The third episode of Fear the Walking Dead, “The Dog,” is more of the same. This simply means that the things the series does well, it continues to do well, specifically the special kind of horror the show always contains because of its prequel nature. There are extra layers of tension as the characters watch their world begin to crumble. We know this terror is just the beginning of something much worse.
Still, Fear the Walking Dead continues to stumble where it has always stumbled: characters make idiotic and life-gambling decisions. The teenagers swing from “angsty” and unbearable to slightly less “angsty” and slightly more bearable. People are frustratingly naive about the end of the world, seeing zombies as a temporary sickness.
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Escape from LA The rioting outside Salazar’s shop is reaching a fever pitch. It gets so bad that the next-door neighbor’s house is broken into and the intruders set a fire. With no other choice, the Salazars and Manawas flee outside and onto the street. They fight their way to Travis’ truck, dodging the horde of looters and new zombies. In the escape, Mama Salazar, Griselda, is caught under a falling scaffolding and her foot is severely injured. Everyone grabs her and they get to the truck, barely getting out of the city.
Travis tries to drive them all to a hospital to get Griselda some help. When they arrive, they are barred from entering. The building is under siege from SWAT members as zombies are shuffling out of the front door. Daniel tells Travis to take them to his home instead. This ends the escape sequence, aka the most exciting, harrowing and haunting thing to ever happen on Fear the Walking Dead. Admittedly, though, the bar wasn’t incredibly high.
Monopoly and Murder
At the home in question, Madison is trying to get Alicia and Nick’s mind off the end of the world by playing Monopoly. It’s a cute scene, but I can think of no board game more likely to spark tension, debate and violence than Monopoly. The Clarks seem to enjoy it, though, even as they worry about Travis.
In fact, everything is going great until the power goes out. The family begins to hear creepy sounds outside their home. They all get very nervous, but Nick is especially paranoid. Nick tells his mother that they have to tell Alicia what is really going on, specifically that the dead are rising. Madison refuses because it’s not The Walking Dead franchise if people aren’t keeping needless secrets. The sound is discovered to not be a zombie, though. Rather, it’s a dog barking and scratching at the door.
Nick lets the animal in and then he spots a zombie outside. Instead of staying in their secure home, they all leave. They go to the neighbor’s to “borrow” a shotgun for defense because it’s not The Walking Dead franchise if people aren’t stupidly endangering themselves. That’s not dumb enough for the three Clarks. The family not only leaves their safe refuge, but they leave the door to the home hanging wide open.
They watch from next door as the zombie enters their house. The walker kills and eats the dog inside. Needless to say, the Clarks are dead to me. Endanger yourself and any other humans as much as you want, but when you let a dog die we got a problem. The dog’s death makes Madison decide that now is the time to stay put in a home. Of course, Travis pulls into the driveway seconds after she says to stay put. Madison, Nick and Alicia rush out of the house carrying their new shotgun to save him.
Travis walks into the house and sees the zombie almost immediately. Instead of running, he tries to reason with the undead thing eating a dog on his family room floor. The zombie attacks Travis, and not even Madison showing up with a shotgun can stop it. Daniel, however, strides in, grabs the shotgun and shoots the zombie twice in the head. Daniel just became my favorite character of all time.
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A Departure and an Arrival
Now that things are relatively safe, Travis convinces his family that they have to wait until morning to leave. Daniel tells everyone his family will being leaving separately. Daniel’s cousin should be here to pick up him, along with his wife and daughter. It turns out that this is a lie.
Ofelia confronts her father later, asking him what cousin is picking them up. Daniel told her that all his family is dead. Daniel tells Ofelia that this house is safe and Griselda needs rest. Ofelia tells him that her mother doesn’t just need rest; she needs help. She needs help that Travis, Madison and the medical nurse Liza can provide.
During the night, Madison discovers that her friend and neighbor Susan has also turned into a zombie. The next morning, Madison debates putting a hammer through Susan’s skull. Travis stops her, telling her that she doesn’t know if Susan is really dead. Daniel watches from inside and calls them weak. Seriously, Daniel should be on every show quietly judging people from the wings.
The cars are packed and the Clarks and Manawas start to leave. Madison stops when she notices Susan’s husband, Patrick, coming home. She parks the car and runs after Patrick, telling him to stay away from his wife. He either doesn’t hear her or care because Patrick goes toward Susan. Meanwhile, Susan is lunging at the oblivious Patrick, ready to bite him.
It is at that moment that the military suddenly appears. They kill Susan and surround everyone else. The neighborhood is now under military control. Travis thinks that this means they are safe. Of course, Daniel believes this military coup spells doom.
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC.
(Image courtesy of AMC)