Hi all, it’s Milo here, just letting you know that I’ll be covering more episodes of Fear The Walking Dead from now on. I’ll try to keep them as spoiler free as possible, but there may be one or two minor ones, so as always, read at your own risk.
It’s safe to say that the first episode of Fear The Walking Dead was probably not going to live up to everyone’s anticipation and what we got was a relatively slow burn start that looks to answer the question behind how the world fell to pieces whilst Rick Grimes was in a coma. I wasn’t overly blown away by the first episode, but it did enough to keep me engaged and I most likely won’t be tuning out of this show for a while because there’s enough potential here and it’s interesting to watch the slow, knock on effect that society has when it all comes tumbling down. Yes, it may be moving as slow as the zombies are, but it works because of that, taking time to flesh out the world, the characters and the scenario. As should already be apparent by now, you shouldn’t go in expecting badass zombie killers from day one. These people don’t even know yet that the only way to kill a walker is to chop off its head.
So Close, Yet So Far was a title appropriate in ways beyond just the content of the episode. We’re so close to a massive zombie apocalypse, yet at the same time, we’re not quite there yet. The show opened with the Travis family trying to get out of Los Angeles, and at the episode’s end, they’re still not out and are likely to stay there for a while. One thing that I didn’t like with The Walking Dead’s second season was its tendency to adopt a very slow pace, which is something that Fear The Walking Dead seems to be also approaching. And that seems to be the problem here; because we’re five seasons into the main show, we’re so eager to get to what’s going to happen that we sort of don’t really care that much about the days before the collapse of society. We know that getting out of Los Angeles isn’t going to necessarily mean a safe haven for the characters anyway, even if they don’t know that, and it’s kind of frustrating.
Something that’s also kind of frustrating is the dialogue, which doesn’t really work as well as it should. There’s not enough information being conveyed which is key in any scenario like this, but when there are too many promises of information being delivered later to other characters, it never has the desired effect. Yes, a good thing is that Fear The Walking Dead is beginning to get to the collapse of Los Angeles, but at the same time, the show isn’t exactly subtle either. While the actors like Cliff Curtis and Kim Dickens are good, the relationship drama is less so, meaning that as a result we’re not really invested in the characters. Time will tell, but by the end of the pilot of The Walking Dead, I was invested in Rick’s survival and wanted to support his character. Here? I’m not so sure yet, but so far things are promising and it’s good to see more of Alicia Debnam-Carey following her role as Lexa on The CW’s brilliant The 100.
The location of the city is being used to great effect and whilst I would have much rather seen a zombie apocalypse happen somewhere else outside of America for a change, the show makes great use of Los Angeles as a backdrop and the environment is created well. Several locations already being used strongly such as the school, which was half-empty following the spread of the flu virus, and allowed for some chilling scenes. Hopefully, there’ll be more interesting stuff to come in the city in the future, especially with the family still separated and racing to get back to one another as Los Angeles collapses around them.
The splitting up of the family members, though frustrating, does help increase the tension as we’re thrust into several interesting situations. As well as stuff at the school, there’s also the group caught up in the riots and allows for a nice change of pace. However, what doesn’t work so well is that apparently, there’s been no such thing as a zombie in fiction before in this universe. Which means this is a world where we never got Sean of the Dead, World War Z and other similar comics and movies. So it makes things a little bit difficult for the characters to understand what’s happening, even if for the audience the answer is simple.
But if you can put that aside, and appreciate the slow burn approach, then Fear The Walking Dead’s second episode continues to be an interesting one. Hopefully things can only get more intense from here. All the potential is there, of course. Let’s hope that the show can deliver.