Fear the Walking Dead Review by John Keegan

Fear the Walking Dead 2.12: Pillar of Salt

Fear the Walking Dead 2.12: Pillar of Salt

Written By:
Carla Ching
Directed By:
Gerardo Naranjo

It’s never a good sign when characters start making decisions that are wildly illogical and even out of character for the sake of pushing the plot along.  And that’s exactly what happens in this episode, which takes some relatively interesting character beats and ruins them in rage-inducing fashion.  It’s one thing when the characters make bad decisions out of ignorance of the new world they have found themselves in, and quite another when they do things in direct contradiction of logic they outlined just moments earlier!

 


 

Madison is suddenly leading the hotel-bound survivors, which is a bit abrupt, but all well and good if she can apply some of her emerging pragmatism to new developments.  I would think that this is a role better served for Alicia at this point, given that she’s the one stepping up to the plate, and maybe her tensions with her mother later in the episode are meant to reflect this oversight.  But let’s face it, Maddie is the one that makes a lot of inexplicable mistakes in this episode, and the impact of those mistakes is amplified by her assumed role.

 

Ilene stabs Strand and gets subsequently confined to quarters.  There is essentially no attempt to determine why she stabbed him or what more could be in store.  Further, she makes a big deal out of the fact that the mission to trade with the gang is only about saving Strand, not seeing to Elena’s concerns about her nephew.  In other words, as a leader, Maddie is playing favorites, something that Alicia once again calls her out on later in the episode. 

 


 

It also makes her decisions regarding the possible sightings of Nick all the more hypocritical.  She’s unwilling to help Elena (or further gain her loyalty by at least pretending to care about Antonio), but as soon as the possibility of finding Nick is on the table, Maddie loses all perspective.  She just about earns a quick death at the hands of the gang for ignoring all warnings about the rules, and then breaks her own logical rules about the use of the generator, broadcasting the existence of the sanctuary at the hotel for miles around.  It’s all about creating a scenario that will pull the family back together in the end, but it relies on Maddie essentially turning into an idiot.  Having flaws in her leadership is one thing; endangering everyone for personal gain is another.

 

Meanwhile, I must admit that I enjoyed watching Nick get checked on his enormous entitlement attitude.  It’s an interesting turn, because Nick was once the downtrodden of his former society, yet here he has adopted a privileged mindset.  Luciana and Reynaldo call Nick out on it and it’s actually a fair criticism, one I can’t say I would be able to avoid myself.  This cultural exploration, including how Alejandro’s means of keeping the colonia together fits into it, is one of the better aspects of the series right now.  But it has to add up to something, and all too often, we see Nick throwing his weight around without quite seeing why it matters to the larger story.

 


 

The real surprise here, though, is the time spent on Ofelia.  After she went missing, I was wondering if the writers had come to the conclusion that they simply had no idea what to do with her.  Instead, she apparently was having some important adventures of her own.  Hopefully this means that her decision to make for the US border will have some meaning in the near future.


Our Grade:
C+
Your Grade: B-
(Based on 2 grades)
The Good:
  • Nick’s relative privilege is checked again and again, as it should be
  • Ofelia actually gets some screen time that suggests a purpose for her existence
The Bad:
  • Maddie’s decisions in this episode are infuriatingly stupid and self-serving
  • The pacing of the second half of the season has been mind-numbing

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 - 9/19/2016 10:50 AM218 views

Your Responses

Flaco_Jones
Flaco_Jones
CONCURRING OPINION

Grade: C
Infuriating is the correct word for sure. Flicking on that generator may be one of the dumbest decisions I've seen on this show, or the original Walking Dead, in a long time. Other than one episode this half season, and even that was just the ending where Chris kills the old man, this show has turned into a real disappointment.
SElliotFisher
SElliotFisher
DISSENTING OPINION

Grade: B
Did the writers from the ‘Flash’ work on this episode because that’s what it felt like? Much like the season two finale for the ‘Flash’ a really good episode was spoiled by a blatant act of selfishness and stupidity at the end. I enjoyed the direction that Madison’s character was going in both this episode and the previous, she was becoming a leader, people were looking up to her and it looked like the hotel could’ve been developed into a good setting for the show for a couple of seasons. Also with that sense of darkness I’ve always kind of felt floating over her character there was an opportunity to show the audience the flip side of the Dead-Verse. I could see Madison devolving into a villain with good intentions like the Governor. I’ve only seen one television character make such a journey from light to dark successfully before and that was Londo on Babylon 5 and it was brilliant. Unfortunately it turns out that Madison is a bigger addict then Nick and that Nick is obviously her addiction. All logic seems to fail her when it comes to dealing with her son and perhaps she does share that with the Governor whose issues seemed to stem from the loss of his daughter. I’m both intrigued and disappointed by Ophelia’s story. Her journey to find her ex-fiancé looks interesting but I was really hoping she had left to find her father. Though I suspect that in the end it’s Daniel and not her ex that the writers may be leading her towards. As for Nick I don’t see how he was humbled. He heard what the others had to say and he obviously plans to do what he wants anyway. He’s also right; he knows the world of addicts and dealers and it’s in the Colonia’s best interest to follow through on the deal A.S.A.P.

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