As I expected, we got a violent blow-out walkers versus Army finale. And it was fine, as violent blow-out finales go. It was absorbing and watchable and I was invested enough in the characters to care how it came out.
But there was a logic problem that I just couldn't get past, because we didn't see it happen. How on earth did Daniel manage to get the walkers out of the arena and aim them at the compound? He'd have to first open the doors without being overcome by walkers, and then get the herd moving in the right direction, and wasn't Daniel with the rest of our group at the same time? It felt like we got from point A to point C with no B in the middle. Plus, what about all of the innocent non-Army people who got eaten by those thousands of arena walkers? So not right, Daniel.
But okay, it worked as a massive distraction. The Army was overcome, the hospital was never evacuated and omigod, Dr. Exner killed all those patients herself. More blood on Daniel's hands, now that I'm thinking about it. But at least our group got Nick and Liza back, with the extra added bonus of the completely amoral Mr. Strand. Who has a gorgeous house in what looked like Malibu, with an amazing ocean view and, apparently, a yacht called Abigail.
I had pretty much expected throughout the episode that we were going to lose somebody, but was revising my expectations when we got the beach house and everyone had survived. When Liza lifted her scrubs and showed the bite mark, I gasped out loud. In "The Dog", Maddie asked Liza to kill her if she was bitten because it would be too hard for Travis. I wasn't expecting Liza to turn the tables and ask Maddie to kill her, but maybe I should have.
In a way, this entire short season was about Travis getting (yes, I'm going with the same analogy) from point A to point B. Here, even though he let Andy the soldier go at the beginning of the episode, he later tried to beat Andy to death. And here, Travis was the one to kill Liza. He's finally adapted. He's no longer a "good man". Or maybe what the title of the episode meant was that Travis is finally a "good man" by the world's new standards, a man that can keep his family alive during the apocalypse. It was similar to what Rick went through in the early seasons of The Walking Dead when he wanted to see the good in everyone, when he wanted to take everyone in. Rick changed. He had to.
But you know, I again had a problem with the logic. It felt like it was too soon for our characters to accept that there was no hope for Liza. It would have been less dramatic, yes, but it would have made a lot more sense for Liza to hang around for awhile and spend time with her son before she opted for assisted suicide, like Jim in season one of TWD. Or maybe I'm just pissed because I like the actress.
How the apocalypse changes people is pretty much the raison d'etre of both the parent show and the spinoff. Maddie wanted to tell her neighbors to get out of town, but didn't because it was everyone for themselves. Liza had to be brutal and choose which of the extended family to save, and chose only Chris and Travis. Ofelia was deeply upset and disappointed when she learned that her father was a torturer instead of a victim, meaning that she considered Daniel as a victim to be "a good man". It seems likely to me that Ofelia will need to change, or she'll die.
One more thing I want to highlight. During the hallway key card scene, Nick gestured for Maddie to leave him behind to die, and he meant it. Later, Nick and Maddie talked, and Nick said that he'd always felt that the world was coming to an end, and now everyone else was catching up with him. Yes, it was a bit like an addict saying "it's all about me", but the comparison of the helplessness and world-changing-ness of addiction to the zombie apocalypse was apt.
This show got a second season before it even aired, but the ratings have been tanking since the premiere. Will a finale that finally delivered zombie action and character death help the ratings? Do you think maybe the show should have stayed at a slow burn instead of exploding into flames?
Even though these six episodes felt more like a miniseries than a season to me, I'll be watching and probably reviewing season two. I'm curious about where our group can go from here. It would be tempting to stay in a house up in the mountains with a generator and fences, although wouldn't it eventually be overrun? I'm intrigued by the idea of what could happen if they end up on Abigail the yacht, but the problem with that is that you eventually have to dock and find supplies. And why would the selfish and amoral Strand want that whole extended family to go with him? Does he have some ulterior motive?
Bits and quotes:
-- Dr. Exner remained a cipher until the end. Or maybe it's not the end of Dr. Exner. Maybe she didn't kill herself, after all.
-- I liked the visual of the bouncing chain link fence framing Strand.
-- Chris and Alicia were freaking lucky that all they lost was the SUV. I thought the soldiers were going to take Alicia along as a sex toy.
-- As they were dashing through the hospital, Maddie stopped long enough to take pills that I assume were for Nick. She's always thinking. It's a rare talent.
-- Things I could do without: The bitten soldier walking into the copter blade. And another soldier begging Strand for death and not getting it. Keep the watch? Seriously?
-- The piles of human cremains were upsetting, too. You could see Daniel and Ofelia looking at the ashes and thinking of Griselda somewhere in that pile. Well done.
-- There was a closeup of Travis' hands after he killed Liza. Where were the marks on his knuckles from beating Andy? Oops.
-- Sadly, Fear the Walking Dead is giving us webisodes about "Flight 462" which I assume will turn out to be a zombie non-stop. The webisodes are available at the AMC.com site. I don't plan to watch them. Heroes scarred me forever when it comes to webisodes.
-- We only got one Talking Dead that covered all six Fear episodes. I'm a big fan of The Walking Dead, but the darkness of it gets to me. Talking Dead hosted by the clever Chris Hardwick is the perfect way to decompress after a heavy episode, like comedic psychotherapy. This TD episode's most tantalizing bit was executive producer Dave Erickson wondering why fans hadn't noticed that Madison has a southern accent. Does that suggest that Madison is related to someone or knows someone on the parent show?
Daniel: "You see what doing the right thing gets you?"
Nick: "Are you insane? Strand?"
Strand: "The only way to survive is to embrace the madness."
Nick: "Is that a yes?"
LOL. In the pilot episode, Nick said he himself was insane. Nice little bookend there.
This finale was definitely more of what I had expected of a Walking Dead spinoff. What did you guys think? Will you give season two a try?
Billie Doux loves science fiction but hates horror, and is confused about why she loves The Walking Dead so much.
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