Fear the Walking Dead, S1 Ep4 – Not Fade Away

After an unexplained time-skip, the story picks up with our characters continuing with their seemingly normal lives while being protected by the military in a supposed “safe zone.” No walkers make an appearance here, but the shadowy actions of the soldiers hint that something insidious is at work.

Why don't I feel safe in this environment?

Why don’t I feel safe in this environment?

The soldiers surround the small community and constantly reiterate that their walled restricted area is the best place for them to be. But one can’t help but feel it’s a false sense of security. The citizens are confined in more ways than one, as they are denied crucial information on the situation beyond the walls imposed by the military. Safe though life seems to be, it is heavily controlled with the soldiers distributing rations and imposing a curfew. And people deal with limits in various ways.

Some characters go with the flow and try to work with the new system; Travis is somehow appointed one of the civilian leaders of the community, though I didn’t think he was the obvious choice for such a position. The rest of the family tries to live normal lives but struggles with the burden of what they know is out there. Nick is back to his bad habits, getting his fix on his neighbor’s morphine and being a further disappointment to his mother who, in an awesome scene, finally snaps and beats him up, unable to take any more of his destructive behavior, especially given such dire circumstances.

So far in the story, it looks like Madison’s family and the Salazars are among the few who have encountered a walker and have some more idea of the kind of deadly “infection” plaguing the land. But since they have been stuck in their neighborhood and denied answers by the military, they are in no position to do anything about it.

Fear the Walking Dead, S1 Ep4Liza has been trying to serve the community by using her skills to provide medical attention to the injured. Her son, on the other hand, has been busy trying to delve deep into the soldiers’ mysterious motives and the effect they have had on the community. He spends his time sitting on the roof and making some kind of amateur documentary about his new environment.

Fear the Walking Dead, S1 Ep4A lot of people spend time on the roof in this episode, with Chris first filming and then catching a glimpse of what he believes is life beyond the walls. Then, Madison follows suit after Chris shows her his footage. She goes even further by discreetly exploring the outside and then being met with the grim sight of bullet-ridden corpses, making the soldiers’ actions and motives even more questionable. Then, finally, Travis goes up on the roof at the end of the episode and makes a startling discovery that hopefully will prompt him to some more decisive action.

Fear the Walking Dead, S1 Ep4Because thus far, Travis has been rather frustrating as a character, especially in a show like this, where we expect our leads to be a bit more proactive and frankly, badass. Considering how much he knows about the existence of and threat posed by walkers, he should let go of the foolish notion that things are somehow just going to work themselves out. He needs to to find a way to prevent terrible things from befalling him and those he loves.

Madison has consistently proven how far she is willing to go to protect her family and Daniel Salazar has also shown himself to be a born survivor. In a powerful scene between the two of them, Daniel spoke of the horrors he witnessed as a child and how he is familiar with the kind of evil soldiers can be capable of when in the grip of fear.

The episode was slow-paced, which was necessary to let us sink into this new set of circumstances. Some new characters were introduced as well, but I wish we had the chance to develop the characters we already met. It was still interesting to see the world of the show expanded through these new developments.

As slow and almost uneventful as the most of the episode was, the ending showed that, almost as we suspected, there is a lot bubbling beneath the surface. Griselda and Nick get taken away for some mandatory “medical” treatment, which doesn’t exactly give me a lot of confidence. Things are looking grim for them both but I’m fairly sure that this isn’t the last we see of poor old Nick.

Another episode of Chris looking out the window

Another episode of Chris looking out the window

There was a little parallel of mothers and sons with Madison losing hers and Liza leaving hers behind. Maybe Liza will somehow look out for Nick so I don’t get why Madison suspected that she was responsible for Nick’s being captured in the first place. But from what we know of Madison, she will not go down without a fight.

With only two episodes left this season, I’m excited to see how things continue to fall apart on Fear the Walking Dead. The time-skip was a bold move but it somehow worked, because it changed the stakes a bit for the characters and introduced potential antagonists with a purpose more sinister than simply eating your brains.