“Fear The Walking Dead’ made its long awaited debut tonight and after watching it I have one question: why is everyone complaining?
I have seen a lot of bad reviews online, mostly for the lack of “action” and zombies, which I find strange since day 1 they have made it clear this show would explore the beginning of the apocalypse.
That means NO zombies, at least not in the beginning, so anyone who expected to see them hasn’t been paying attention.
Same goes for the action: you can’t have everyone running for their lives when there is nothing to run from yet.
That being said, there were a few bumps, but nothing big enough to make me stop watching.
Personally, I think all the components are here for this to be the next big show, from interesting characters and great acting to an intriguing premise.
The problem, if it turns out to be one, will be the pacing and focus, which was the main issue in this first episode.
They didn’t get it quite right tonight, but even with the missteps I genuinely enjoyed the show, which proves they got something here, they just need to fine-tune it.
*Spoilers: this article contains spoilers so do not read ahead if you haven’t watched yet*
The show opens with Nick (Nick Dillane), a 19 year old drug addict, waking from a night of partying in an abandoned, filthy old church.
Nick begins to wander, looking for his friend Gloria, only to realize he’s wandered into a horror show (pun intended).
He sees a guy on the floor with his throat ripped out, and quickly stumbles away.
A few seconds later he finds Gloria- eyes almost glowing and blood dripping from her mouth as she feasts on a boy on the floor.
As she goes for Nick he runs outside at full speed- a great sequence that uses dramatic camera angles and speeds to capture the tension.
As he reaches the safety of the street he is hit by a car and taken to the hospital.
It’s there that we are introduced to the rest of the cast: Nick’s mom Madison (Kim Dickens), his sister Alicia (Alycia Debnam Carey) and Madison’s boyfriend Travis (Cliff Curtis), who just moved in with them.
To say that they are dysfunctional is a bit of an understatement.
Madison is stressed, worried and at the end of her rope with her son and her daughter, who has little sympathy (at least on the surface) for her brother.
Nick, and the actor that portrays him, is quite likable and easy to watch.
He evokes sympathy from the viewer and makes you root for him from the opening scene.
Alicia is also a natural onscreen and connects without saying much; hopefully her role will grow as the show does because she made me WANT to learn more about her.
Oddly enough, it is guidance counselor Madison, who I love as an actress, that I found to be the least interesting in the pilot.
She is a bit too abrasive to bond with, a bit too skeptical and dismissive of both her son and one of her students, who is worried about the “virus” that has hit 5 states already.
While I understand they want her to be a no-nonsense kinda gal, in the beginning it is a bit off-puting.
I suspect that will change as the show progresses and develops.
I do like her chemistry with Travis, who is also quite likable as the stoic teacher trying to help everyone.
He draws you in quickly and quietly, so that by the end of the episode you are rooting for him too.
Naturally, when Nick tells them what he saw his mom thinks he is hallucinating due to his drug issues.
Travis, however, decides to check out his story and goes to the church, where he discovers a whole lot of blood.
Madison is still skeptical and thinks Travis is enabling Nick, but when she goes to see for herself she starts to realize she was wrong.
In the meantime Nick, who gets a bit spooked by the dying patient next to him, hightails it out of the hospital while Alicia spends time with her boyfriend.
It’s as this point that thee action shifts and the show begins to hit its stride.
Madison and Travis go looking for Nick and talk to his friend Cal, who says he has no idea where Nick is.
As they are driving back they hit a line of traffic and are soon swarmed by choppers as gunshots start ringing out, so they take off.
The next day, a video begins to circulate showing what all the gunshots were for: the cops were trying to stop a guy who was attacking and eating another guy- just like what Nick said he saw.
As everyone tries to rationalize what they are seeing Alicia is being stood up by her boyfriend, well, at least she thinks she is.
I’m guessing he’s never showing up anywhere ever again.
Meanwhile, Nick meets with Cal, and viewers learn that he was the one supplying Nick with the drugs.
Cal gets upset that Nick thinks (or knows) the drugs were laced and takes him for a ride to a culvert.
When they get there Cal tries to kill him: Nick and him struggle with the gun and Cal get shot, so Nick calls Travis.
Nick tells them he shot Cal, but the body is gone.
As they get in the car to leave they see someone walking under the overpass and Travis goes to see.
As he gets closer he sees it is a bloodied, glassy eyed Cal who goes to attack him.
Madison is right behind him and tries to help, almost getting bit in the process.
As they both struggle to contain Cal Nick, who stayed in the car, comes barreling through and hits Cal.
They all watch in stunned horror as Cal gets back up, as if he wasn’t even touched.
Nick then revs up and hits him again, sending him off the edge of the ledge.
They all go to see what happened to Cal, who is laying on the ground and looks very much like he’s dead.
Until he turns his head to look t them, sending them all reeling back in horror.
This first show did a great job of setting up the initial story-lines and connecting viewers with the main characters.
It also had a nice pace at the end as the “virus” began to creep into the consciousnesses of the characters.
Hopefully, they work out the kinks, because they have something worth watching.
What did you think of the premiere of ‘Fear The Walking Dead’?
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