FEAR THE WALKING DEAD Review: “We All Fall Down”

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Airtime: Sundays at 9PM on AMC
Episode: Season 2, Episode 2 (S02E02)

TB-TV-Grade-C

Tweetable Takeaway: The @FearTWD crew comes ashore, talks to a family for a little while, then leaves in a forgettable episode  


It’s official. The creators didn’t get the memo or pay attention to a gripe many viewers had with its first season: it’s slow and, despite the entire world coming down around them (which they conveniently skipped over in a time jump) nothing really happens. The second episode of the second season, “We All Fall Down” shows just how much they did NOT course correct, consisting mostly of scenes with our characters getting to know new characters who the viewer MUST know will be dead or out of the picture by the end of the hour. It resulted in a mostly forgettable episode that, once the credits rolled, leaves no real lasting impacting going into the third episode. It may as well not even exist.

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The episode begins with two small children playing on the beach while zombies wash ashore. We fear for them until we realize they are protected by a chain link fence. Back on The Abigail we learn that a ship with a pretty formidable weapon (deduced by the destruction of the capsized boat they encountered) is on their tail chasing them.

They decide to duck into a cove on Catalina Island with a ranger station that might have some info on where to go, or where NOT to go, next. It turns out this ranger station is inhabited by the two small children we saw in the front of the episode, along with their mother, father, and older brother. Travis, Madison, Alicia, Nick, and Chris go out to meet them, while Strand, Daniel, and Ofelia stay on The Abigail–Daniel staying specifically to keep an eye on Strand and make sure he doesn’t ditch the rest of their party while they’re on shore.

The people living at the ranger station prove to be a friendly family. The father, creepy though amicable enough, is a self proclaimed “amateur anthropologist” and brings up Travis’ Mauri heritage. How he respects that tribe for having such ties to their land. He intends to be the same way–to plant himself firmly on his ground, for bad or good, and wait out the storm.

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Here’s where the episode stops making sense. The family has a good set-up. They are fenced in and protected. They are stocked with supplies. We see the wife tending a fruitful garden. They have weapons and a nearby town for more supplies if desperate (though yes, at this point it would be dangerous to enter, in time they could probably figure something out). They have ELECTRICITY, as it was the wife flicking a light on and off that got Madison’s attention in the first place. But for some reason, despite ALL of this, Travis insists that by deciding to stay there, the family, specifically the father, is “giving up.”

And despite ALL of this, the wife insists that, when The Abigail raises anchor, Madison take her two small children with them, onto a boat that has LESS supplies, LESS food, and is traveling on UNSAFE waters, as Madison explained to her early on. And most baffling of all, Madison agrees and even fights Travis on it. Where is the reasoning? It is completely contradictory. In one scene the father literally tells Travis that at least half of the country is gone and that the border is closed, city’s overrun or burned by Napalm. They are practically living in a beach resort. WHY should they leave? And WHY would a mother, even if she did expect them all to perish, send her small children away to a very possibly worse fate at sea?

Not long after Madison agrees to take the kids, Nick presents some information: he suspects the father is planning on “Jonestowning” himself and the family; he found some pills that are pretty much only useful for that. Okay, NOW it seems like the only option is to take the kids. But Madison didn’t have that information when she so quickly agreed to do it. It makes her seem dumb, frankly, and arrogant, and overly dramatic. And as a headliner on the show, the writers need to start making her more likeable fast.

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In the end, the little girl ends up taking a poison pill by herself (why?) and dying, turning, and ripping her mother’s throat out. When our “heroes” try to take the little boy, the older brother shows up with a rifle and takes him back. And they’re off. Not sure where they’re going, an enemy boat out there somewhere. So EXACTLY where they left off before the episode started. I’m all for self-contained stories, but the second episode of the season? Momentum should be building here, you’re trying to hook people before they give up on the show.

The only new thing we learned that may impact the next episode was from Daniel’s storyline. Suspicious of Strand’s real motives, he searches and finds a hidden compartment on the boat, with a big ass gun and some maps of Mexico (although if this boat has a DESALINIZATION machine, something tells me Strand would also have some sort of digital maps instead of the old fashioned paper kind). It appears Strand is heading to Mexico, but for what? He continues to be one of the most intriguing parts of the show, but can he save it? We’ll have to wait and see.

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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

Twitter: @paulgulyas / paulgulyas.tumblr.com

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