills to Griselda.

Travis' ex-wife Liza has turned out to be smart and adaptable too, and I liked the scene where Madison asked Liza to take her out if she turned so that Travis wouldn't have to -- although it felt like that happened too soon in the series. The two of them being Travis' current and former honeys could be an excuse for stupid melodrama, but that would be super frustrating on a show like this. It's already hard to deal with Chris being all Mister Teenage Resentful, giving everyone lip and being difficult. Nick is better behaved and a lot more help, and he's the drug addict.

All of which leads me to the point that Travis is the de facto head of both families and is acting as leader, but he isn't adapting quickly enough. He's still convinced that everything is going to be fine, that the cavalry has arrived because there are helicopters overhead and people in uniforms are Taking Charge and Doing Things. If Travis hadn't stopped Maddie from putting Susan down, maybe they would have gotten out of town. Although I'll repeat that even now, I doubt that they can get out of Los Angeles.

Travis was even upset because Daniel showed Chris how to load a shotgun, and he kept one-upping Daniel about how much they owed each other. Travis needs to wake up and smell the coffee, and stop giving Daniel a hard time. Because I'm not warming to Travis at all, but I'm starting to really like Daniel Salazar. He was the one that stepped up and shot the walker in the face, not once but twice. Daniel has a fatalistic toughness that will undoubtedly serve him well as things get worse. But he may be making a mistake, putting the welfare of his wife Griselda and the desire to return to his family over his daughter Ofelia's desire to leave town with the Clark/Manawa family.

All three families need to sit down and exchange information. (And keep away from the windows, turn out the lights, and be very quiet. Too soon, I know.) They're lucky they have a nurse, but Liza already said that a crushed foot is too serious an injury for her to treat. If hospitals aren't an option, it seems pretty obvious to me that Griselda is going to die and turn at the worst possible time. Their wake-up call zombie, as it were.

Bits:

-- Eleven states have declared a state of emergency.

-- I like how the lights keep going on and off; it certainly adds to the tension. But would that happen? Wouldn't the grid just fail?

-- Alicia, who nearly broke Chris's nose, was freaking about her boyfriend Matt turning into something like Susan. I kept expecting her to take off and cause even more problems as the rest of the cast tried to retrieve her. Maybe next week.

-- I thought the dog would have been better at avoiding a walker. I bet cats do better. It's hard enough catching a cat even when you're quick.

-- I loved the Tran back yard. I knew someone in the Los Angeles area that had something similar.

-- Did Chris take that straight razor from Daniel's hair salon?

-- As I mentioned in a review I wrote yesterday, I just realized that Alycia Debnam-Carey, who plays Alicia, also plays Lexa the badass Commander on The 100. It immediately made me like her Fear character a lot more.

And here is Alicia/Alycia. It doesn't illustrate a point or a scene, but I just love this photo.

-- My friend Dr. Nana Mom, who reviews The Walking Dead, often includes a section called "Things I could do without". This time, it was Daniel taking out neighbor Pete with a shotgun and destroying his face twice.

Quotes:

Alicia: "This game is evil. Kindergarten capitalism."

Alicia: "I can't sleep when I'm waiting for someone to come home."
Me, either.

Travis: "You can stop keeping score."
Daniel: "I was not the one to start."

Travis: "You know what? I'm relieved. I thought it would be awkward, having two wives in the house." That came off as sexist to me, like Maddie and Liza would take the time during a national emergency to squabble over Travis.

Definitely a more intense episode than the first two, and it went quickly. Three out of four stolen combs,

Billie
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Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.

15 comments:

Jess Lynde said...

This show mostly isn't working for me, and I think that's because it all feels too familiar. I guess I wanted a different or wider perspective on how the world fell apart and this is too narrowly focused, which makes it feel like more of the same stuff we get on TWD, but just with different people. And these people aren't connecting with me for the most part. (I got way more jazzed seeing the ads and teasers for the mothership than I did by anything in Fear this week.) It actually felt very slow to me. I kept checking the clock to see if the episode was close to done yet. Although, I will admit to liking the scene between Maddie and Liza. :)

I'm going to stick with this incarnation through the end of this season, but then I might be out. Turns out I likely don't need two of the same show in this 'verse! (To be honest, it's a relief. The last thing I needed was another TWD addiction. One is plenty.)

Minor correction: Madison's family name is Clark.

Patti said...

I'm liking this show so far - just because they are showing a very dysfunctional family(s), doesn't mean they can't learn how to deal with things as they come up. Travis is a liability right now - I know it's all very soon, but bleeding hearts aren't going to cut it (Dale) in the long run.

I'm also enjoying Daniel - he seems to have some experience with catastrophe in his past and will become a leader along with Maddie. FWD is filling the waiting period nicely until TWD returns, but I think they are doing a good job. Really enjoyed last night's episode!

Billie Doux said...

Patti, I was thinking of Dale, too. :)

Thanks, Jess. I don't know where I got Blake from.

Jess Lynde said...

Another review I read made a hilarious comment that it was like the writers for the spin-off must have decided what the audience really wanted was a show full of Dales, Andreas, Loris, and Carls reacting to the early days. :)

Laure Mack said...

I'm really enjoying seeing how it all unravelled. Like a lot. More than I ever thought I would.

Like you've said before, Billie, of course there are people that knew what was going on before it was too late. Like the police and government. I guess I always assumed that it all fell apart too quickly for anyone to make sense out of it. And maybe that's still going to turn out to be true, but they certainly had time to set up quarantines and send armed guards out to drag people away. I'm curious now if they were just reacting and trying to contain the situation when they should have been proactively trying to get in front of it or if there was more that could have been done but didn't in the name of "not causing panic." These kinds of questions never occurred to me before.

I don't really care about the characters, though. It reminds me a little of watching a documentary about a terrible tragedy. 'Your situation sucks. I feel bad for you. But I already know that it's only going to get worse so... good luck with that.' I mean, it's probably not a good sign that I idly wonder who will die first and don't care who it turns out to be, right? Likewise, Alisha worrying about her boyfriend kind of makes me laugh inappropriately. Get back to me when you've got two dead boyfriends, a dead father, watched multiple homes (literally or metaphorically) burn to the ground and the only imbibing you've ever enjoyed was tainted with very real danger right outside that you needed to stay alert for. I might still be bitter about Beth. Poor, sober Beth.

Do you ever find yourself making really irrational mental notes? For instance, "in the case of a zombie apocalypse, adapt like Maddie. Don't be a whiny pansy like Travis." Great, now I'm starting to prepare for the dead to rise but I haven't done laundry in two weeks.

Fantastic review, Billie. Loved it.

Jenna said...

I guess my main problem is that FtWD is a good show, but with bland and uninteresting characters. The only one I can connect with is Maddie, and that might be just due to the fact that she's a kickass teacher (I'm a kickass teacher too, so I guess I can relate). I don't care about any of the others - Travis and Chris in particular just annoy me (the former is too whiny, the latter too moody-broody-teenage-y). And I kept thinking - haven't any of these people ever seen a zombie movie? Of course the zombies are dead! :)

But despite the boring characters, I quite enjoyed the rest of the episode. I thought that the titular dog was going to turn :) And I'm curious to see how the situation with the army plays out next week.

Lydia said...

I'm really liking FTWD. And I think people are just giving these characters all this hate for no reason. It's been three episodes for god's sake and everyone's already whining about how the characters are 'dumb' or 'stupid'. I think it's been clear from the start that TWD world never had any zombie movies, I mean, I can't even remember a single time where they've actually used the word 'zombie' itself in either of the shows. As for the characters, I think they're quite realistic. There's always gonna be a guy like Travis who thinks 'everything's gonna be okay, they're probably just sick'. WE know the truth, WE know the way he's thinking is just delusional, but his stupidity and obliviousness is what works. Human beings have the magnificent ability to try to make sense of the most bizarre/dismal situations, so there's always gonna be a Travis, even in real life. As for Chris, I don't like him much either, but he's realistic too. I know annoying teenage boys who think they're better than everyone else and have a frown plastered on their face 24/7.

We should give these characters a break and let them grow. If I have any complaint its that I wonder how the show's going to play out in the long run, this is about a world going to hell, so how's it going to be different from TWD? It still seems to give me a similar vibe, but manages to keep my interest despite that. Can't wait to see where this goes.

What I could live without: the pain of watching a harmless doggy being ruthlessly eaten.

Great review!

J.D. Balthazar said...

While I'll agree that I don't love any of the characters yet, several of them are already growing on me. The whole point of this series is to see how normal people would react to a zombie apocalypse. The producers have repeatedly confirmed the primary conceit that in this universe there is no Zombie fiction, so when it happens no one has a clue how to deal with it.

That is a big detail if you think about it. With our culture's over-saturation of zombie movies and television, if a real zombie apocalypse came around I doubt it would actually become a full apocalypse.

More to the point, the characters are reacting in a way that says; "Our world isn't gone". Whiny teenagers exist in that world, before survival is all that they come to know. If Travis and Chris survive the initial onslaught of walkers, perhaps they will grow in to kick-ass survivors.

Jess Lynde said...

For the record, I don't hate the characters. I'm just not connecting with them. Their plight isn't engaging for me because I already know how it will play out. Some of them are already tough, some of them will wise up and harden, some of them will cling to the old ways a little too long and wind up dead. And that's the problem for me. I've already watched "normal" people dealing with this particular apocalyptic situation, we just met up with them a little further down the road, at which point quite a lot of them were still in the "our world isn't gone" frame of mind. (Hell, 18 months in and numerous folks on TWD are still holding on to that thinking to an extent.) I don't need to see the same story, with the same philosophical and moral struggles, spinning out with different people. Especially since I don't actually like zombies and most of the zombie gore stuff. (Thanks for keeping the “Bits I could live without” tradition alive, Billie!)

But I don’t hate the show either. At this point it just doesn’t seem to be the story I was hoping to see. I wanted to see them play with more of the issues that LaureMack raised in her comment. Bigger picture stuff. The cop loading his car with water, the little radio snippets saying that 11 states have declared a "state of emergency," and the power going up and down with no explanation is like a cruel tease. If they wanted to focus on a smaller group, I guess I wish they had gone with small groups of people in positions of authority (or at least working for government agencies), so we could get a better sense of the decision-making that led to the utter collapse of society and to the bombing of major cities within the span of roughly a month. I wanted the view from the state and city government level, or possibly the military level, not the perspective of the suburban family trying to make sense of it all. Ah well. Can't win 'em all. And, as noted earlier, it’s probably for the best for my sanity in this case. :)

All that said, I do love seeing some different perspectives here!

Billie Doux said...

Thanks so much for the comments, everyone.

FtWD rebounded in the ratings this week.

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2015/09/14/fear-the-walking-dead-tops-adults-18-49-total-viewership-gains-masters-of-sex-wags-lead-percentage-increases-in-live-7-cable-ratings-for-week-ending-august-30/466111/

It doesn't feel like "more of the same" to me because the characters are experiencing the apocalypse from the beginning, and I just spent twelve years living in Los Angeles, which is a completely different setting from rural Georgia. My favorite science fiction author just published an apocalypse novel set in Los Angeles that highlighted some specific issues with the location, and it feels to me like Los Angeles is a character in this series.

http://www.douxreviews.com/2012/09/book-review-slow-apocalypse.html

They hired terrific top class actors, too. The characters played by Kim Dickens and Ruben Blades are starting to work for me, and I don't see them as Lori or Andrea or Carl or whatever. But maybe that's just me.

Laure, your comment about Beth made me lol. :)

Jess Lynde said...

Those ratings are the Live+7 ratings for Ep. 2 and reflect the seven-day DVR bump. EW ran an article yesterday that said Ep. 3 was actually down in total viewers and 18-49 viewers for Live+Same Day relative to Ep. 2, which was down relative to the premiere. (TV by the Numbers hasn't posted the Sunday Cable numbers for this week yet, but probably will later today.)

Despite the downward trend in live/same day viewing, they are still pulling more viewers than almost anything scripted on cable. Even the second airing on the night usually gets great numbers. And they'll surely get another good DVR bump. I'm guessing AMC is pretty darn happy.

Billie Doux said...

I stand corrected again. My apologies.

Jess Lynde said...

Your comment about the city being a character is interesting. L.A. isn't inherently a draw for me --- another character that doesn't engage me:) --- but I wonder if I would respond to the show differently if it was set in a place I know like Baltimore or Washington. (And actually filmed there at least partially. Because they aren't faking NOVA very well on TWD.) It certainly works for me that way with The Wire, so I totally get where you are coming from.

Docnaz said...

It may not be the best show I have ever seen, but I am still wondering what will happen next and looking forward to Sunday, so that is something.

TheCount said...

wow, never in a million years would i have recognized her as lexa! daniel is right: a gun dosen't care how you feel about it. travis better learn how to use a gun or he is going to get everyone killed. "Good people are the first ones to die."- they are really making him different from rick. he talked madison out of killing the neighbor & that turned out to be a mistake, although i'm glad that they ended up not leaving. i don't remember how long rick was in the hospital when it all went down, although it should go apocalyptic faster in a major city, or would it go slower because there are more resources? based on atlanta, it would go as fast.