Mike finishes out the first season of FTWD.
|"Dear god! Trump is leading in the polls!"|
It would be a safe bet to guess that anyone who has been watching Fear The Walking Dead this season has been looking for just about anything to compare it to the show that spawned it. The comparison may be lazy, but it is inevitable. As the series has gone on there are more and more spiritual if not direct callbacks, mainly in the form of a scene here or there that is reminiscent of The Walking Dead. But while the audience was looking for the next Rick or Daryl, the show was slowly starting to look less like TWD and, somewhat surprisingly, more like Lost.
This episode gave us plenty of action that had been sorely missing from the series thus far. But it also expanded on themes that had begun to be explored last week. The family drama at the season's beginning has given way to stories of military conspiracy and mysterious characters with questionable motives. Quite simply, the show got better, and more interesting, and it did so quickly. The introduction of the enigmatic Strand character alone in the last episode has been a much-needed shot in the arm. The less we know about Strand, the more interesting he becomes, and without spoiling any specific events the audience should get to see just how important he is next season—and perhaps, why he does what he does.
In addition to the customary cliffhangers and soft reveals of the following season's locale (or at any rate, where it will start), TWD is famous for jarring post-apocalyptic imagery and gut-wrenching moments in its finales. This episode is a showcase for the former, including one scene in particular that’s a sly nod to a famous scene in TWD's pilot. As for the latter, this episode delivers in a big way. A common complaint many have had about FTWD (including this writer) was the lack of interesting, sympathetic characters. It's funny sometimes how much you realize you care about a character when they're put in jeopardy, or forced to make an incredibly difficult choice regarding the fate of another. The closing scene of this episode is a moving emotional gut punch that hopefully sets the tone for next year's second season.
|"You stole my lunch, you son of a bitch!"|
Fear The Walking Dead has been far from perfect. It did do a lot of things well, but never consistently enough. Over the last couple of episodes things have really been coming together. The season finale finally delivered on much of the promise of carrying the name of The Walking Dead, and came pretty close to reaching the admittedly high bar set by that series' best episodes. At the same time, it maintains an air of mystery, and leaves the audience intrigued about what revelations may be yet to come. It has evolved into an entirely different journey than The Walking Dead, and it has the potential to be an even more compelling one. Hopefully in season two we get more of the mystery and emotion that the series had been lacking early on, leading it to break out of the mold of its predecessors and find its own truly unique voice.
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