BySally Medich, writer at Creators.co

Ever since I was a kid I have had this recurring dream about being trapped at sea; I say dream rather than nightmare due to the more symbolistic qualities and sub plot changes (which I’m not sure if that negates the term “recurring” but taking a page from Madison’s book, I’ll just go with it). So obviously I was pleasantly surprised with the revelation of a sea “adventure” that will take place during this season of Fear the Walking Dead. With that, let me go ahead and give a premature shout out and muttered thank you to the writers for providing the ultimate plot change to my once intriguing dream to what will most certainly be a probable future nightmare.

Before beginning, let me address an issue I have with some particular character critiques. I’ve heard a lot of comparing characters on Fear with the characters on The Walking Dead, and I literally have to control my eye rolls every time. There seems to be a certain memory lapse where people forgot that we have had six seasons of knowledge about the world of TWD and are therefore privy to specifics that our new crew has no knowledge of…thus giving us a certain luxury. What we all, myself included in moments of weakness, have to acknowledge is that these are two separate entities; while they exist in the same universe, they are occurring at two separate points in time and cannot be approached with the same mentality. I personally have enjoyed the slow burn of the show, and how that gives me access to more development as well as the each actor’s abilities and range. One of the main reasons I very much enjoyed the first 3-4 seasons of TWD was due to the continuous attention given to character development. As long as I’m in the honesty policy section, a big reason as to why the past season of TWD fell a bit flat for me was due to the decline of character development (save maybe Carol). While I, like any true American, enjoy an endearing and fucking wicked machete to the face—that does not determine my tunage. Every character in Fear has vast potential, especially since we meet them before the downfall, which in turn gives us an uncommon insight to who they truly are as human beings, not the people that the new world turns them into.

So we begin, as most television shows begin, on land…albeit this land is in the midst of a massive carpet-bombing that I can only assume would give the current Republican Presidential candidates a massive hard-on. Judging from the overwhelming number of walkers intruding towards the shore, I immediately want to give them a shout out for having the same idea as our mains, . Within the opening minutes I already see a shift within Madison and Travis…I guess starting down his road to becoming an expert killer with an execution style, however merciful, shot to his ex-wife gives him a little more appeasement with finally realizing that these “people” aren’t savable. Thus transitioning him from the Travis of old, with his uber need to understand all in order to be decisive, to the Travis that will acclimate to the new world. Perhaps Nick shared Strand’s wisdom of “The only way to survive a mad world is to embrace the madness” with Travis off screen.

As we set sail, the tension aboard the vessel is palpable, especially with Strand’s thrice reference to the fact that it is his boat…we get it dude, it’s your fucking boat. Strand is perhaps the most intriguing character at present, and seemingly the most prepared for what is to come (aside from Daniel…you know, due to his past history of badassery or depending on how you see it…sheer terror!). Strand is almost like an enigmatic savior, he’s met his mercy quota folks so shut the fuck up and just say thanks. He constantly reminds me of the Shakespeare’s King Richard in his Machiavellianesque nature. He’s that character that controls every situation without anyone else practicing smarts and putting together that he is the manipulating factor…throw back to his opening monologue! The way he speaks is so enthralling (shout out to the writers!) and his voice is so methodical, that I find myself not giving two shits about whether or not he is good or bad (because real talk, in this world good/bad is irrelevant; survival is the only mode that is legit). In order not to stray into tangent territory regarding Strand and the brilliance that is Colman Domingo, the relationship between Madison and Travis has gotten quite…awkward. I thoroughly enjoyed Madison of first season, she quickly adopted the mentality of “I’m not sure what the hell is happening but ‘when in Rome’”…she realizes that a change is a comin’ and if she doesn’t get on board (no pun intended) she and her children will be left to suffer the fate of the rest of the world. I was a little taken aback with her exchange with Travis over her unhappiness with not helping the people in the rando boat, for that seemed regressive, but perhaps that is what the writers were going for. While I don’t necessarily care whether they remain a couple, I do know Kim Dickens and Cliff Curtis are amazing on screen so as long as the orbit each other I’m good to go.

Jumping into the kiddy corner (no offense intended), how about a kudos to the writers to have the “kids” aboard share the most morbid commonality: sudden parental death. While we don’t know how the Clark kids lost their father, from the previous season I get the feeling that it was an unforeseen and sudden death. It will be interesting to watch the interaction and any type of acceptance between the four younger passengers; all sharing similar circumstances but displaying completely different coping mechanisms. Each have lost a parent, which is traumatizing enough without the added variable of former neighbors trying to eat you, as well as having a strained relationship with their remaining parental unit. On a side-note I found myself loving the interaction between Chris and Madison; he is obviously harboring some hatred towards his father but Chris’s moments with Madison were hopefully an establishment of something great. Perhaps his need/want for a mother will coincide with her desire for a “normal” son, in my opinion it would be a dynamic worth pursuing. I haven’t yet fully developed an opinion about Ofelia, although her whole “I got this” mentality towards dealing with her wound brought an eyebrow lift to my face and a muttering of “boss status” from my lips. Although not quite sure about Ofelia, Mercedes Mason has me sold that Ofelia will be a force. On to Nicholas, oops! Sorry, I meant Nick. I’m hoping that my observation that his character seems to be over his withdrawal is inaccurate, and will at this time accept that due to current extremities, perhaps he is running on adrenaline stemming from the avoidance of being eaten which happens to overlap (at the moment) his withdrawal symptoms. It would be an injustice to his character and the story if this problem, which was so prevalent to his character set-up in the first season, isn’t addressed further. What a fucking dope (pun definitely intended) story-line…to see how an old world problem (addiction) combats with the problems of the new world (psychopathic pirates(?) and zombies). Now that’s a detox from hell…take note Intervention people, if Nick can do it, you can do it!

I recently had a discussion with a friend about Alicia’s character. While she feels that Alicia is annoying and expendable, and I quote “bitch needs to go!”, I find myself investing in her character and out of all, looking forward to her progression as well as having the continuous feeling that her transition will be the most profound…so in true adult fashion, I combated with “bitch needs to stay!”. It’s disconcerting that some don’t see that her character has a resilience that the others do not possess…let’s not dismiss what she had to overcome before her completely mapped out future was snatched from her with an utter ferocity that would frighten Gordon Ramsey. “It was over before I knew it started…” In what I will now refer to as a previous life, she had lost a parent without warning, had a deadbeat addict brother, and her remaining parent was so wrapped up in little Nicky’s issues that Alicia pretty much had to fend for herself. I had to remind my friend that Alicia, maybe above all, has lost the most. She had built a future to which had been brightly painted, she had done everything right, and now none of that matters—absolutely everything she had worked for is bullshit in this new society. While the others have seemingly began acclimating to the “us” v “them” reality, she yearns to hold on to the idea of humanity as it was. However, I refuse to equate that yearning with idiocy…perhaps, she serves as some sort of morality structure for the group…the hand that holds to humanity, but only time will tell. Admitting a bit of hypocrisy, I initially yelled at her for ignoring the age old warning of ‘stranger danger’ and displaying moronic behavior, but after pondering I realized that of course that would be her move! We as viewers are fully aware of the danger people can pose in this shitty new world. But…TWD mentality does not apply—we have had 6 seasons to be privy to this world, while she still only knows the world of “was”. While I would never tell anyone how they should feel about a character, I do urge you to take into account the importance of character development and how, especially in this universe, it crucial to overall theme and success of the show. As I sigh with preparation of making a comparison, in the first couple of season who didn’t want Carl or Carol eaten at one point?? And now we shudder at that particular thought.

The slow-motioned, intimate scene where the characters meet for dinner was a nice dichotomy—in the midst of this catastrophe our characters still want to preserve a form of connection and normalcy, even if it is with, for lack of better word, strangers. Of course, this is short-lived since Chris decided to Michael Phelp’s it into the ocean. I mean, what the shit?? At least take some of your clothes and shoes off…and considering the depth, maybe a life jacket. Setting aside that sensibility, just get the FUCK out of the water. Okay, obviously they didn’t know about the walkers (waders?) in the water but I know those assholes have seen Jaws. Hopefully that log book provides some sort of substance; otherwise Nick went all Magellan for no other reason than dramatic effect.

In conclusion of this ridiculously long, opinionated tale, I’ll end with what I take as the most terrifying part of the episode: Jack’s “I’ll see you soon”. Jesus-fucking-Christ, could he be any creepier with a side of goddamn psycho?! The crazy, and tad bit of masochist, in me is so ready to put a face to this voice and see all the shenanigans he’ll bring to our merry band of sea-farers. I easily see him as the catalyst to Alicia’s epiphany of realization that her for connection put them all in danger and that the world has forever changed. Like seriously, forever baby girl. One always hopes that humanity will ban together in order to fully combat the threat of what is extinguishing them, but the emergence of our id within and its staking claim in monstrous form overrides our need to retain our humanity in times of crisis. What is so ironic is that no one has realized that it wasn’t the dead that brought humanity to its knees, it was the living.

All I can be certain of at this time is that I have taken the needed medication to conquer my seasickness and strapped on a life jacket…so count me in.

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