Sunday, April 10, 2016

FEAR THE WALKING DEAD A Monster-ous Waste [Updated Below]

FEAR THE WALKING DEAD returned tonight with an episode as underwhelming as the rest of this series, one that definitely isn't going to be winning it many friends as it goes into its 2nd season.

This was an example of what FTWD does best, if that word can be applied to such a thing: a filler episode, one that looks like it cost about 50 cents. As it opens, the characters are forced to flee Strand's fancy home for his fancy yacht.[1] They drive around for a while on the boat then, at the very end, possible danger closes in. The end.

To fill the time in between, our heroes drive past an overloaded boat full of survivors and have a Crisis Of Conscience about maybe helping them. Strand wisely says no; the rest of them make long faces but get over it pretty quickly. Chris, who nearly got his father killed at the beginning of the ep by pointlessly refusing to leave his dead mother's body--they left behind supplies so Travis could take it with them--then throws an emo fit when the others try to hold a brief funeral for her, angrily dumping the corpse into the sea and stalking off.[2] Alicia strikes up a conversation with a fellow on the radio, who says he's on a boat somewhere--won't say where. It wouldn't be TWD if the plot wasn't made to revolve around the characters being stupid, so when Disembodied Radio Voice tells Alicia his boat is sinking, she gives away their position. Strand is very unpleased by this and makes an angry speech about how you're all on "my goddamn boat!" Given that they vastly outnumber him and that chucking him overboard would be a remarkably simple task were he to become too obnoxious, checking his capitalist privilege at the door would seem a prudent move but on FTWD, even Strand, who has proven the only somewhat smart character on this show, is, it seems, subject to the inevitable gravitational pull exerted by the Stupid. After his display, he doesn't confiscate the radio.

Toward the end, the characters discover a boat that's been shot up, those on it left zombies floating on the water. Nick stupidly swims among the creatures without alerting anyone and nearly getting eaten so he could score the ship's log-book, which can't possibly be of any use to them.[3] Finally, Strand detects a fast-moving bogey closing on them, probably the folks Alicia tipped to their location looking to kill them and rob them.

That's it. Like so much of the parent show in its own just-concluded season, it's all set-up for a climax that never comes. Tonight's installment was randomly entitled "Monster." Viewers can decide how this best applies to the ep.



[1] As the ep opens, it appears the military is firebombing Los Angeles, the way it did Atlanta in the parent series, and the dead are marching on Strand's home. This doesn't really make a lick of sense, as, earlier that same day, the characters drove right through the city and it appeared to be almost entirely deserted. No throngs of dead came out to try to eat them. No throngs were even visible. Anywhere.

[2] Everyone suffered the grief over Liza last season. To fill time, we get a brief rehash of it as our heroes prepare to commit her to the sea. After emo Chris dumps the body, Travis tries to talk to him and Chris insists he "could have fixed it" and even becomes violent toward his father. But of course, his mother was pretty horribly bitten and there wasn't going to be any fixing it. Proving it learned nothing from the reaction to the first season, FTWD's writers still makes it a point to go out of their way to make viewers despise absolutely every character.

[3] Though the writer have Nick make reference to it in this very episode, they otherwise seem to have entirely forgotten Nick is a junky. Forced to quit cold turkey, he's suffering no ill effects at all. At one point, he even jumps into the water to "save" Chris when he thinks the emo asswipe may be trying to drown himself (Because the writers needed the two of them in the water, Chris dove into the sea with his shoes and all of his clothes on, then, it turned out, he just wanted to go for a swim.).

UPDATE (11 April, 2016) - Before it had debuted, FTWD's major selling point, stressed in all of its promotion publicity, was that it was going to show how civilization collapsed and was overrun by the walking dead--the series, it said, would fill in what happened while Rick was in a coma. And, of course, that turned out to be a lie. The actual series went out of its way to almost entirely isolate its characters from whatever was happening to the world then time-jumped over that big collapse-of-civilization thing--it was probably well into the period after Rick had awakened before that first season ended. From this new episode, this season could be seen as more of the same. The characters are now on a boat and again avoiding everything. In one improvement, Alicia does at least listen to the radio at one point and hear the reports of the world going increasingly insane--FTWD is a much more modestly-budgeted affair than its parent (which has plenty of money but only looks cheap). The nautical setting is a new one and potentially interesting, so I'm reluctant to criticize it as a continuation of that isolation--that big lie--from the first season but I'll concede it could be seen as such. In season 1, Los Angeles was a setting with incredible potential too. It fell apart off camera and now the characters have left it far behind.


  1. Omg !

    I forgot about this.

    Haven't seen the new episode yet, it cannot possibly be a dire as season 1 , can it?

    Season 1 was a massive failure on every level and made t.w.d look half decent.

    1. Alas, it's pretty much exactly like season 1.

    2. I've watched it now.

      Sea zombies!
      Captain strand gives an adolescent a 2 way radio to cause trouble with, how convenient.

      It's a cheap show and that *can* make for just as compelling watching as any blockbuster

      The reality is F.T.W.D has nothing to say.

      Its a barren wasteland , just like much of its parents 7 year shambles.

    3. I love the fact that our Abigail has been at see, unmanned for a period of time, but ONLY NOW, WHEN OUR GROUP ARE ONBOARD, ITS SUDDENLY GAINED THE INTEREST OF NE'ERDOWELLS.

    4. "Captain strand gives an adolescent a 2 way radio to cause trouble with, how convenient."

      And then after ranting against her giving out info on it doesn't confiscate it.

      "It's a cheap show and that *can* make for just as compelling watching as any blockbuster"

      There's nothing about it's budget that's a problem. The problem, just as with the parent series, is with the writing. When the writing is so bad, it leads one to dwell on those budgetary limitations.

      And yes, the fact that the ship was right there for who-knows-how-many days and no one looted it is ridiculous.

  2. Off screen zombies kill for the win!!!

  3. F.t.w.d
    Season 1.

    The apocalypse viewed from the safety of your house.

    Season 2

    The continuing fall of humanity, viewed from about 2 nautical miles offshore.

    I honestly cannot believe how rubbish ftwd is.

    I know, they'll make money out of it but to have so little to show us in return?

    As a Brit, I grew up with cheap BBC drama/ suspense. But there was always a compelling story at its core.

    Ftwd is pure guff.

    Its fluff, extraneous nonsense to fill a schedule in the most obviously cynical fashion.