Fear The Walking Dead aims to answer the question we’ve all had for years — how did things fall apart in the zombie apocalypse? Last Sunday’s pilot episode introduced us to a struggling family and a world not ready for the plague about to consume it.
The hour and a half debut was heavy on character development with the walkers confined to the opening and closing. We’re introduced to the Clark family — Madison (beleaguered Mom and teacher), Travis (out of his element stepdad), Nick (heroin-addict son and all-around screwup), and Alicia (typical bratty high school daughter). Extended family include Travis’ ex-wife Liza and their emo son Chris, who presently feels estranged from his father due to his “new family.” Outside of Nick being a junkie, there isn’t too much drama in this household — their days are spent aloof to the world around them while they ponder individual issues (Alicia dating, Nick trying to get clean, Travis trying to be accepted by his new family etc.).
This ties into the theme of impending doom that’s quietly shown throughout the episode. We see “missing” signs for young kids and hear constant sirens. And let’s not forget Nick’s opening sequence where he runs for his life after his girlfriend turns into a flesh-eater. But it’s not until seeing Nick’s dealer turn that the parents come to terms with what they’re dealing with.
This week’s episode should be intriguing on several fronts. How did the media portray these attacks? What was the government response? How long before everything started to fall apart?
While the lack of action wasn’t a problem for me, there was one death that I feel was a missed opportunity. Calvin, the good-natured kid that secretly hid a thriving drug business, would’ve been an excellent character to explore during the season. The dynamic with Nick was there, plus the parents who viewed Calvin a confidant and positive influence on their son (not knowing Calvin fueled Nick’s habit). Sure, his death moved the story along, but out of everyone he struck me as the most fascinating due to his duplicitous nature.
This week, we see the “man vs. nature” motif in full effect as the downfall of humankind goes into overdrive.