Fear the Walking Dead Review by John Keegan

Fear the Walking Dead 2.07: Shiva

Fear the Walking Dead 2.07: Shiva

Written By:
David Wiener
Directed By:
Andrew Bernstein

Sometimes the best thing a show with boring characters can do is kick over all the narrative anthills and shove everyone into physical and psychological spaces that alter everything on a fundamental level.  And for the first time in the short history of Fear the Walking Dead, it feels like the chaos without has finally resulted in chaos within.  All the accumulated trauma and insanity has finally come home to roost.

              


 

Celia is the catalyst, but she’s only bringing to the surface what has been waiting in the shadows since the beginning of the season.  I love the symmetry of the season beginning with fire and the mid-season finale ending with it.  One fire set them on their present course with no hope of return, and in many respects, how can any of the current survivors believe it will ever be the same again?  The refuge they had hoped to find is gone, in every sense of the word.

 

For all that the writers have been trying to sell the notion that Maddie is a take-no-prisoners momma bear, it’s not really until this episode that her actions follow through on the promise in a post-apocalyptic pragmatic fashion.  She decides that the best way to protect Nick and even Strand, as she promised Thomas she would, is to feed Celia to the Infected locked away on the compound.  While we never actually see Celia die, the intent is plain as day and elevates Maddie in a big way. 

 


 

Nick is a fascinating character again, because the writers have proven once and for all that they haven’t forgotten that he is, fundamentally, an addictive personality.  It may not be drugs anymore, but he is walking around wearing the viscera of the Infected like it’s the best new high.  And Celia’s concept that the Infected are just people moving beyond death (paraphrasing her mad ravings) adds to the mystique.  Nick feels like he’s conquering death itself every time he walks among the dead, and that’s one of the most interesting spins on the titular metaphor we’ve seen in quite some time.

 

Chris loses it completely in this episode and brings Travis down with him.  As much as Maddie started out weak and has found her strength (it seems) in this episode, Travis started out stronger and has slowly but surely demonstrated indecision and inability to wrap his head around the demands of this new world.  And so he places himself in exile with his son because it’s the only path he can fathom right now.  It seems obvious that the characters that survive the current crisis will eventually intersect and move forward together again, but changed in fundamental ways.



 

And then there’s Daniel.  In an episode soaked in the mental illness of several of its characters, it only makes sense that Daniel’s past sins and the rising level of guilt associated with them would overwhelm his sanity.  Daniel was the logical choice to die at this point of the story, especially since he became locked in a philosophical battle with Celia and the two of them thematically had to go down together.  His final moments had some of the best imagery this series has produced to date as the Infected took on the faces of his own personal dead.

 

Fear the Walking Dead is still trying to find its own voice, and driving its characters insane is probably the smartest direction to take.  They were all far too well-adjusted given the circumstances they were constantly facing, and seeing it all finally take its toll was highly entertaining.  And perhaps even better, the episode wasn’t artificially extended to 90 minutes with more commercials, so there was never a moment that the tension wasn’t building.  This gives me great hope that the rest of the second season will deliver on the potential revealed in this mid-season finale.


Our Grade:
B+
Your Grade: B+
(Based on 2 grades)
The Good:
  • The psychological collapse of so many characters was well-explored
  • There’s no way to know where they’re going from here and that’s a big plus
The Bad:
  • I almost wish they had spent a little more time at the compound to build up Celia’s influence

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Fear the Walking Dead by - 5/23/2016 9:39 AM150 views

Your Responses

Flaco_Jones
Flaco_Jones
CONCURRING OPINION

Grade: B
Agree with wishing they spent more time at the compound. It seems to be a theme this season that they keep wrapping things up so quickly. I wonder if having the characters split up will change that, or if that will only last an episode or two as well. Overall it was decent, though I saw the Daniel thing coming from a mile away. Odd they didn't show Celia again. You think she made it out?
See 1 More Concurring Opinion
SElliotFisher
SElliotFisher
CONCURRING OPINION

Grade: A-
There was certainly a lot going on in this midseason break both in drama and action. It seems like everyone has had a second helping of Kool-Aid at the compound. There was definitely an elevated (but enjoyable) level of crazy going on in this episode amongst the characters. I really hope that Travis can get Chris’s head on straight, as I like his character enough not want him to not have to look at the flowers. I wasn’t a big fan of the sudden revelation that Daniel was hearing voices two episodes back, but I did enjoy the final result of it in this episode, though I don’t believe for a moment that he was consumed by the fire. I suspect we’ll get a character more at peace with his dark past when the back end of the season picks up. I really loved that the ‘real’ Madison finally came out in the open. While her locking Celia in the room with the undead was bit telegraphed, it still was a very, very satisfying scene to watch. I was slightly disappointed with Nick abandoning the group towards the end when his resiliency was needed most. It felt too much like when Carol decide to Carol decided to leave Alexandria with the threat of Negan right around the corner or Superman being off world when Kara has to take on an army of Kryptonian’s. If you (the producers) choose to have a duex ex machina in your story, you cannot just conveniently misplace them when you want to create an intense and uncertain moment for the rest of the characters. Other than that though, I truly enjoyed this episode.

Registered Participants can leave their own Concurring/Dissenting Opinion and receive Points and Loot! Why not sign in and add your voice?

Comments

Log in to add your own voice and receive points by leaving good comments other users like!