Fear the Walking Dead had a shaky reception to its first season, though I thought it was fantastic. We meet some regular folks who are living normal lives at first - only to have everything shaken up by the zombie apocalypse. Personally, I feel very endeared to most of the characters in this show - it feels like they are real people, people that I know. And though I love The Walking Dead, I personally think that Fear The Walking Dead's first season is overall much better than The Walking Dead's first season.
Below, I rank each episode of Fear The Walking Dead based on overall enjoyment. I've watched the whole season multiple times and found myself more drawn to certain episodes than others. Here is the breakdown :
6. "Not Fade Away"
This episode is the weakest of the lot, despite the fact that this is the episode where the military takes Nick and Griselda away from their family to treat their health conditions (a major plot point). The only other significant development in this episode is the flickering light outside of the compound some blocks away that Chris sees when sitting on the rooftop. The light opens the minds of Chris and Madison about whether the military is being truthful or not with the civilians in the compound. Lieutenant Moyers, the commanding officer, has assured everyone that the surrounding area was evacuated as best as possible (all while acting like a supreme asshole). Pretty interesting, and it could have been a lot better, but this is never pursued or explained before season's end - and with how the season ended, I highly doubt this will be touched upon again.
5. So Close, Yet So Far
This is the 2nd episode of the series and, while it does a great job tying in the very current issue of police brutality and the public's response, it is one of the slower episodes of the series. Travis has the very frustrating task of finding his son, Chris, despite Chris dodging his calls. The upside? This is the episode we meet the Salazar family when things take a turn for the worse out in the street.
The 1st episode of Fear The Walking Dead started off pretty strong. The opening scene introduces us to Nick's current world as a heroin addict. The audience doesn't know that Nick is a major character, so he is fair game for zombie kibble at first. The tension we feel as he slowly finds his way through this shady ass building that is apparently full of intoxicated junkies is palpable - especially when he discovers that something is very wrong.
3. "The Dog"
Episode 3 is when things start to get real serious for our characters. Travis, Liza, and Chris are separated from Madison, Nick, and Alicia when a riot breaks out at the protest Chris was attending and they are forced to take shelter in Salazar's barber shop. This episode marks the start of Madison's acceptance of what is happening, which is in contrast to Travis's ambiguous attitude towards the situation. It is also the first time our characters feel like they are in real danger as they all start to adjust to the impending zombie apocalypse.
The 5th episode is when the show really kicks into high gear as our characters find out about the military's true intention for the compound. Travis continues his reluctance to accept that the zombies are actually dead. Lieutenant Moyers, the soldier in charge of the National Guard force defending the compound, has a great moment in this episode when he forces Travis to confront the reality of the zombie apocalypse, saying that if Travis believes the zombies are still sick people, then "we're just a bunch of murderers."
"Cobalt" is also the episode where we meet the enigmatic salesman, Victor Strand - a character I am very interested in seeing more in the future.
1. "The Good Man"
The season went out with a bang in this episode. Daniel Salazar is able to come by some important information and now the group knows where to go to get Nick, Liza, and Griselda. With catastrophe imminent, the compound is no longer safe and the group must rescue their family members and high-tail it out of town.
This episode is packed with action and intensity, as various moving pieces are all at play - including a horde that Salazar unleashes on the military. The group goes into the military's makeshift base to retrieve their family members, and the base is under heavy attack from the horde Salazar let lose from a nearby stadium.
Check out the Official Teaser Trailer for Season 2 below :
All told, the season's appeal to the audience is directly related to how well the audience can relate to the characters. I found these characters to be, like I mention earlier, very real. I know people like all of them in real life. As a parent myself, I empathize with Travis, Liza, Madison, and Daniel. As a member of the audience, I really want to see more Strand - his character is going to be a dramatic addition to the characters we followed much of the first season.
Matt is a writer/filmmaker in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Follow me on Twitter @Matt_InTheWoods