Fear the Walking Dead, S2 Ep8 – Grotesque

Fear the Walking Dead returned for its mid-season premiere with a quiet, reflective episode that centered on Nick, as he wandered around Mexico after having broken away from the main group. Nick was always one of the most fascinating characters of the show, and it was great to spend some more time with him. He’s been involved in the chaos of the world for longer than most, having been the first person on the show to encounter walkers, way back in the pilot.

Fear the Walking Dead, S2 Ep8 - GrotesqueAnd so far he’s shown himself to be one of the keenest survivors, unflinchingly covering himself in walker blood and guts so that he can walk among the dead. But being a junkie he’s always been a bit damaged, and in this episode we see how forlorn he has become, after the burning of Celia’s compound during the mid-season finale of Fear the Walking Dead.

He manages to scrape by as he continues his lone odyssey across Mexico and he encounters all sorts of problems, walker-related and others. He loses his supplies to a protective mom with a baseball bat, and he is forced to try to eat a cactus or drink his own urine. Nick sure isn’t squeamish and he’s willing to do anything to survive the (in this episode, literally) dog-eat-dog world. After being injured by dogs, he watches a horde of walkers tear the poor creatures apart and he joins in the feast. It almost looks like he has given up on his humanity and is more at ease walking among the dead.

Fear the Walking Dead, S2 Ep8 - GrotesqueThis episode made good use of some flashbacks, giving us more insight into Nick’s character before the events of Fear the Walking Dead. We see glimpses of him during his rehab and hear about his father who was apparently struggling with depression. There was also the heartbreaking moment when Madison gives him the news of his father’s death and he relapses. Through all these flashbacks, we get a better handle on how Nick ended up in his fatalistic frame of mind, and how easily he can blend in with the dead. He has an uncanny ability to adapt to any situation, however dire, and given how compelling a character he is to watch, I am hoping that we will see more of him as Fear the Walking Dead progresses.

Fear the Walking Dead, S2 Ep8 - GrotesqueLuckily, Nick is not lost to despair as a group of fairly altruistic survivors pick him up and take him to a doctor. His injuries are tended to and he is given food and water. He finds himself in a vibrant community (almost like the ones that have started popping up on The Walking Dead) and judging by the hopeful expression on his face, Nick is ready to give life another chance after all. It’s a strangely positive note to end on after an emotionally dark episode.

In the next few weeks, we’ll see how the rest of the main cast fares as they go on their separate journeys. So far, it seems like Fear the Walking Dead has benefited from having the group split up, as their dysfunctional dynamics only served to weigh them down. We will now get to see how each smaller group copes with their new circumstances, and how they will manage to survive.