Fear the Walking Dead: People Like Us

"I've retired from scraping by just to survive."

I have to give it up for Fear the Walking Dead: that was perhaps the funniest cold open I've seen on either this show or its mother. Zombies lifting up into the wind and away like loose-hung laundry. It was pretty damn high-larious.

Those who keep up with these reviews might have noticed that my tone with this show has veered ever-so-slightly toward the negative, largely due to inane decisions by a certain show-runner who shall go nameless, but whose initials are Scott Gimple. Having lost Madison Clark and Kim Dickens in the first half of a season, a season which teased the idea of being good before taking a swerve right into horrible schlock, I went into this episode without much optimism. However, this episode wasn't altogether bad. Actually, it wasn't anything.


It reminded me a little of The Walking Dead episodes that followed Carl's death (imagine that) with the characters themselves seeming to lament the decisions of their own show-runners. Strand has become a drunk, Luciana is sitting around being boring, and Alicia is desperately trying to avoid facing up to the daily grief by throwing herself into a doomed mission (a mini-arc that would have been more effective had Morgan not outright stated what was happening for the benefit of the audience). Meanwhile, John and June are looking after creepy little Charlie, and for some reason they haven't killed her or even allowed her to die. Since she murdered Nick, I can only see her gaining sympathy or popularity with viewers through the skills of an excellent writer, so it won't be happening on this show. And since she's a child, and child actors age so visibly, she will have to be killed at some point. So why is she still here?

In many ways, I'm waiting for Fear the Walking Dead to get bad. They're planting seeds that could make the show good or interesting, but experience tells us that they will poison the crop. Morgan works as a wise, benevolent man guiding others, and I liked him in this episode. Yet, I'm expecting him to turn back into a psychotic killer, because that's just what happens. I'm expecting some hammy villains to turn up and make our heroes act like quote-unquote monsters, because that's what happens. I'm expecting shock deaths because that's what happens. Repetition of themes and arcs has become such an intrinsic part of both shows that I just can't rely on the writers to ever do something different. Any indication that something different might happen is just a tease.


There were a few things to like about this episode. The cast is still wonderful, and I do continue to love Alicia. Alycia Debnam Carey is real lead material, but that doesn't seem to be where the show is going. She outright told Morgan he was going to be the lead, which I'm not wild about since he's often a very introverted character, a loner. Alicia makes more sense to take up the Madison mantle, the Mantleson. Can you tell how much I miss Madison and Kim Dickens? I'm still bummed we never got a Dickens-Dillahunt reunion.

Otherwise, not a bunch happened. Morgan is thinking of going back to Alexandria, and I really have no idea what to think of that. My assumption is that he simply won't, his mind will change by the end of the season because he'll be needed elsewhere or some nonsense. Or maybe the two shows will dovetail into one, which renders the entire spin-off kinda pointless, doesn't it? Of course, I'll forgive it all if they make Alicia the new lead of The Walking Dead.

Bits & Bobs

- I wanted Luciana to just straight-up shoot Charlie and end this tedious plot before it can begin.

- For real, Alycia Debnam Carey is great.

- Those logs taking out a bunch of zombie-boys at once was pretty damn great.

- Naomi/Laura/June said a bunch of stuff about John not knowing the real her, which makes little if any sense so I tuned it out and thought about Better Call Saul. Which everyone should be watching.

- Chris Hardwick is back on as the hype man. It's a cruel world where James Gunn gets fired for basically nothing and Chris Hardwick gets to return. I didn't watch the after show because life's too short, but sources say he cried.

Quotes

Strand: These grapes were not meant for wrath.

Strand: [dragging a body behind him] You caught me doing a little light housekeeping.

Two out of four Hardwick tears.

6 comments:

Patryk said...

So this half of the season will be zombienado the sci-fi movie of the week. ;)

Billie Doux said...

Jonny wrote: Of course, I'll forgive it all if they make Alicia the new lead of The Walking Dead.

Me, too. She's actually up to second billing now. I was shocked and then not shocked to see that Lennie James is first billed -- he's now the star of this show. Of course he is. And I like Lennie James and I get that. I was just kind of facepalming that I didn't realize that that was what the showrunners had in mind all along.

I will give them this. I laughed out loud not once or twice, but four times during this episode because of the really smart sight gags, like Strand killing a walker behind Luciana as she was oblivious, immersed in the music. And the logs. And the walkers blowing away.

I don't think we're going to Virginia any time soon. Although I have to say, I've lived in both Texas and Virginia, and I prefer Virginia.

Thank you for your review, Jonny. I'm grateful that you're reviewing this show. Even if you would obviously rather review Better Call Saul. (Would you rather do Better Call Saul?)

Billie Doux said...

Oops, one more thing. I watched the first ten minutes of Talking Dead and Chris Hardwick did cry, and he thanked everyone for the support. I hadn't realized that he's been doing Talking Dead for *SEVEN YEARS.* No wonder he was upset. He also said that with all of the changes in both shows that are coming that he would have hated missing this summer and fall in particular.

Patryk said...

So Morgan trying to drive to Virginia is just Gimple pulling our chain? But on the other hand when Daryl fails as a leading man on the parent show they will probably scramble to write Morgan back into Alexandria.

Billie Doux said...

Patryk, I have no idea. It could be fascinating to put the two casts together in the same place, but how could they possibly do that?

Patryk said...

I guessed before that they hand-picked some of them (say Alicia) and Morgan would bring them over to Alexandria and Fear would be cancelled. That was when they killed Nick and Madison was missing, but now with Morgan actually planning it, I now think it's a red herring to mess with the viewers. :)

On the other hand Alicia would make a good replacement for Maggie though. Plus Luciana seems superflous without Nick and having two black leads at the same time is not like the Walking Dead at all so Strand will probably die too...