Fear the Walking Dead Review by John Keegan

Fear the Walking Dead 2.14/2.15: Wrath/North

Fear the Walking Dead 2.14/2.15: Wrath/North

Written By:
Kate Barnow and Dave Erickson
Directed By:
Stefan Schwartz and Andrew Bernstein

Coming into the season finale, there was little reason to think that Fear the Walking Dead would be able to pull out of the narrative death spiral that has plagued the season since its midpoint.  While the pacing of the double-episode was still problematic, it did manage to deliver what might very well be one of the best scenes of the series to date.

 


 

Travis has been one of the more disappointing characters in that he showed some initial ability to adapt to the new world, but then slipped back into a meek and often semi-catatonic state throughout much of the second season.  This forced Maddie to step up and take the reins, which hasn’t exactly ended well so far, and it put him in a terrible position for helping his son Chris regain his moral compass.  It was all destined to end in tragedy, but many thought it would mean Chris stepping into a villainous role and Travis having to reluctantly address that situation.

 

The reality was dramatically more impressive.  Travis learns that Brandon and Derek killed a badly wounded Chris in cold blood and snaps.  This is a man who gave up everything to save his son’s soul, failed, and has discovered the consequence of that failure was his son’s death.  “Wrath” ends with an extended scene of Travis brutally beating Brandon and Derek to death, as Maddie and others are forced to watch it happen behind locked doors.  The camera never flinches from showing how far gone Travis is, and that makes it a wonder to behold. 

 


 

Maddie set up the rule that attacking anyone in the group means exile, and Travis ends up killing three people in the process of exacting vengeance.  She has to choose the safety of the hotel or leaving with Travis, and it’s her own fault.  Exposing the hotel meant drawing Travis, Brandon, and Derek there at the same time, after all.  While the writers never quite address the psychological and emotional rift between Travis and Maddie, her decision to go with him and Alicia at least speaks to it.

 

The real puzzle here is Strand.  While I’m not surprised that he chose to stay behind in the safety of the hotel, how does he think he’ll escape punishment for helping Travis and the others escape the consequences of even more violence and death?  It’s perhaps a bit redemptive, but since there are still others left alive at the hotel, does this mean we’re not done with that setting?  Or was this supposed to be the end of Strand’s story?  With the gates wrecked on the way out, will Strand end up at the camp everyone seems to be moving towards in the final hour?

 


 

That brings me to Nick.  While he’s typically the most compelling character on the show, Travis stole the limelight this time for sure.  The events at the colonia were surprisingly bland, even as Nick was slowly but surely taking the leadership from Alejandro.  The elimination-by-Infected of the Narcos was almost perfunctory in its lack of dramatic impact, for example.  Nick ends up taking charge of leading the residents of the colonia in the direction of an apparent refugee camp, but he doesn’t do it for them.  He does it to keep Luciana at his side, because they are important to her.

 

It’s fairly ironic, then, that Nick’s attempt to play Moses blows up in his face.  People end up dead and scattered, Luciana is wounded, and Nick is kicked unconscious by soldiers wielding rifles.  One can assume it’s they are from the same location as the soldier that took custody of Ofelia, since everyone seems to be destined to come together wherever the soldiers are camped.  The final moments set the stage for the third season, but because Nick’s latest twist of fate isn’t nearly as compelling as Travis’ breakdown, it leaves the audience a bit underwhelmed.


Our Grade:
B
The Good:
  • Travis loses it and the results are absolutely perfect
  • Characters are forced to deal with the consequences of their mistakes
The Bad:
  • The downfall of the colonia seems more than a little underwhelming
  • Ofelia must have been the worst hide-and-seek player as a kid

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 - 10/3/2016 11:28 AM156 views

Your Responses

Flaco_Jones
Flaco_Jones
CONCURRING OPINION

Grade: B
This below average season ended on a decent note, well at least in Wrath, my favorite of the two episodes. Have to agree with the assessment on the second hour and the colonia specifically. I was satisfied with the end of the Chris story line, but hate how every decision Maddie has made this half season has been terrible and just there to create more problems. So out of character from where she was in season 1.

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