‘Fear the Walking Dead’: Episode 4 Review


Fear the Walking Dead has definitely been off to a rougher start than its parent series.  After a rather uneventful premiere followed by a couple more slow-moving episodes, ratings for the show have already started to decline.  The “slow burn” pacing of the series has not paid off the way the producers and AMC were probably hoping for, as audiences have generally not found the series to be very exciting so far.

Fortunately, the 4th episode, Not Fade Away (named after the Buddy Holly song?), has started to alleviate some of the issues of the show.  For the first time, I’m actually getting invested in some of the storylines and characters.  It also ended in a way that had me really looking forward for next week’s Fear the Walking Dead, something that the previous episodes had failed to do.

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The show began with Chris video recording his surroundings when he happened to notice somebody signaling him with a light or some kind of reflection.  When he brought it up to his father, Travis, he was blown off, but Madison knew something was very strange about it when she saw it on the video.  The soldiers had adamantly told them that all of the houses outside of the safe zone had been cleared out one by one, and there was no way somebody was out there.  To be honest, this tiny story was the first compelling subplot of the show that really had my interest.  I wanted to keep watching to find out more about this mysterious light.

Not trusting the government (finally using her brains, in other words), Madison sneaks out of the safe zone to investigate.  She doesn’t make it to the distant house where they saw the light, but she did come across a large collection of corpses scattered across the street.  She notices that the bodies didn’t appear to have been zombies, but rather ordinary people who were just trying to survive.  She wisely hides under a car from an oncoming group of soldiers, which probably saved her life.

Dr. Exner examines Nick before later kidnapping him

After the residents in the safe zone had been assessed by a doctor that had been sent in, soldiers come in and take away Griselda, without allowing her husband Daniel to come along.  They also snatch Nick by force, after Liza had told the doctor that he was a drug addict.  The military is promising to take them to a safe quarantined area where they’ll get plenty of free healthcare, but that story is especially hard to believe after seeing what the soldiers have been doing to people outside of the fences.

In a way, I’ve got to feel bad for Travis, who has his hands full dealing with his son, ex-wife, girlfriend and her kids all at the same time.  Tensions mount with Madison after Nick’s removal from the safe zone, due to Liza’s role in making that happen.  Interestingly enough, Liza herself ended up willingly tagging along for the ride with Nick, after being convinced that the sick and injured people needed her help.  I don’t know exactly what’s going on where they’re going, but I’m sure it can’t be good.

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At the end of the episode, it seemed like Travis was the only one who needed to be convinced that the government was up to no good.  He finally had his reason when the mini-storyline with the light signal was effectively concluded.  Travis noticed that the house where the signal had previously came from was now lighting up repeatedly, and this time, it came with the sounds of gunshots.  Sadly, it seems that the soldiers found whoever it was that was calling for help, and it apparently didn’t end well for them.  That certainly makes me feel a lot less bad for the military convoy that was gunned down by the Governor, if this was what they were doing to people.

I agree with the consensus that Fear the Walking Dead had a disappointing start, but it seems like it’s finally starting to hook me in a little bit.  The excessive amount of characters and interpersonal relationships made things a little confusing before, but now I’m getting to know everybody and invest a little more in them.  The storylines introduced in this episode were compelling, and for the first time in the series, I’m really looking forward to the next show.

Fear the Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC at 9/8c.

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