Premiere: August 30th, 2015
Written by: Marco Ramirez
Directed by: Adam Davidson
While Madison struggles to keep Nick from crippling withdrawal, Travis ventures out to find his son before the city of Los Angeles falls.
After the shocking revelation at the end of the pilot episode, the inevitable apocalypse looms heavily on the horizon. The survivors now have an inkling as to what they’re about to deal with.
After regrouping at their home, the family comes to the realization that Nick’s paranoia is real. The family is now having to deal with a Nick’s drug withdrawal while the virus is spreading. “I tried calling 911 but its busy,” Alicia tells Madison. This is now survival during the initial stages of the outbreak. That’s what we missed with The Walking Dead. We’re now seeing the downfall of infrastructure. Schools are closing. Riots erupt in the streets, and the series’ most important character, the city of Los Angeles as a whole, could consume our survivors. Where The Walking Dead was initially set in rural Georgia and gave up glimpses of Atlanta, FtWD puts the city of L.A. under a cinematic microscope and opens us up to the possibility that an urban setting can either be our savior or our damnation.
“[The viewers] know the rules,” Robert Kirkman explains to EW, “they know what these people are up against. Our characters do not and that creates a tension and a sense of dread in the viewing experience.” The trouble with making a prequel is keeping the suspense high and the audience interested. “Its like no one is paying attention,” Nick tries telling his mother. “Like this isn’t real.” We as viewers already know that the zombie apocalypse is happening and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it. Finding the balance between keeping Fear the Walking Dead separate but similar to The Walking Dead will make or break the series. While the main show has 144 issues of the comic book series to base stories off of, Fear the Walking Dead is a wild child. Fans of the comics won’t know which direction Fear is taking. Much like when Travis and Madison split up. As Madison heads back to the high school in hopes of helping Nick’s painful with drawls, she meets a scared Tobias hiding in a class room.
“Have you seen any of them closer? I’ve only seen them online,” Tobias asks Madison. The viewers know what Tobias is referring to; The infected.
Once again Tobias tries warning Madison about Doomsday. “When civilization ends, it ends fast.”
Tobias is a smart kid. Through his voice, we learn the stages of the downfall of society. Though we’ve heard characters in The Walking Dead talk about the same stages, it’s different hearing it from Tobias. It’s more ominous. More foreboding.
“You can stay with us until this ends,” Madison tells her former student.
Tobias shakes his head. “This doesn’t end.”
Knowing that Madison thinks this will pass is heart breaking. Kirkman, Ramirez and Erickson have done a fantastic job creating characters that we’re already drawn too and rooting for only 2 episodes into the series. The issues our survivors face outside of the zombie apocalypse are real life troubles. More than a few viewers will be able to relate to Chris’ resentment of Travis, blaming Travis for the divorce. Nick’s drug addiction and with drawls are surreal. The physical pain for the with drawls that Nick is going through should play a big role in future episodes.
We only see a few of the infected in the first and second episodes, but what we see is chilling. The fact that these are freshly turned gives them a much cleaner appearance. Pay close attention to the riot scenes. You may notice a few infected mingled in the background.
A 6 episode first season may not be enough though. While the full on apocalypse still seems to be a ways off, it would greatly help the series as a whole if we were given a slow burn to the inevitable collapse of society. During the first few episodes we’ll get to see how the LAPD and fire department deal with the initial outbreak. Of all the questions that FtWD raises, we will probably never get an answer too the most important; How the zombie apocalypse started. We will though get to see how far our survivors will go to keep themselves and their families alive.