The intentionally-short first season of Fear the Walking Dead draws to a close with this episode, leaving viewers firmly split on whether this series is a worthy successor/companion to The Walking Dead – or even if it’s a series they want to continue watching at all.
WARNING: What you’re about to read contains spoilers about this episode and possibly this season of Fear the Walking Dead. Proceed at your own risk/reward!
RECAP: For fans of The Walking Dead or any zombie/monster/high-stakes type of tales, this “it’s a final episode, so something big has to happen” season finale goes pretty much exactly as planned: survivors take action, zombie hordes attack, main character dies. As we saw at the end of last week’s episode, Daniel is thinking about letting the zombie horde out of the locked arena… and he does, while leading them all right to the medical center/military facility. This, of course, occupies the military’s attention, so the rest of the group of main characters are able to sneak into the compound the back way. For some reason, Kim, Travis, Daniel, and Ofelia leave the two teenagers (Chris and Alicia) to guard their escape vehicles and escape route – further solidifying last week’s observation that these two are definitely the “throwaway” characters.
During the confusion of the horde attack, Strand and Nick are able to escape their holding cell. Elsewhere in the compound, Dr. Exner calls for an airlift removal for her and the medical team, but when it becomes apparent that won’t be happening anytime soon, she tells Liza to get the Hell out of Dodge. Eventually the gang all gets back together again and high-tails it on out of there – minus one of the cars, which Chris and Alicia were forced to give to some escaping soldiers. Oh, and Ofelia gets shot by her ex-boyfriend National Guardsman that Daniel had been torturing, because Travis showed mercy on him and let him go earlier. The show didn’t bother to tell viewers how badly Ofelia had been wounded or if she had even survived until several minutes and a commercial break later, so I’m treating it here as about a big a deal as they did. Wound in the arm and “she’ll be fine” from Liza, for the record.
So, the group decides on a whim to abandon their plan of heading to the desert, instead making their way to Strand’s lovely beachside mansion, where they appear to all agree instead to head out to his lovely yacht that’s parked just off-shore. And that’s about it, really – oh wait, almost forgot about the “shocker! A main character dies” part. It’s Liza, who was bitten/scratched/whatever in the fracas of escaping the compound. Either Travis or Madison shoots her in the head – kept deliberately vague on purpose, obviously – Travis gets angsty about in the sand, and the helicopter camera flies away…
>>> It’s odd how a six-episode season can feel so rushed and yet so sluggish at the same time. We the viewers get absolutely plowed through the fall of civilization, which really sucks because that seemed like one of the most intriguing parts of the show that we would get to see. On the flip side, things sloooow dooooown so much for moments of character development that it almost seems like the audience is actually being given more time to decide how much they like the characters or not. When you give people the opportunity to take their time in deciding whether or not to dislike a character, you have to be prepared for the backlash that comes along when the verdict comes in and the results are negative.
>>> Why on God’s Green Earth would Andy choose to shoot Ofelia instead of Daniel? Yes, she betrayed him and allowed her father to go all Guantanamo Bay on him, but he had Daniel dead in his sights – the man that wasactually torturing him, and all he had to do was pull the trigger! For a military man, this seems like a dumb and out-of-character choice, and was likely done to cause more drama in the context of the story, which harkens back to the Observation I made in previous weeks about the plot driving the characters instead of the other way around.
>>> For as much as it seems like a dumb choice, I’m actually looking forward to a high-seas version of the zombie apocalypse, if that’s the route the story does indeed go next season. Think about it: the group popping into unknown ports for supplies, dangerous other seafarers – okay, I’ll come out and say it, pirates! – all could make for a relatively untold spin on the zombie apocalypse. We’ll see.
CLOSING THOUGHTS: While not the home-run that AMC was hoping for, Fear has done enough on its own and has enjoyed enough of a connection to one of the best shows on television to warrant its story being able to continue. Since it’s already been renewed for a second season, I’ll see you back here in a few months for more analysis and observations about the show. Until then, check out the Season 2 teaser below, enjoy The Walking Dead – which premieres its new season next week – and pop over to AMC’s website for a 16-part webisode-series, Flight 462, to help keep you connected to the world of Fear the Walking Dead.
PRINCIPAL CAST FEATURED IN THIS EPISODE:
Cliff Curtis as Travis Manawa
Kim Dickens as Madison Clark
Frank Dillane as Nick Clark
Alycia Debnam-Carey as Alicia Clark
Lorenzo James Henrie as Chris Manawa
Elizabeth Rodriquez as Lisa Ortiz
Mercedes Mason as Ofelia Salazar
Ruben Blades as Daniel Salazar
Colman Domingo as Strand