I’ve been more positive about Fear the Walking Dead than many other people. However, I was looking forward to the season 1 finale for only one reason: the suffering would finally be over. Not just for the survivors, but also for me. I’m still intrigued by a second season and will probably watch. While the finale is way too long, Fear the Walking Dead does set up some interesting elements for future seasons.
I just realized how little I care about the show and the characters. Even when things get exciting in the finale, it’s still slow. Fear the Walking Dead‘s greatest strength has always been its difference with The Walking Dead. For better or worse, the finale follows through on that diversity.
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Getting Ready to Leave
At the start of the finale, everyone remaining in the Clark household piles into their cars, ready to go off on their rescue mission. They plan to go into the army compound first, rescue their family and head East as originally planned. There’s just the tiny matter of Daniel’s torture and hostage victim, Andrew. Daniel wants to kill Andrew because Daniel wants to kill pretty much everyone. Madison and Travis, mostly the latter, convince Daniel to let Andrew live. Andrew can be their guide inside the compound.
Madison decides that the best person to trust with Andrew babysitting duty is Travis. Clearly, he can’t screw everything up. Spoiler alert: Travis completely and totally screws everything up. Andrew tells Travis that no matter what, he’s going to end up dead. Daniel will kill Andrew, so he asks Travis to let him go and Travis does it. Andrew’s probably right here; Daniel would’ve found a way to kill Andrew as soon as he got the chance. Still letting their one guide (with a serious grudge) walk free is moronic but so is Travis.
If you’re wondering how three adults — four if you’re counting Ofelia — and two kids are going to infiltrate a military compound, I have the answer: it’s zombies. Daniel lets loose the zombies that have been trapped inside the football arena as a distraction to occupy the remaining army force. This is a very cool moment, especially because of how nonchalant Daniel is when leading a horde of zombies to slaughter. It’s also nearly as idiotic as Travis letting Andrew go.
The zombies do manage to blow the army’s rescue plan to hell. The transport choppers come to pick up Liza, the doctors and their patients. When the rescue team sees the compound teeming with zombies, they high tail it and fly away. The head doctor tells the others and Liza to run. She is left alone in the room to die with her “ship,” or something equally noble and dumb. Liza, following orders, goes outside. Once she sees the zombies, who are now breaking through the fence, she runs in the opposite direction.
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Never Split Up
The scrappier and theoretically more likable rescue team of Travis, Madison, Daniel and Ofelia make their way into the compound. They leave Chris and Alicia by the car to escape if they don’t return. This plan, of course, goes incredibly awry. The army makes it to the parking garage where the kids are hiding and commandeer the car. ‘Commandeer’ is just a nice way of saying they punch Chris out and snatch the keys from Alicia.
Meanwhile, Strand and Nick are escaping their cage. Somehow, Strand has a key to the cage. Don’t ask; Strand has everything in control. He’s basically the Anti-Travis. Strand calmly walks out with Nick in tow, leaving the rest of their fellow prisoners behind.
Naturally, moments later, Madison, Daniel, Ofelia and Travis find this prison room. They free the prisoners. The prisoners show them which way Strand and Nick went and they follow. The group finds Strand and Nick. Small catch: Strand and Nick are behind a locked door with zombies closing in.
Madison tries to get Travis to bang open the lock on the door because it is literally the only thing he uses his gun for all episode. This, like 97% of Travis’ plans, fails. Luckily for everyone, Deus Ex Liza arrives with a keycard, opening the door. Strand and Nick are pulled through and everyone is reunited. Well, except for the dead Griselda and the half-unconscious pair of teens.
Liza figures that the best way to get back to the kids is through the medical facility. It must be the quickest way because it certainly isn’t pleasant. The doctor has gone down with the ship; she just sank the ship herself . She has euthanized all of the patients. She’s more than a little depressed about the whole thing. The group leaves the doctor to her misery and presumed suicide.
After that detour, the group makes it back to the parking garage. Alicia and Chris are safe, but everything’s not fine. The car is gone, but Andrew is here. How he got there and found them is the least logical thing that happens in this scene. Andrew points a gun at Daniel, ready to take a shot. Ofelia tries to calm Andrew down, so he shoots her instead. Does this make any sense? Nope, but who cares because it’s “shocking.” Oh, and Travis chooses this moment to snap. He pounces on Andrew and beats his face into a bloody pulp before Madison pulls him off.
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The Episode Keeps Going, Going, Going and Going…
Ofelia survives her injuries for now and Strand directs them to his ocean-side home for shelter. The episode (unfortunately) still isn’t over yet. Nick needs to deliver a Jimmy Stewart-esque monologue about the world finally catching up with him as it falls apart. There’s two problems with this: Frank Dillane is not Jimmy Stewart and this speech is nowhere near as poignant or poetic as it thinks it is.
Thankfully, the rest of this overlong ending is more interesting. Liza lets Ofelia know that she will probably survive her gunshot wound. Liza then hugs Chris, tells her son she loves him and goes out to the beach. Madison follows, and when they’re alone, Liza shows her what is wrong. Liza’s been scratched, she’s infected and she will die. She asks Madison to kill her because it will break Travis, echoing their conversation when Madison told Liza to put her down.
Travis interrupts them. He’s all full of noxious hope and whatever. Liza makes him see reason. There is nothing she, he or anyone can do; she has to die. Liza wants to die before she turns. So even after all this talk about breaking Travis, Madison hands him the gun. Travis kills Liza.
Travis goes further down the beach and breaks down while Chris finds his mother’s body. Travis grips the sand and sobs as the waves come in. Madison comes up behind and comforts him. They embrace as the muddy water washes over them. It’s kind of morbidly beautiful, even if I feel little to nothing about the whole tragedy. The camera pans out to the ocean, where Strand’s escape plan sits in the water: Abigail, his own personal super yacht.
(Image courtesy of AMC)