Thoughtful & Abstract: Fear the Walking Dead: “Shiva”

In which Shawn and Kim welcome a merciful end to this half season.

Shawn: We survived. I don’t care about our group. It’s you and I, T&A, that survived this torture of a season. I was so happy to have the cleansing power of Preacher before I sat down to watch the last episode of this half season, “Shiva”. I felt such a relief at the end of that episode that I almost mentally erased the whole thing when I hit “delete” on the DVR. I’ve recalled a few things to finish this chapter of our reviews. Just a few. It’s just about time to get off the pot and flush.

1.) BACK ON THE FARM. I talked about how much this new place was mirroring Hershel’s farm last episode. Well, even more this time. They could have at least thrown in a few differences to keep us off guard. Right down to the burning of the corpses and splitting up the group at the end. This felt way too familiar. This idea that we will split up the group and then we’ll spend the next half of the season wondering if they’ll ever find each other again has been done so many times it feels just lazy. It’s like Dallas shooting J.R. at the end of every season. Believe it or not, I think that if I was in a group during the apocalypse I’d pretty much believe in strength in numbers and wouldn’t split up even for a potty break.

2.) SUNDAY, BLOODY, NICK DAY. Nick is going to need a serious inventory of Tide pens to clean up his clothing. Where does he keep finding all this blood? I don’t know what to think of his story. In many ways, Nick has become the strongest character in the show, but when he starts showing a bit of logic, he adds a side of crazy. This is a real problem for the show. The characters aren’t consistent from episode to episode and even within the episodes. Watch those early drug-addicted Nick episodes and then tell me this is the same character. I know zombies, death, etc. But c’mon, man. He’s staying behind with the dead? I don’t know what we are to think of him and his survival instincts. It’s the same feeling I was getting about Daniel. Formerly the strongest member of the group and now he’s suddenly gone crazy? It’s inconsistent and a leap for me to think that in 24 hours he’s just given in and fallen apart like he seemed before his “death”?

3.) MADISON AVENUE. You know that she’s my sexy favorite. The writers aren’t doing her any favors. Two episodes ago, she’s a cold-hearted leader; last episode, she’s a gullible softie; and once again this week, she’s the de facto hard ass of the group. Try to take away her son and boom, you’re locked in with your undead friends to be eaten. Madison and Strand may end up as the new power couple. She’s going to be separated from her husband and son and on a vengeance tour next season. She looks good in her evil bitch mode. I’m hoping we get more of her gravel voice soon. Let’s just settle on her leadership role and let her Rick this thing up for awhile.

4.) THE HINDU THAT YOU DO. So with the “Shiva” reference we have continued a weird convoluted tour of the world religions and cults. Did we just ignore all the owl references from last episode and did we ever figure out what brand of religion that Celia is representing? There’s always been an underpinning of religion in any zombie show. There’s the birth and rebirth aspects. Our group sought solace and sanctuary at the church of Celia. There’s the symbol of burning and cleansing of the souls. There are characters like Strand that has very Buddhism traits. I should probably know more about Shiva in general as a goddess. If I liked this show more, I’d bother to research. I also need to think on the symbol of Nick and his covered in blood look. Is he our new savior? Are there going to be some Aztec or Mayan references next season?

I’ll let you address the crazy Chris stuff. And I’m curious how you thought it ended. Guessing you won’t be counting down the days until the start of the next part of the season.

Kim: Welp. We’ve made it through the first half of season two. Here ends my review. Much like the writers of this show, I apparently have little of value to add to the running commentary. Here, let me copy and paste the highlights of our writeups this season because I’m sure they’re still applicable.

I’m kidding. I have things to say, which I’m sure comes as a total surprise. I really think this entire season thus far was pretty much self-contained in each individual episode, so what we’ve got for a mid-season finale is an amalgam of all of the crap rolled in to one last hurrah before getting a break.

I still don’t like any of these characters. I did like Daniel in some respects, but he really just turned out to be a crazy old man who, literally, crashed and burned. Like you said, Shawn, I’m unsure when he hit that downward spiral. He seemed pretty together last week and then this just doesn’t click.

This not clicking thing is bothering me. A lot. We see so much of what we’ve already seen in The Walking Dead, including the sacrificial barn burning. We’ve seen groups split up and we’ve seen unlikely alliances. Perhaps we’re just numb to this version of storytelling because, as seasoned Walking Dead fans, we’ve seen it all already.

I have watched this front half of a season and tried to keep an open mind. I’ve tried to lean back and remind myself that I’ve watched this all unfolding for six years on another show and that this might be what it’d be like at the beginning. But there are some things I can’t get past. You mentioned inconsistency in the characters, and you’re right. But I get stuck on how I’m already suspending belief for the sake of the show itself, so I pretty much expect to see reactions that make some sort of sense. There are two really big things from this episode that stand out as making no sense, whatsoever.

First – Nick. I get that he’s been down a dark path and probably is a bit more open to the idea that he’s infallible because of all he’s been through in little life. The scene with him leaving his family behind and walking into the horde of oncoming walkers was – well – ridiculous. So we’re supposed to believe he’s just going to wander around, living as a walker, and be okay? I mean, at this point with the redundant writing, I fully expect he’s going to become Morgan and find this new spiritual path, blah blah blah. Whatever. I hope it rains, hard, and he gets eaten alive the moment the series comes back on. Seriously.

Then, there’s Chris and, by extension, Travis. First of all, what did I miss? How did Travis’ feet get so messed up? I mean he’s been hanging out on a boat and in a posh little villa. Are we really so desperate for drama that we’ll willingly believe that his overnight romp through the fields has resulted in that much damage? Did I miss something? I mean, I walk a three-day, 50-mile challenge walk every year and at worst, I’ve gotten a blister or two. What is wrong with your feet, Travis? Now…

Yes, we got a little bit of setup of Chris going off the deep end, but he seems to be at least 90% gone at this point. So, here you’ve got Travis who has to punch his own kid in the face to get him to calm down. And, oh look! They’ve decided they’re going to stay together and have crazy Nick tell irritating Madison that he didn’t find them. Just where in the hell do they think they’re staying? I mean I don’t think that guy and his son, are going to open their home. And if they do, I’m pretty sure this show jumps the shark right then and there. As a parent, there is no way in hell I don’t go after someone who holds my kid at gunpoint, no matter what the reason. I’m pretty sure they don’t get to stay in that shack.

Wasn’t Travis aware that they had to leave the following day? I mean he wasn’t there when Celia granted Nick and his family a reprieve, so he must be thinking they’re going back to the boat. He’s got to know if they make it to the boat, they’re not staying anchored anywhere. Doesn’t he love Madison? It’s not like you just temporarily get your own apartment to work through some things then meet back up at the bar. So, you’re telling me that he’s just giving all of that up to help his kid through a rough time? Hell no. You people have not been through enough as a group to believe that, in the end, you’ll all be reunited. This is implausible. It’s just as implausible as Madison weaning Nick off of pain killers. That’s just not the way this works. That’s not how any of this works.

This show is carried by the fans of The Walking Dead who realize that February through October is an excruciatingly long time to go without their show. The actors are likely fine in their own right, but their characters are deplorable. The writing is lazy and redundant. There is nothing redeeming about this show. Indeed, the owls of last week were a symbol – an omen – that nothing good is coming of this show.

T&A out.

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Shawn Bourdo

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