Thoughtful & Abstract: Fear the Walking Dead: 'The Dog'

The third episode moves the needle a bit.
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In which Kim and Shawn search for something positive to say about Fear the Walking Dead.

Kim: Maddie! Travis! Liza! Alicia! Nick! Chris! I have all of the main family’s names memorized halfway through this short series.  This is nothing short of a miracle, especially for characters I have zero regard for at this point.  But wait!  There’s the barber shop family! I don’t remember the patriarch’s name.  The chicks are Ofelia and Griselda or something similar.  Hey, I’m close and that’s all I need to be.

Having not had much of anything to say about the first two episodes, I watched this one with an open mind.  How much worse could it be?  I have several takeaways from this episode and I’ll share them with you, mostly because I am anxious to say something positive about a show I held so much hope for.

First and foremost, the neighbor lady’s name was Susan.  Susan!  I got that one right away, because they said it at least 25 times.  I even said, “Oh, Susan” out loud when the Army dudes blew her away.  I’m still confused about that.  She was in that maze between the houses.  How on earth did the Army know she was going to come out and try to eat her husband’s face off?  I mean, come on now, it’s not like anyone called them up and said, “Yo, Susan ain’t right” and pointed them in the right direction.  How in the hell did they know to be right there in that secluded backyard right at that moment to ruin a reunion of sorts?  I’m not buying it.

Travis is all out of sorts when the barber is explaining shotgun shells to his son.  This reminds me so much of Rick not wanting Carl to have a gun early on in TWD.  What bothers me most is that Travis has already seen the drug dealer not go down after being shot and run over three or four times.  He saw the crazy people downtown.  How come he suddenly had no clue that this is a dangerous time?  Oh, I know why.  As the barber put it so eloquently, “weak”.

You know who else is weak?  Nick.  He reminds me of an unshowered, young Johnny Depp wanna-be who thinks everyone’s sole purpose is to give him drugs.  If you don’t have any for him, then fuck you, he’s going to find some.  I get that he’s an addict and, to be honest, the drug-seeking behaviors are accurate.  But I really, really dislike this character.  I think his drug problem detracts from the storyline, and I think it can only serve to confuse this show even more.  To top it off, he’s got an enabling mother who is trying to do the right thing, and the little shit isn’t even grateful.  Drug addicts rarely are though, so kudos for keeping it true to character.

And hey, Alicia.  STFU about Matt.  No one compared Susan and Matt, except you (unless I missed it).  Even if they did, there was no need for the repeated “that’s not Matt.”  No shit.  It’s Susan and she wants to eat you for dinner, so shut your mouth and try being an (almost) adult.  Granted, no one in your family treats you like one, so it’s easy to see why you have child-like reactions to everything you see.

I was supposed to be saying something positive about this show, wasn’t I?  One moment while I go Google the name of the only character I totally dig on this show…Daniel!  I shall not refer to him as “The Barber” anymore.  Daniel is the only one who seems to have his shit together.  From those first moments where his instinct was to not let the dysfunctional family in his barber shop, to taking control of the situation from the back of a pickup truck, to his demeanor holed up in the bedroom with his wife and hot daughter.  He knows what’s going on, and you know what?  I think he’s seen something similar - perhaps Night of the Living Dead.  I don’t really know, but he and his wife are way too calm for all of the shit that’s going down.  In all of this craziness around them, he’s got the level head, his wife insists that Ofelia trust him, their calm demeanor that they can get through this... I think those two know a whole lot more than they’re letting on and I hope that if I’m ever caught in a zombie apocalypse, I hook up with a barber who knows what’s going down.

As we head into episode 4, I can definitely say that I am not sexually attracted to any of these characters, and yet, I’m #TeamDaniel all the way.

Shawn: I can say one thing definitively about this show - we're halfway through Season One.  I don't know if I've decided anything else here to warrant many strong opinions.  And that's not good.  I was three episodes into Fargo and already calling it one of my favorite shows ever.  I was three episodes into Sons of Anarchy and I knew I would watch it until the bitter end and I did.  I can't say that this show has moved the needle for me in either direction yet.  The only thing it really has done is serve as foreplay for the zombies I am expecting in a few weeks from The Walking Dead.

I'll start with something positive.  The episode ended with quite a bit of promise.  I liked that we are seeing some of the procedural of what is happening in the reactions to this.  The government is doing what I'd expect the government to do - cling to their procedures and try to make it fit into established protocol.  Like the military doing their little census is going to keep this outbreak under control.  The fact that people think it's all going to be alright once the military arrived is accurate and sad.   I was relieved that Daniel seemed to realize it was all a little too late.

I liked some small details.  I liked the dog and how that led to one of the bigger gore scenes of the show so far.  I was intrigued by the long shot of the airplane.  Part of me expected it to fall out of the sky like in Lost and I have read that we are getting a standalone special set in an airplane.  The military response was very similar to the Katrina aftermath.  Even the door to door and spray painting of the houses with the codes matched what they had done in New Orleans.  I thought there was even more time to dissect how some people are reacting and others are in denial.

The bad parts are still mainly character related for me.  Like you, Kim, I don't really like too many of these characters.  I'm a Maddie fan because I'd run away with her.  You know, to escape the walking dead. Daniel is going to be a leader and we've set up that he has some experience from El Salvador for that.  But why are we still talking about the desert?  Why doesn't anyone go to the mountains?  There is food and shelter and walking dead don't walk so well in the snow.  You can throw Nick to the dead for me.  I know it's probably an accurate drug addict character but he's killing me.

End on a positive.  The show is shot really well.  I think the cinematography uses the Los Angeles landscape very differently than we see in The Walking Dead.  There are many more reaction shots too.  We hold on the characters for longer beats and the scenes feel longer.  But now the games are over (literally, because why were they playing board games?) and the lights are going out.  What a way to end it.

I am still #TeamShowMeMore.

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