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TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead 1.4 “Not Fade Away”
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Fear the Walking Dead
Season 1 Episode 4 “Not Fade Away”
Directed by Kari Skogland
Written by Meaghan Oppenheimer
Starring Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Lorenzo James Henrie, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Ruben Blades, Mercedes Mason, Patricia Reyes Spindola
AMC
Air Date: Sunday, September 20, 2015, 9pm

Fear the Walking Dead portrays the events leading up to the zombie plague that wiped out most of humanity, as seen on AMC’s The Walking Dead. So far, it’s been three episodes of the people of Los Angeles behaving strangely, getting sick, and not staying dead. Chaos, rioting, and looting ensued, while most citizens didn’t have a clue what was really going on, and, more importantly, the horror that was to come.

High school guidance counselor Madison Clark (Kim Dickens), her son, Nick (Frank Dillane), daughter Alicia, (Alycia Debnam Carey), and fiance Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis) have all seen firsthand what happens after someone is infected. Last we saw our main characters, they were making a plan to get out of the city and hide out in the desert for safety for the time being. But, then the National Guard showed up, and they were corralled back into their home for the foreseeable future.

In Episode 4, “Not Fade Away,” it’s been 9 days since Madison’s neighborhood has been overtaken by the National Guard, who have fenced in and quarantined the residents, and instituted a curfew as well as other rules. The authorities say the neighborhood is 1 of 12 safe zones south of the San Gabriel area, and that everything else outside is dead and gone. Travis’s son, Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie), doesn’t believe everything the survivors are being told, especially since he saw a flashing light outside the fence. Madison watches Chris’s video of what he saw and she sees it too, but for some reason, Travis thinks it’s just his son’s vivid imagination.

Perhaps Travis has trouble facing reality or has blind faith that the authorities will save them all, but his refusal to believe the evidence his son shows him is frustrating. Also, his unwavering faith in the government is wildly naive, especially at this point in time. Meanwhile, Madison is frustrated with her role of housekeeper and cook, as her home has become a makeshift refugee camp and ICU unit. When I see Madison and Travis together now, I wonder how they even became a couple. He’s so passive and naive, while she’s easily set-off and seemingly impulsive. While he is a do-gooder, he often is more concerned with the needs of the many as opposed to the needs of his immediate family, which includes not only Madison and her kids, but his own son and his ex-wife, all of whom are now living together in close quarters with waning rations and utilities.

After seeing Chris’s video, Madison sneaks outside the fence and finds shot-up dead bodies that do not seem to be infected. When she returns home, she confides everything to Daniel, one of the survivors who gave Travis, Chris, and Chris’s mother Liza sanctuary during the riots, what she saw. This prompts Daniel to convey a childhood memory, where his father told him “men do these things not because of evil, they do evil because of fear,” which made him realize that his father was a fool for believing there was a difference. When Daniel says fool, are immediate think of Travis, who’s the obvious fool in this new world.

Four episodes later, and I still want to smack nearly every character and I hardly care what happens to them, and now that the National Guard troops are here, I don’t like them much either, as they come off as real pricks. I also find it highly annoying that in a scenario where the power is constantly being shut down, that Travis is out for a run, complete with earphones. Oh, and Madison is wearing a long-sleeve shirt inside the house, while others are donning shorts. This is California, right? I mean, Nick is in the damn pool half the episode, so it’s not like it’s cold out! Speaking of Nick, there’s a scene where Madison finally gets so fed up with her son that she starts beating on him, and I’d just like to say that I fully support this ass-whooping. How she put up with his shit all this time is beyond me.

Then there’s Travis and his ex-wife Liza, who are compelled to put everyone else above their own families. Now, Travis and Liza seem like the perfect couple; I can’t imagine why their marriage didn’t last, unless it was because they were constantly putting others before each other. Ok, back to the National Guard “” is it really any surprise that they are moving out all the sick? I’m surprised they haven’t just razed Area 1 to the ground already. Obviously, something sinister is going on; whether it’s merely the troops trying to contain the area or there’s a bigger conspiracy going on, we don’t know yet. And why does the newly arrived doctor want Liza to come to the hospital with her? Is it to stop Liza from handing out morphine to everyone in Area 1, which seems to be what she’s doing.

As far as the kids go, I thought initially that resentful Chris was going to be the biggest nuisance, but he’s turning out to be the coolest person around, next to Daniel, who is too wise for this universe. On the other hand, Nick and Alicia are a waste of space. Nick’s drug addiction is still in full force, while teenage Alicia’s emo tone is in full effect. Travis should be the hero, but he’s just not strong enough, while Madison is up and down each episode.

Though “Not Fade Away” lacked any “walkers,” at least we didn’t have to sit through another family board game. You’d think that the military presence would be a comforting one “” here they come to save the day! “” but nope. Something’s going on, and it’s going to get worse. With only two more episodes left in this premiere season, hopefully we’ll get some real answers soon. I’m still trying to figure out what the inevitable revelation in the season finale will be, and how it can possibly shock those of us who know what’s to come from The Walking Dead. Maybe it will be the explanation as to why Nick is STILL wearing the clothes he stole from the old dying man in Episode 1, and why he’s so attached to that hideous Members Only type jacket.

Video

Sneak Peek: Episode 104: Fear the Walking Dead: Not Fade Away

Next on: Episode 104: Fear the Walking Dead: Not Fade Away

[Photo Credit: Justina Mintz/AMC. Used with permission.]

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5 Comments »

  1. Seems to be a lot of setup going on and I expected as much from this series. On the other hand, I’m starting to get bored as well. Building up the dramatic tension like this only works if there’s a payoff and those moments aren’t being doled out frequently enough. Sure hope they don’t continue building up until the last few minutes of episode 6 when they leave us with the obvious cliffhanger. Right now, I’m watching this same night that it airs but if the pacing continues, I may just DVR the entire season and binge and fast forward when it returns.

    Comment by PAUL — September 21, 2015 @ 10:29 am

  2. I’m still enjoying the show although I think they stumbled a bit this episode by not having any walkers. And I’m not saying there need to be walkers present for the show to be compelling, but I can’t believe the area surrounding the safe zone would be so empty. I guess they tried to address that when Madison went outside the safe zone and saw the shot up bodies, but if the military is shooting everything that moves outside the safe zone don’t you think the residents within the safe zone would be hearing some of that? There would be tens of thousands of people in the surrounding neighborhoods and whether they’re walkers or innocents, killing them all would be messy and noisy business. Still, it is interesting to see that the government’s response to the outbreak is to kill everything that movies in urban areas, which obviously doesn’t work as seen in the The Walking Dead show where organized society no longer exists. Also, Travis may be foolish thus far but I can’t imagine that will be the case going forward after the events in this episode. He was clearly growing more wary of their military “protectors.” But I still don’t expect him to survive for season two. And I’m not feeling the relationship between Madison and Travis either. They seem too incompatible and the chemistry is not really there. Feels like they are going through the motions. I do like the Nick junkie storyline though. I’ve often felt that if society broke down I would try to raid the nearest pharmacy for Oxy and Morphine and just send myself off into la la land as the world ended. I think the dynamic of having a junkie in these circumstances is interesting. Nick breaking into the neighbor’s house and hooking himself up to the dying neighbor’s morphine drip is absolutely spot on real. That is exactly what would happen. His story going forward is going to be real interesting. Obviously the military is hauling off the sick people, probably to be killed, although them putting Nick in that category is interesting. Will they try to rehabilitate him or will he be put down with the rest of the sick and the dying? I expect that he and Liza are going to be in a pretty harrowing situation once the holding area they are being taken to is overrun with zombies (you know it’s gonna happen!).

    Comment by Hugomarink — September 21, 2015 @ 2:30 pm

  3. Yes! Totally agree with everything you said. Not sure why they hauled Nick off, especially since he seemed to be fine when the Dr. was questioning him, and he obviously wasn’t bite or exposed. And I was not surprised to see him take the morphine from a dying man.

    Comment by Empress Eve — September 27, 2015 @ 10:25 am

  4. I think we’re definitely getting a cliffhanger. :(

    Comment by Empress Eve — September 27, 2015 @ 10:26 am

  5. Don’t be sad, we all knew the cliffhanger was coming! Personally, I think the last episode (“Cobalt” as of this reply) was more interesting than the previous four combined. Among some of the highlights for me: Alicia and Chris finding some common ground, Alicia observed the military retreating from the safe zone, we find out that Daniel is hiding a disturbing past that’s sure to be an asset as they fight for survival going forward, holy cow with torture of Ofelia’s military friend (and Madison is OK with it? Boy has she gone down a dark path!) and it’s *finally* nice to see Travis starting to catch up with the rest of us! Plus the wheeler dealer guy who buddies up with Nick in the holding cell. He seems like a real interesting character that we’ve not yet seen on either show yet and I’m curious to see what he’s got planned in the new world. OH! Almost forgot about Daniel checking out the stadium and all those pent up zombies!! I wouldn’t say this episode makes up for the agonizingly slow buildup in the previous four episodes but it’s pretty close. Still not sure if I’ll watch live when it returns or DVR it though. Thinking this season’s cliffhanger and the first episode of the next season will decide that.

    Comment by PAUL — September 29, 2015 @ 12:17 pm

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