Fear the Walking Dead, S1 Ep6 – The Good Man

“The only way to survive a mad world is to embrace the madness.”

Fear the Walking Dead, S1 Ep6The first season of Fear the Walking Dead finally plunged into the madness of the zombie apocalyptic world, with a horde of walkers unleashed on the frightened soldiers and our main characters finally fleeing the carnage, but not without some sacrifices. All in all, it was a solid season ender and left much to look forward to in the second season.

There were some memorable moments, particularly the opening and closing scenes, which were filled with powerful and evocative imagery, a trait that was one of the strengths of the series as a whole. This was also the most action-packed episode, with some long-awaited walker-bashing, the kind that The Walking Dead does so well. It was thrilling to finally see the characters fighting back and stabbing/shooting/crushing attacking walkers. These bloody confrontations were what the whole show had been building up to and it delivered. And it helped that there were strong performances from everyone in the cast.

The finale, however, was not without its shortcomings. Having seen the season in its entirety, I have to wonder why we spent two episodes on the whole military-safe-zone subplot when it fizzled out so quickly and left very little impact. When the soldiers arrived, there was a lot of potential for them to be the dark and intriguing antagonists of the season, but the whole thing ended up disappointing and they were all walker-bait before we could even care enough about them. Sure, this facilitated certain key events like Nick meeting Strand and Daniel unleashing the walker horde, but in the end, the characters still pursued their original plan of getting out of the city.

For what it was worth, the military subplot kept the characters in one place long enough for the rest of the city to reach a chilling level of destruction and decay, so that by the time they are driving off to Strand’s lavish beach-side mansion, they can see what their world has become.

Strand continues to be an intriguing character and I wish he hadn’t been added at the last minute. I would have wanted to spend more time with him, but it looks like we will be getting that next season. Like Daniel, he’s one of the most pragmatic characters of the show and his opportunism and general cold-heartedness will surely help him survive. He is definitely an asset to the family at the moment, though how much they can trust him is another issue.

Fear the Walking Dead, S1 Ep6Good old Nick seems to have gotten over his addiction really quickly, but at least he is clear-headed enough for what’s to come. To his credit, he has come a long way from the junkie we saw back in the first episode, and it looks like he is determined to do right by his family. He and his mom had a sweet moment in this episode.

We already know how strong and fiercely protective Madison is of her family so it’s good to see that the others also have her back. And for once, even Travis stepped up this episode. It was annoying at the start to watch him let the soldier go only to have that same guy shoot Ofelia in the arm. (DAMNIT, TRAVIS!) But then, he let out his pent-up rage and various other emotions by pummeling the guy (seemingly to death.) As much as this violent outburst shocked the others, they did not mourn his victim (unlike the other person who died in this episode.)

Fear the Walking Dead, S1 Ep6Travis, who has had such a prominent role and who has been a constant frustration this season, finally made a tough call and saw it through, although, as both Liza and Madison predicted, it broke him. The final scene with him and Madison on the beach was quite moving.

R.I.P. Liza. I’m sorry to see her go as she was proving to be a dependable and competent member of the group. But a season finale in The Walking Dead universe can never be complete without a major character death (Griselda’s doesn’t really count since she was old and infirm to begin with.) This was an interesting inversion of Madison’s asking Liza to put her down should she get infected by the zombie virus. And though Madison was willing to do the deed, Travis opted to take the shot himself. (She can now go back to filming season four of Orange is the New Black.)

Fear the Walking Dead, S1 Ep6It was a heartbreaking but necessary act that will surely haunt them in the upcoming season. Chris’s reaction to seeing his mother’s lifeless body was particularly harrowing. There will be some serious fallout, but this is only the beginning of the horrors they will have to endure if they want to survive.

Fear the Walking Dead‘s first season concluded with a bloody, thrilling, and tragic episode that left the characters in an interesting place for what’s to come. While slow and sometimes bogged down with unnecessary subplots, the show still had enough to distinguish itself from The Walking Dead while also maintaining some of the gripping tension that makes that universe so compelling. Though it was some time coming, now that the walkers are taking over the world, we have truly reason enough to Fear the Walking Dead.