Fear the Walking Dead Review by John Keegan

Fear the Walking Dead 2.13: Date of Death

Fear the Walking Dead 2.13: Date of Death

Written By:
Brian Buckner
Directed By:
Christoph Schrewe

Continuing some of the pacing issues that have plagued Fear the Walking Dead since its mid-season return, this episode takes a great deal of time to explore the breakdown of Travis’ relationship with Chris.  Sadly, the most shocking moment of the episode is telegraphed from the very beginning, so instead of generating tension, the slow and methodical path to that event feels endless. 

 


 

At the heart of the episode is the divide between Travis, who clings to his principles so tightly that he can barely adapt to the world he has found himself in, and Chris, who is embracing the worst aspects of that world with terrible pragmatism.  Unfortunately, neither of them are particularly dynamic characters, and Travis’ brooding reduces the moral and philosophical conflict to staring blankly at the dirt as events spiral out of his control.

 

Chris has been going down this path for a long time, culminating in his departure from the rest of the family at mid-season.  In a better world, this would be the last time we have to deal with Chris at all, but something tells me that he will be forced to experience something that will bring him back (at least theoretically) from the abyss.  And this is disheartening, because we all know that it will be explored over the course of a couple episodes at a pace that would allow paint to dry by comparison. 

 


 

Who didn’t see what Brandon was going to do to James?  And yet they stretched it out far too long, leaving very little time for Chris’ inevitable split from his father.  And since the beginning of the episode revealed that Travis was alone when he showed up with the other 17 people trying to get past the hotel gates (far fewer than the sound design suggested), there was very little tension for the audience.  We knew Chris wasn’t around, and the reason why was staring everyone in the face.  It could have been handled in half the time with more impact, especially if the consequences could be given more exploration at similar speed.

 

Meanwhile, Maddie follows up her stellar job at parenting with Alicia by deciding that now is the time to reveal the truth about Alicia’s father and his death.  Sorry, but Maddie isn’t doing it for Alicia’s sake, she’s trying to salve her own conscience.  What exactly is Alicia supposed to gain from this revelation?  What good does it serve?  It really only serves Maddie’s interests, and that does not do much to endear the character to the audience.

 


 

It’s also worth noting that there is no chemistry between Travis and Maddie at this point, no matter how much they say a lot of the right things.  Travis fled because Chris was his priority and it seems likely that he never would have returned if Chris was still at his side.  Similarly, Maddie is so fixated on Nick that Travis and Alicia still seem like they run a distant second and third (and not necessarily in that order) in her eyes.  The fractures that were present at the start of the series, if manageable, have widened considerably.  How that will play into the events of the finale remains to be seen.


Our Grade:
C+
Your Grade: B
(Based on 2 grades)
The Good:
  • Well the musical score was nice in a lot of places
The Bad:
  • Maddie’s decisions in this episode continue to be self-serving
  • The events at the ranch are utterly predictable and take far too long to play out

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 - 9/26/2016 1:15 PM116 views

Your Responses

Flaco_Jones
Flaco_Jones
CONCURRING OPINION

Grade: B-
While I do still think the show is not in a great place, I enjoyed this episode more than the two before it, mostly because the Travis and Chris dynamic really interests me. I don't disagree however that they spoiled the tension by showing Travis alone at the gates. I'm really hoping Chris is gone for a while and comes back a completely different person, maybe even a great villain, but I somehow doubt that will happen.
SElliotFisher
SElliotFisher
DISSENTING OPINION

Grade: B+
I enjoyed this episode as much as the previous one. As for pacing the only issue I have holds true for almost all original cable (and some Network) programming at this point. I’m tired of series being split into two halves. I think ‘Fear’ would’ve been better served had AMC simply allowed all fifteen episodes to air continuously from start to finish. As for Chris split from Travis I am really enjoying how fear has caused Chris to descend into such a dark place. Kudos to actor Lorenzo James Henries’ for doing what Hayden Christensen could not. Perhaps someone could convince Lucas to digitally replace Hayden with Lorenzo in Episodes II and III of the prequels. I liked how Madison finally had a moment of bonding with Alicia. The death of her first husband was something she needed to say out loud for a long time and it’s a truth that Alicia also had a right to know. Yes her epiphany came as a result of her realization that either she or Alicia could become zombie chow at any moment but regardless of the inspiration it was an important moment for the development of these characters. Travis continues to remind me of some Sesame Street refugee who can’t come to terms with the fact that Big Bird is dead. One moment I did like though was his acknowledging the passage of time. That’s been a bit of a pet peeve for me in the Dead-verse. In the primary series I don’t recall ever hearing a specific date as to when the outbreak began or what season, month or year it currently is. Travis’s outspoken observation that he can’t remember the date speaks a lot to the human condition following the fall of civilization and the grave markers now give the viewers some sense of when it all went wrong.

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