Fear the Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 3 “The Dog”
Directed by Adam Davidson
Written by Jack LoGiudice
Starring Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Lorenzo James Henrie, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Ruben Blades, Mercedes Mason, Patricia Reyes Spindola
Air Date: Sunday, September 13, 2015, 9pm
Fear the Walking Dead Episode 3, â€œThe Dog,â€ brings us to the halfway point of this very short first season of the original AMC drama. This inaugural season is set in Los Angeles in the time leading up to the great zombie apocalypse that wiped out most of humanity, as seen in The Walking Dead. So far, our lead characters have seen firsthand those who have been infected by the zombie virus, but they donâ€™t yet know what the ramifications are.
In the previous episode, we saw a few instances of people who were inflected by something â€” presumed by most to merely be the flu â€” but the infirmed were acting strange. Their eyes were light and glassy and they werenâ€™t responding to anyone who tried to speak to them. More importantly, they attempted to attack and bite anyone who came near them. High school guidance counselor Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) saw this behavior at her school, when the kindly principal turned growling and vicious on her. She also witnessed this when she and her fiance Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis) went to rescue her missing son, Nick, (Frank Dillane), and they had a run-in with his zombified childhood friend, Calvin. Madison and Travis know this is not just a flu, and canâ€™t possibly comprehend the severity of the circumstances at this point, but they do realized they need to get out of town before things get worse.
As if the virus and the violence in the streets werenâ€™t enough, thereâ€™s Nickâ€™s drug addiction. Heâ€™s detoxing and his only thoughts are on whether there will be enough drugs to get him through the family’s planned journey into the desert to safety â€” if they ever get going, that is. â€œI donâ€™t need you, Mom,â€ Nick tells his mother after learning what sheâ€™s done with the pain pills, â€œI need my medicine.â€ Travis still isnâ€™t back, and Madisonâ€™s children arenâ€™t so sure that he will even return for them. Theyâ€™re frustrated and want to leave already, but Madison knows her man, and has faith he will return. But first, they have to make it through the night, because thereâ€™s something going on outside with neighbor Mr. Lawson (remember he was the one we saw packing up his car to get out of town?), and their other neighbor Susan isnâ€™t looking so good either.
Episode 3, â€œThe Dog,â€ builds on the tension from the first two installments of the series, as we wait to see if Travis and his group will make it safely out of downtown, and if Madison and her children will survive the evening at home in quiet suburbia, which is getting more and more creepy with all the things going bump in the night. One of those things? The title dog, a German shepherd clawing at the back door. Do I need to explain what purpose a dog serves in a horror story? Probably not.
So, here we are in Episode 3, and finally Madison, Travis, and Nick are wising up to the situation at hand. But not stupid Alicia for some reason. Sheâ€™s just playing Monopoly, vying for her favorite board game piece as if her boyfriend Matt wasnâ€™t still at home by himself foaming at the mouth, waiting to take a bit out of the nearest person. When Alicia encounters poor old Susan in the yard, she nearly gets herself killed rather than accept Chris’s help in escaping danger. Umm, why is Alicia such a bitch? I really donâ€™t get her behavior in this episode. I understand that all the kids are confused and donâ€™t quite grasp why all the adults are getting sick and vicious, but please, get a clue Alicia! Donâ€™t be a stereotypical, Emo, headphones-wearing bratty teenager during a crisis. And Madison, why is it OK for you to have your teenaged daughter be involved with her older brotherâ€™s drug addiction and care, but you donâ€™t believe it necessary to explain your confused child the danger that youâ€™re all facing now?
Now while Alicia is walking around with blinders on, Daniel knows all. Not only can he maneuver through a riotous crowd and handle a shotgun, but since his native language is Spanish, he intuitively already understands the â€œsickness,â€ unlike Maori Travis (Maori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand) and the foolish white people. (Ever notice that? Itâ€™s always the Spanish-speaking native who has the all the insight in these types of stories?) If we go by what weâ€™ve seen, Daniel should know even less than Travis and Madison, whoâ€™ve already had altercations with Walkers, while Daniel has been hiding out in his shop during the riots. Yet, Daniel knows that the infected are actually dead; that they need to be shot in the head; and that their bodies should to be burned. How the hell does he know all this? Oh, and he pops out gems like â€œGood people are the first ones to die,â€ when his daughter tries to tell him that Travis and his family are good people. This is from a business owner who let strangers take refuge in his establishment while looting was going on all around him.
Speaking of the riot, during the episode, AMC had a â€œstory syncâ€ going on online, and one of the questions that popped up was â€œWhat scares you more? The riots or the Infected.â€ 55% of people who answered said â€œThe Riotâ€ and Iâ€™m with them. Yes, we all know what the Infected are capable of — and that scene where the infected LAPD officer is biting into the riot cop was an example of why there’s no way in hell things will get under control — and as far as we the audience knows of this universe, this plague eventually wipes out nearly everything. But, if you want to survive the apocalypse, you first need to NOT die during the violent riots. And while Iâ€™m asking questions, why hasnâ€™t Johnny Depp Jr. changed out of his old-man Members Only clothing yet? There was amble time between pill popping and Monopoly for Nick to get cleaned up and changed into something else, whether it be his usual Crow attire or something more suitable for desert dwelling (Iâ€™m sure heâ€™s been to Burning Man). Wasnâ€™t he in those clothes for days while he was strung out and sleeping on the streets after leaving the hospital in that first episode? Seriously, he must really stink by now. Oh, and I just want to say that there’s zero way Travis’s pick-up truck would have NOT been trashed and set on fire during the riots (just like in a previous episode, there’s no way he’d be the ONE car that was able to get passed the traffic on the LA highway).
â€œThe Dogâ€ serves to unite the main cast of characters and give us a hint of how they will survive this zombie plague. By the way, up until the end of this episode, Iâ€™ve assumed that the plague wiped out everything except for what weâ€™ve seen in The Walking Dead, but now Iâ€™m wondering if weâ€™ll learn that thatâ€™s not the case. Perhaps just parts of the world have been affected and those are the areas that have been quarantined. Imagine? We know the East Coast from Georgia to D.C. was affected out, but maybe things are different in the west. Something to think about.
Otherwise, Fear the Walking Dead continues to crawl along as slow as possible, failing to make us fall in love with any of the main characters. Nick is a cutie with heartthrob potential, but his drug addiction and Members Only jacket are a real turnoff; weâ€™ve already covered that brat Alicia; Madison seems to have a suicide wish (possibly from being widowed), while Travis is obviously a hero type, but possibly a little too pacifist for this live-or-death situation. Then thereâ€™s the Spanish family: Omniscient Daniel, his invincible wife, and their Americanized daughter, whose grasp of the English language has apparently made her naive. I dig Daniel, but I doubt anyone will riot if he dies. So far, I think I like Susan the best. Viva Susan!
[Photo Credit: Justina Mintz/AMC. Used with permission.]
Trailer: Action: Fear the Walking Dead
Sneak Peek: Episode 103: Fear the Walking Dead: The Dog
Sneak Peek: The Clarks: Episode 103: Fear the Walking Dead: The Dog