Fear the Walking Dead Review by John Keegan

Fear the Walking Dead 2.11: Pablo & Jessica

Fear the Walking Dead 2.11: Pablo & Jessica

Written By:
Kate Erickson
Directed By:
Uta Briesewitz

I haven’t been inspired to review Fear the Walking Dead since its return from the mid-season hiatus, largely because I feel as though the writers squandered much of the narrative gains that the first half of the season provided.  The characters have seemed to be wandering aimlessly through stagnant waters of plot that make some of the slower stretches of the parent series seem lightning fast by comparison.

 


 

This episode is not much better in that regard, and enjoyment is going to depend greatly on one’s interest in the characters.  A lot of time is spent navel-gazing on what the characters are doing, yet the resulting material doesn’t necessarily say very much about the characters themselves.  This is even true of Nick, the one character that seems to be getting the most individual attention; so much time is being spent adding new faces to the various crowds that there is little time to actually explore what the existing characters are thinking.

 

A lot of time is spent on the squabbling between mother and daughter as Maddie tries to deal with the fact that Alicia isn’t being the wallflower she had been at the beginning of the story.  Alicia is coming to realize that she has to find her own way in this new world, and of course that stands as a fairly obvious metaphor to the need for any child to establish an identity beyond the confines of his or her parents. 

 


 

That said, Alicia’s plan feels less like someone starting to think for herself than getting tired of doing a thorough job of clearing the hotel.  It takes very little time to point out the problems with this plan, and there is still likely to be a remnant of Infected to deal with, locations unknown.  At least the long, methodical process of room-by-room clearance would have meant knowing which areas were unoccupied!  It was a nice enough set piece for the series, but it also never felt like Maddie (or anyone else was in actual danger).

 

Meanwhile, Nick is settling into his new life at the colonia, and that includes some eye-rollingly predictable relationship changes with Luciana.  Nick is demonstrating his value to the colonia in ways that make sense, I’ll grant that; much of what he does in this episode proves out everything that Strand said about him in the first season.  It makes him useful to people like Alejandro, who keeps the colonia together on false pretense of surviving a bite from one of the Infected.  Is the series trying to set up Nick as a future leader for the colonia? I just don’t see that happening, so the overall point of Nick’s subplot seems elusive at best.  A lot of time is being spent on something that the audience has little reason to hold interest in, other than Nick’s presence.

 


 

Those frustrated with the pacing of the season might take some small comfort in the notion that a lot of these extraneous characters piling up all over the place make great cannon fodder for season finale death tolls.  Of course, each new potential victim also insulates the main characters from getting bitten or otherwise killed.  And meanwhile, each new addition requires time to be spent justifying their place in the story.  Fear the Walking Dead is becoming dangerously bloated in this second half of the second season, even as it attempts to forge its own identity by exploring death from the viewpoint of a different culture.


Our Grade:
C+
Your Grade: B
(Based on 2 grades)
The Good:
  • Alicia’s plan was at least mildly exciting compared to the rest
  • Nick continues to be an engaging character
The Bad:
  • Way too many new characters to spend precious time introducing
  • Everyone at the hotel came out of those various crises far too cleanly

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 - 9/12/2016 9:16 AM184 views

Your Responses

Flaco_Jones
Flaco_Jones
CONCURRING OPINION

Grade: C
A big letdown after the previous episode finally felt like it was, maybe, going somewhere. I find the Chris and Travis story line to be the most interesting, yet they've spent the least amount of time on it. But hey, there's time for a montage of a couple guys making pills. This series as a whole has sort of let me down for turning into a retread of the main series. Was hoping for much more of the series to be set in the early days of the outbreak.
SElliotFisher
SElliotFisher
DISSENTING OPINION

Grade: A-
I couldn’t disagree with you more about the second half of this season or this particular episode. I have found the pacing on Fear to be quite refreshing compared to the later seasons of the main series. The Colonia takes me back to the days at the quarry and the farm. It was nice when the prime series kept a slower pace from time to time and it’s appreciated here on Fear. I think Fear has for the moment escaped the trap of its parent series that in my opinion has de-evolved into nothing but death porn. The original premise that no one is safe was an interesting hook at first, but now the primary series has become too overly dependent on it. I like the fact that in one and a half seasons of ‘Fear’ so far we’ve only really lost two members of the original group, Griselda Salazar and Liza Ortiz, I believe Daniel Salazar is still alive. Why can’t the main group survive as whole for a while especially when many of them are street smart enough to do so. The idiots at the Alexander Free Zone made it well into the apocalypse before they started to drop like red shirts on an away mission. I really enjoyed Madison’ segment in this episode she’s finally starting to evolve into a competent leader. Don’t get me wrong I still love Nick, but a good team can’t rely on just one all-star, so I’m glad he’s been separated from the main group for a time. And Madison’s idea for setting up the hotel as a safe harbor is a smart one. Madison’s ability to come to terms with the fact that Alicia is grown up and doesn’t need to be treated like a porcelain doll was only able to come about due to the absence of Nick. Madison’s belief that Nick’s addiction makes him incompetent has been the driving force behind the dysfunction in their family and her inability to resolve any other family issues. This is a very realistic issue for any family dealing with the addiction of a loved one. In the end the only one who can truly help an addict quit is the addict themselves but many families tear themselves up in denial of that fact. Now that she’s free of Nick as a distraction and Nick is free of her as deterrent I can see both beginning to evolve into better people. As for Alicia’s idea to lead the dead off the pier what’s wrong with that? I live on an Island and I say it was a very sound plan. That was definitely not a bather’s beach; the surf was way too strong. Alicia recognized that the rough surf in that area would prevent the majority of the walkers from coming back on land and more importantly it was an immediate evacuation of the dead from the hotel that her mom needed. Madison knows that it wouldn’t be long before some type of marauder would come along to try and take what they had, so total control quickly was important and recognizing Alicia’s idea as sound she took the risk. Telling the story of the Colonia through Nick is great as well. How many times in the parent series have they alluded to various walled towns that popped up after the outbreak only to have fallen not to the dead, but other men. We never really saw that tail completely played out before, until now. I just hope that all those women and children are allowed to survive somehow as Robert Kirkman seems to have some bizarre fetish about killing off Moms in his dead-verse.

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