The series premiere of Fear the Walking Dead was all about the slow build. It lived on the creepy anticipation of the coming apocalypse. The second episode, “So Close, Yet So Far,” says “to hell with all that” as society begins to fall apart in no time flat. Fear the Walking Dead goes from zero to 60(-thousand) real quick. In the premiere, no one seemed aware of the mortal virus that was gripping the city. If they did find out, though, they were relatively unconcerned.
It turns out that in the world of Fear the Walking Dead, Los Angeles must be a hotbed of doomsday preppers. With the slightest hints of the coming doom, people begin to lose their minds real quick with looting and fleeing galore. The end result is that the second ever Fear the Walking Dead is a more exciting but also more illogical installment than the first.
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Whatever Happened to Matt? Ignoring her mother’s orders from the pilot — she is a teenager in a horror setting after all — Alicia doesn’t go home. Instead, she goes to her missing boyfriend Matt’s house to find the door ajar. Inside, things are even worse. Alicia finds Matt sick and breathing heavily on the floor. She calls Madison and, with Nick in tow, Madison and Travis meet Alicia at Matt’s house.
Madison wants to leave the house immediately. She wants to take Alicia home so they can all leave Los Angeles. Madison wants to go to the desert, until they figure out what is going on, and be somewhere safe. Alicia doesn’t want to leave Matt, but Matt tells her to go on without him. While Alicia is out of the room, Travis finds a zombie bite on Matt. So that’s two black characters dead in two episodes on Fear the Walking Dead. Some things (sadly) never change.
Splitting Up the Family
Travis can’t get a hold of his bratty teenage son, Chris, because he is being a bratty teenage son and ignoring his father’s calls. Travis leaves Madison to find Chris and his ex-wife, Liza, so both families can be involved in this mini-exodus. Travis tells Madison that if he’s not back in time, she should leave without him. Madison promises to stay. I’ve watched enough horror movies to know that either way, this promise is going to end terribly.
After Travis leaves, Nick immediately goes into severe drug withdrawal because it’s dramatically convenient, not logical. Madison can’t reach the doctor for medicine to help Nick through it. She decides instead to break into the nurse’s office of the closed high school. While she’s there, she runs into Tobias. He’s the creepy doomsayer student from the premiere who wants his confiscated knife back from the school.
Travis finally arrives at Liza’s house, but Chris is not there. Chris is in the city participating in a very heavy-handed protest. The LAPD have shot an unarmed homeless man (read: zombie) and it has caused an uproar. Chris won’t leave because he’s part of something important there. In actuality, he just vacantly wandered onto this street with a camera in his hand. This kid just gets more insufferable by the second.
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Zombies: 0, Madison: 2?
Madison and Tobias search around the school. Tobias raids the cafeteria for food and gives Madison a dump of exposition crap. He tells her what will happen when society collapses and what they all need to do to be prepared and to live. Effectively, he recaps the last five season of The Walking Dead. This speech apparently goes in one ear and out the other for Madison.
Even though she has been preaching about escaping the city — a very smart decision — Madison does something unspeakably stupid. Tobias and Madison hear a walker on the school’s sound system and try to run out of the school. Or they do, until Madison discovers what must be the zombie in question, the principal. Madison stops and tries to reason with the undead administrator. Madison tells him that they’ll get him help and he’ll be okay. Of course, the principal attacks her, and Tobias comes to the rescue. Tobias is, unfortunately, quickly overwhelmed. Madison grabs a fire hydrant off the wall and beats in the principal’s skull. This act of awesome just barely makes up for her previously overwhelming stupidity, barely.
Safety and Separation
Liza and Travis find Chris at the police protest and manage to “convince” him to come with them by dragging him away. While they are pulling on their son, another zombie stumbles through the police barricade. The walker is shot by one of the officers and all kinds of hell break loose. There is a crazy amount of looting, screaming and running because no looting, screaming or running was shown before now. Travis, Liza and Chris find a barber who is closing up shop because of the looting. Travis begs to be let inside. Inside the building, the barber’s wife spots the three and tells her husband to let them enter. The former family unit is now in this barber shop/house with a current family unit, the barber, his wife and their daughter, Ofelia.
Madison arrives back home and quickly goes into the bathroom. She tries to wipe the blood off of her jacket and breaks down in tears. Travis calls Madison and tells her that he’s safe and with Liza and Chris. He wants Madison to take Nick and Alicia to the desert now. She refuses to leave him behind, but Travis says he’ll catch up. Of course, in the middle of their conversation, the phone cuts out. It would be incredibly cheesy and cliche if Kim Dickens and Cliff Curtis didn’t act the hell out of the scene.
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays 9pm on AMC.
(Image courtesy of AMC)