Airtime: Sundays at 9PM on AMC
Episode: Season 2, Episode 7 (S02E07)
Tweetable Takeaway: The mid-season finale of #FearTWD leaves the group split up. But @PaulGulyas isn’t buying it in this week’s review
I’m just not buying it.
That’s what sums up my feelings about where FEAR THE WALKING DEAD is at the moment. I don’t understand character motivation. I don’t believe people, even ones traumatized by the slow death of the world as they know it before their eyes, would act like this. I like so much of the cast, but I don’t like many of the characters they portray. Something just rings false to me. And it’s making me not care about the show.
We last left off with Chris fleeing from the safety of Celia’s compound after being caught holding a knife over the sleeping Madison and Alicia. First of all, I don’t believe that Chris would actually kill or even harm either of them. Alicia and he were almost being set up as romantic interests it seemed last season. In all of season one, Chris was good-hearted. What has changed? Yes he had to bash a still alive guy’s brains out to end his suffering, but why does that make him want the blood of the people he knows best in this world? Why was he unable to shoot intruders coming on the boat, but is supposedly ready to off his step-mom and sister? When Travis catches up with him, Chris is holding a small child hostage with a gun. He then takes a swipe at his own father with a knife. Yes, Chris punched Travis after his mom’s “funeral” but that’s a far cry from being able to slash your own dad, close range, where his blood will probably spill all over you.
So Chris has inexplicably lost it. Fine. When Nick finds Travis to bring him back, Travis refuses to come, saying Chris isn’t ready to be around people, and he needs his father.
Meanwhile, Daniel Salazar has lost his mind, too! Remember when he started hearing voices a couple episodes ago? Well it’s back, and it’s now comes with a cool visual hallucination as well. He’s seeing his deceased wife, who was killed last season. Does Daniel have a history of schizophrenia we don’t know about? What is triggering this spat of recent hallucinations? Daniel is coming from a pretty damn crazy life already. And yeah he’s never dealt with the undead rising or anything, but we did in a flashback see that he was forced to shoot a man point blank in the face when he was, like, seven. That messes you up. So how has he been able to keep his cool this long, and what now has got him seeing and hearing things?!
Daniel starts attacking people, seemingly for no reason. He even slashes one guy in the face. (Why are characters so quick to slash other human beings in this show?!) That lands him a nice chair he gets tied up to in the basement somewhere, where people have to bring him food. He ends up going full crazy person when he starts listening to his dead wife tell him about how his sins were transferred to her and how he never buried her, and how he must go back to do so. Daniel ends up escaping and setting fire to the part of the basement where Celia is keeping all her zombie loved ones (including Luis who Nick real quick got drenched in zombie guts and grabbed for her).
Which brings me to Celia. I don’t care how religious you are, it just doesn’t make ANY damn sense to me that someone could think it was a sane or logical or responsible idea to keep these monsters “alive”, even if they are locked up. I don’t care if it’s your own son, if he is a grotesque creature ACTIVELY TRYING TO EAT YOU you can not just pretend that’s not the case. She seems to think the returning as undead is some sort of religious thing. Essentially the writers haven’t justified to me how this or any other character can believe the right thing to do is to keep these flesh eating monsters alive and on the property. I believed it when it was Hershel keeping them in his barn in Season 2 of The Walking Dead. I don’t believe it here.
And worst of all, why is NICK falling for it, of all people? It seems at the beginning of this season they were setting Nick and Strand up to have a sort of mentor/mentee thing going on. That suddenly vanished and now Nick is infatuated with this old religious Mexican woman. Strand was more Nick’s speed. I don’t understand why he has latched on to Celia to tightly.
Madison spends the majority of the episode brooding and warning characters about other characters. I never understood why she immediately hated Celia so much besides the fact that the writers are trying to make her that character who notices what is REALLY going on before anyone else. But when you don’t really give any clues to the audience, how are we supposed to side with Madison on this one? She’s possibly the least likable of all the characters, and unfortunately she’s front and center.
Also, and I am not one of those fans who just watches for blood and guts and headshots, but for a mid-season finale, there were VERY few zombie kills, and there have been very few the last few episodes. In this show about the undead walking, there are suspiciously few of them popping up on screen. At least The Walking Dead, seven seasons deep, keeps giving us inventive ways to make zombies scary/the killing of them fun.
In the end, Strand, Madison, Alicia, and Ofelia are headed back for The Abigail as Rosarita burns to the ground, Daniel possibly amongst the flaming wreckage. Nick is running back to see if he can save this old woman he’s known for like a day. And Travis and Chris are doing their thing out in the desert. It’s not the cliffhanger you look for in a mid-season finale. Hopefully in its hiatus, the show runners can figure out ways to smooth over some of these issues.
Paul co-created and writes for SHOWoff, a game that lets players predict what happens next on their favorite TV shows, earn points for what they get right, and see where they stack up against friends and the world (free in the iOS App store). Check out the SHOWoff app at playSHOWoff.com
Paul Gulyas | Contributor