Heading back to Fear the Walking Dead I revisited season one. Watching it as it aired live, I found some entertainment value. A return, to prime the memory for season two however, left me feeling seriously underwhelmed. The show feels unnecessary. There’s a lack of interesting characters, and a repeat of the conflict we already know feels a little… redundant. Can AMC turn the tables in season two and ignite some real interest and connectivity? We’ll see.
Episode one, Monster, begins exactly as we knew it would, with Travis and Madison attempting to get their crew to Strand’s yacht. Fire burns around them, the undead are seen in the far off background. Chris mourns his deceased mother, going so far as to demand that they bring the body with them, in order to give her the finest burial possible.
It only takes moments before Travis and company are deep in combat with the walkers. Nick’s headed back from Strand’s yacht with a raft to haul them out to see, but they’ve got to fight with everything they’ve got before they can even make the move for the water.
Once on the boat it becomes an exercise in discipline and survival. Madison is still naïve enough to think she can save every survivor out there, evidenced by her bid to welcome a boat full of strangers on board. She clearly doesn’t grasp the magnitude of what is really happening in the world. She still thinks she he can be the grand savior, and when she doesn’t get her way she acts like a petulant child. She’s very, very rapidly becoming the least likable character in the show. And there are already a few rather unlikable characters in this particular experiment. In fact, who is likeable? The paradoxical Nick is intriguing, I’ll give him that, and Travis has a good heart, but the rest of the lot feel rather expendable. It’s a bit disconcerting. And the show is failing at rivaling the brilliance of The Walking Dead. We’re talking failing with all capital letters.
Alicia’s got a stranger on the dial. She’s making a friend… I guess. Chris is bonding with Daniel. Madison broods. Mundane stuff here, despite the sudden and terrifying shift in lifestyle.
Alicia’s little radio buddy’s trying to convince her to let the stranger and his party meet and board the yacht. Seems unlikely, as Strand doesn’t want any extra individuals on the boat. Food and drink are limited and his ultimate goal is San Diego, but for what reason we don’t know.
The time finally comes to send Chris’ mother into the sea, because, as we mentioned that’s the closest thing to an honorable departure now. So Travis breaks into an affectionate speech, before Chris walks up and just chucks her into the ocean without a word. Seems a little contradictory, eh?
I’m not surprised by this show.
Alicia is campaigning to save “Jack” – her radio buddy. Strand hears and he blows up, concerned that she may have given away their position.
So, the vast majority of the episode has been a dysfunctional family on a boat trying – and failing – to get along. It may mean something to us, the viewers, if we gave a damn about these characters, but we haven’t been given that opportunity yet. We have no reason to care for these individuals, sans – ironically – Nick, the former junkie and least likely heroic type… who just so happens to be the only fearless hero of the bunch. They’re just faces that could have gone unseen. It wouldn’t have affected us.
With just a few minutes left in the episode Chris decides to jump into the ocean. Nick, the emerging natural hero immediately dives after him. While in the water Nick discovers that walkers aren’t just limited to walking, they’ve got a knack for swimming, which means that even here, out in the ocean, our survivors aren’t safe from the undead. We also get a hint that Jack, Alicia’s radio buddy may be up to no good, as it seems he’s hinting at knowing their location.
While all this chaos unfolds, cowardly Chris swims back to safety, while Nick heads for what he perceives as sounds – call for help possibly, from a nearby wreck. Nick just about gets himself killed, but he’s fortunate enough to make it back. The entire group may not be so fortunate soon however, as there’s a large boat heading their way, fast. And it could be the very same fellow chatting it up with Alicia, the ever trusting lass of the group.
In all honesty, Fear the Walking Dead is beginning to feel like a rip-off of Brian Keene’s impressive novel Dead Sea. Only, this show is less impressive, and knowing that 15 more episodes wait until season two wraps feels… depressing.