Fear the Walking Dead: The Wrong Side of Where You Are Now

"The people who stay die. And everything they were fighting for dies with them."

There were about fifteen minutes left of this episode, when I was suddenly taken by a vision. It was almost Biblical, this crystal-clear, perfect picture of the future: I watched an episode of Fear the Walking Dead, Season 5. And as I am a benevolent messenger from God, I will share my vision with you. Hear me and rejoice, fear not, for even in death, you have become children of Thanos.

Madison is dead. So is Alicia. John Dorie has become a ruthless killer. We open on Morgan Jones, walking with his stick; he bumps into a character who takes him at gunpoint, demanding his supplies and such. Pained, Morgan gives over his supplies while telling the gunman he doesn’t need to live this way. Peace and love, charity and faith, hope and kindness, Dharma and Greg, etc etc. The gunman says no. John Dorie turns up and disarms the gunman, but Morgan stops him from killing the gunman. We spend the next hour with these three characters. Many scenes are dedicated to Morgan staring off into the distance, thinking about his life. The gunman may reveal hidden depths, but he will try to kill them both before the episode is over. He gets the jump on Dorie, almost takes him down, but shock! Morgan sticks him with his stick. He bursts into tears. The peace has been disrupted. Y'know, again.

That was my vision. That is the future of Fear the Walking Dead, a once-good show. Maybe this episode wasn’t a jump-the-shark episode, but it sure as hell dipped its toes into that sharky, sharky pool. Stop dipping those toes, Fear the Walking Dead. You’ve already lost like four this season.


So the Vultures, save for annoying Charlie, are all dead after a terribly-directed firefight. Thank Christ for that, at least. From the beginning to the end, they were boring, uncharismatic, unrealistic villains who did very little and whose motivations were shrouded not in mystery, but idiocy. Mel himself turned out to be a miserable coward, and the Vultures with their thirty guys couldn’t take down three people.

Their big plan to take the stadium made for a slightly cool set-piece with hundreds of zombies pouring out, but what was the point if they’re scavengers? Why burn down the house you plan to rob? I suppose Mel was against the idea since he and Ennis supposedly had a fight, but why collect those zombies in the first place if they weren’t going to use them for that exact purpose? Hell, the whole waiting-and-then-scavenging thing was nonsense from the start. If the survivors die off, then that means their supplies were exhausted and there’s not much worth scavenging.

I had liked the compassionate direction many of the characters had veered toward at the start of this season, but this episode painted that compassion as stupidity. I missed the old Madison, who didn’t hesitate to smash Troy Otto right in his handsome face. She would have carved up the likes of Mel before he got halfway through a monologue. Perhaps, in the world of Fear and The Walking Dead, decency cannot thrive without idiocy, and even then it doesn’t thrive for long. Maybe Morgan’s idiotic philosophy is somehow catching, but he seems less passive than ever. He seems like he’s actively one of the villains. He preaches mercy for monsters like Mel and Ennis, but has no sympathy for the likes of Alicia, who’s been so horribly wronged by them.

I suppose what makes Morgan so inescapably aggravating is that he’s essentially arguing for the show to become boring. It’s fine, and even valuable, to have a character who desires a peaceful resolution, but Morgan? Nothing stops in this world. Nothing even stops in the real world. He’s asking for a world without conflict, which isn’t exactly doable in a world where resources are so finite. Hail Thanos or something.

And then there was the flip-flopping. Character consistency is a thing, or it should be. I had no idea where anyone landed because they changed their opinions rapidly. They were like genies trapped in a laundromat: wishy-washy. Leave Mel, take him with us, help him heal, let him go, kill him, let him go, go after him again, make up your goddamn minds because he just told you (vaguely) that Ennis was coming to kill you all. Do something other than agonize, especially when we already know the outcome.


So, where was the good? Hard to tell. I liked Althea just filming, which gave us some insight into how she uses her camera as a protective weapon. The acting was good, of course. Special props to Alycia Debnam-Carey for killing it week after week and turning Alicia into such a fierce presence. She might be a slender, attractive young woman but she still comes across as scary. Also, I’m no longer convinced Madison is dead. My theory is that Morgan, Al, Dorie and the snake Naomi will find her holed up among the dead living on supplies and corpses. Maybe if badass, ruthless Madison returns with a vengeance, I’ll regain my interest in this show.

Unfortunately, I can’t shake my vision. It feels like the new showrunners want to clear the deck. Their egos won’t allow them to continue someone else’s characters, so they’ve decided to kill them or turn them into villains so they can be killed remorselessly. If Madison is dead, then Alicia cannot die. And if she does, if the Clark family is rendered extinct? Then I’m done with this show.

Bits & Bobs

- For whatever reason, Luciana didn’t shoot Charlie in the face. I’m holding out hope for next time. Enough of this stupid kid characters who get halfway-deified solely because they’re kids.

- I’m done with Naomi. So done with Naomi. And her hair makes her look like one of the vampire henchmen from The Lost Boys.

- Kevin Zegers kind of looked like a young Shea Whigham, minus the talent.

- The idea that Nick should feel even a little bad for killing Ennis now seems especially laughable, and Ennis seems especially stupid for assuming Nick wouldn't kill him.

- Hey, where’s Daniel? Just wondering.

- If there’s one thing I can’t fault the show on, it’s the make-up effects. The zombie-boys looked especially ghoulish this week, and Mel’s burned-up face looked appropriately rough.

Quotes

Nick: You remember when I said that I was afraid of who I was out there? I think I was really afraid of being away from you.
Don’t hit on your mother, Nick. I know it’s the apocalypse, but there have to be some rules.

Al: Yeah, you definitely don't know who I am. Because I am a chick with layers.
Like onions, Al? Like...ogres?

One out of four video cameras.

3 comments:

Patryk said...

Come to think of it, I agree about the episode, but I watched it half-alive so most of the stupidity didn't register with me when I watched it.

The Morgan show will be very boring if he does not start killing assholes again. What was so wrong with that? :)

Billie Doux said...

This season was really pulling me in at the beginning, but while watching this episode, I found myself losing track of what was flashback and what was present day. That's not good.

I hope your vision isn't realized, Jonny. After losing Nick, I absolutely draw the line at going on without Alicia. Even if we manage to keep Strand. And I'm also hoping you're right, that somehow Madison is still holed up somewhere in the stadium.

Janine said...

I believe that Alicia will live and become the villain .

Madison is either injured and holed up or dead or among the undead.

Naomi/Laura probably joined the Vultures after the stadium take over for survival. Her current situation is misunderstood.

Morgan should die in the future saving someone he cares about like John Dorie.
I have not been a fan of Morgan since he returned to TWD in Alexandria.

At least in the shoot out the Vultures were taken out, well except Charlie. So many times in TWD mass amounts of bullets have been used on another group , like the Saviors , and no one was killed.

I didnt think the episode was horrible. The character Al started out interesting, not so much lately, hopefully that will change.

Troy was hottie, a crazy hottie. I wish he hadnt been killed off, he was at least interesting.