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REVIEW: Fear the Walking Dead “So Close Yet So Far”

By on September 1, 2015

Cliff Curtis as Travis and Kim Dickens as Madison - Fear the Walking Dead Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

By Lewis Richards

Society is cracking as the virus spreads. Our survivors don’t know just how out in the open they are as the undead begin to roam the neighborhood. Madison shows her survival instincts as she is forced into her second encounter with a Walker, all while the world continues to largely ignore the severity of the outbreak.

Yes, every second is critical as we found out in this week’s episode of Fear the Walking Dead. Word is spreading fast, along with the zombie infection, as it becomes clear that today is truly day one of the apocalypse. Not everyone is on the same page, and we see a family obliviously setting up for a birthday party in their front garden. Nick is worried for their well being, but as we see later, they will be up to speed soon enough.

After an emotional goodbye to Matt, Alicia remains somewhat irritatingly naive. She hasn’t yet had to deal with one of the turned face to face and is dismissive when warned about leaving the house and going to Matt’s.  If Nick hadn’t had that seizure would she still have gone? Probably. It’s hard not to draw upon existing show knowledge, but it was frustrating and nail-biting to see our characters shining torches out through their windows and slamming doors while a neighbor viciously attacks another on the now deflated bouncy castle from a birthday party. I think our survivors need to take a leaf out of Tobias’ book and wise up.

Meanwhile, just hours after dismissing Nick’s claims of Walker-Gloria, Travis and Madison are put in immediate danger and are forced to fight for their lives. Yes, it’s been a tough day for Madison and the family.

Fear Settles In

It’s probably fair to say that Madison is not having a great day. When principal Arty is turned, she tries to reason with him, but her hand is soon forced when he attempts to kill and eat Tobias. All things considered, she is learning to adapt pretty quickly. Of course we know Madison made the right decision to end Arty, but will she be able to summon the courage to react in the same way when threatened in future? Further evidence of Madison’s survival initiative is shown when she offers Tobias a place to stay. Cleverly noticing his knowledge of all that has happened, she appreciates Tobias could be a welcome asset in the apocalypse. However the lone wolf declines.

Later, having put on a brave face all day, Madison breaks down while washing Arty’s blood from her coat. Dealing with her son’s addiction is tough on her but dealing with it during the apocalypse is taking a serious toll. Though she gets top marks for survival, it’s only the first day and she is reduced to tears under the crippling pressure of holding her family together. The question of maintaining her humanity in desperate times has already been raised. How far will Madison be willing to go in the future?

Travis’ day was only ever-so slightly less intense as he escaped a riot between police and protesters. He definitely gets the survival points for saving his son and ex wife (but perhaps looses points for his manners as he invades the small family-run barber shop in order to get off the streets). Interestingly Travis opts for a more peaceful solution to his problems in contrast to Madison. Providing everyone continues to survive, this may be a clue to future disagreements.

Travis begins the episode worried about his son and ex wife but finds himself in exactly the opposite situation at the end when he is worried about Madison, Nick and Alicia.He is clearly torn between both families and seeks to join both together. The relationships that look to be forged would be tense in an ordinary world, but under the strain of the apocalypse tempers are sure to be tested. That is assuming they make it through the night in the barber shop and safely back to home base.

NEXT: IS NICK A LIABILITY?

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