Season One, Episode One
Well what do you think Walking Dead fans? I’m sure you’re mostly disappointed with the pilot of the spin-off series, mainly because it was pretty dull. What Walking Dead fans want during the months without traveling alongside Rick and Daryl is more zombie chaos! Unfortunately for those, there weren’t many in the Fear the Walking Dead pilot. Instead, it did something that the Walking Dead didn’t from the beginning, establish and fortify a backbone of its core characters.
The core consists of a happy and smart family, and their junkie child. Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) and her fiance Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis) both work at the high school. Madison is a guidance counselor and Travis is an English teacher. Madison’s daughter, Alicia, is smart and for the time being, not an absolute brat. But Madison’s other child, Nick, is a handful. The show opens up with Nick waking up from one of his loaded nights in an abandoned church where him and other junkies spend a lot of time in. As he searches for Gloria, he witnesses death and eventually, the sight of Gloria eating another junkie. He runs out into the daylight only to be hit by a car from behind.
That opening scene was pretty cool, but it gave the audience a false hope of what to expect for the rest of the pilot, which ends up being very tame and not scary at all. But that’s okay, because in this series the outbreak hasn’t occurred yet. In Fear, we’re going to live through the central family and the citizens of Los Angeles as the chaos begins. It might not be as cool and fun as The Walking Dead’s first season, but it might very well be more interesting (if done right).
One thing that I was fond of during the pilot was how much I actually liked the family. Dickens and Curtis do a great job at coming off as a couple who genuinely care about their family, their jobs, and each other. This is good and bad though, because while I’ll surely be rooting for them throughout the inevitable collapse of society, it doesn’t seem like they’re going to be in any real danger throughout this series, which is half the fun watching a show like this. Just look at the death totals of The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. Knowing that any character could die at any time keeps the audience on its toes. Can you really see either Madison or Travis dying anytime soon? It’s highly doubtful.
But while this series might play off like a tamer version of The Walking Dead, at least here we have diversity from the get-go, though already an African American character has been killed off. Will Alicia’s boyfriend be next?
So what can we expect from Fear the Walking Dead? I expect to be stuck in the “confusion” stage for most of this first season, and maybe a finale turning to chaos. Whatever the case, I’m willing to continue to watch this tight family will themselves to stay alive and fight for each other’s survival, except maybe for Nick. We can also assume that the group will expand to more than just the immediate family, but it’s safe to declare that Madison and Travis will be the driving force of this series. Is that good enough? It’s good enough for me, for now.