Reviews: Fear The Walking Dead - Season One Episode Four - Not Fade Away

Mike continues FTWD with exceedingly low expectations. Fear zombies? No. Fear his review.

"Come with us. We're taking you
to a better show."
With this episode, we are now officially 2/3 of the way through season one of Fear The Walking Dead, and we're still waiting.  Waiting for interesting, likable characters to emerge.  Waiting to see interesting and familiar links to the original series.  Waiting for something, anything, exciting to happen.  But much like the rest of the series so far, this episode offers only glimpses at the intense and harrowing show everyone hoped FTWD would be, and a whole lot of nothing in between.

Our characters are now prisoners in their own homes thanks to the institution of martial law.  The now omnipresent military attempts to keep the quarantined in line while never responding to a single one of their questions or concerns.  Meanwhile, an unusual discovery leads a character outside the fenced-in neighborhood to investigate, only to discover a terrible truth about those in charge.  The episode does end with the fate of a couple of major characters in the balance, but since the show has thus far stumbled in giving the viewer a reason to truly care about the characters, any potential tension is washed out.

Disturbing images and flashes of drama do not a compelling TV show make.  While the original Walking Dead is fueled by the genuine tension of a dangerous post-apocalyptic world, the stakes in the FTWD universe are surprisingly low.  Without charismatic lead characters like Rick or Daryl or Michonne, we're basically just waiting for these people to inevitably die.  This is a flimsy foundation to build a show on, especially one that appears more dependent on its pedigree to carry it through as the series goes on.

The Walking Dead's finale episodes are usually pretty impressive, providing a payoff for dedicated viewers who stuck with the show even during the slower-moving episodes.  With only two episodes left, it's a bit unclear what Fear The Walking Dead is building toward.  While nothing is technically owed to the audience, it would be nice to see the season end on some truly tense moments, not just the garden variety cliffhanger, and maybe even a bit of action.  The lack of such events so far over a short 6-episode season doesn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence.  If the original show can effectively show the audience that it still has tricks up its sleeves, then maybe its spinoff can do the same.  But it's been a long, slow road to get there.  In two weeks, we'll know for sure of the destination of Fear The Walking Dead was worth the journey.


-Mike Stec

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