Well that came and went pretty quickly. After six short weeks we are already done with the first season of FEAR THE WALKING DEAD and are staring straight down the barrel of the sixth season of its parent show THE WALKING DEAD. I honestly prefer shorter seasons like this, ten or thirteen episodes are fine, but six is really quite sweet, leaving no room for any nonsense, there just isn’t the time. ‘The Good Man’ was a successful finale overall and one that was thoroughly enjoyable as we finally saw what looks to be the last attempt at humanity to fight back the dead fail quite miserably. This episode was once again about tests, about proving ones character in face of what the future will require. Some are passing these tests and some are failing. So far FEAR has been quite forgiving so it was interesting to see if that would continue in this the final episode of season one.
The start of this finale saw Travis, Madison, Chris, Alicia, Daniel and Ofelia, readying themselves after learning that the army had up and left them. They came to terms very quickly with the fact that they must now leave their home, that it was no longer safe. Before they could drive off and away from the city however, they of course had to go after Nick and Liza. In order to infiltrate the base and find their loved ones as quickly and as efficiently as possible, they decided to take Andy with them. Now, I’ve had my beef with Travis this season and this episode once more gifted him opportunities to prove himself. This opportunity came in the shape of Andy when the others decided that he should be the one to look after him.
We can see clearly that Travis is the weak link here, and of course Andy knows that too, demonstrated as such when he tried to convince Travis to let him go, testing his resolve to do what was necessary, a test which he failed. Travis is nothing but consistent, he did what he thought was ‘right’, what he believed was the ‘good’ thing to do, equating to his decision to let Andy go. Whether this worked out for Travis or not, whether it was the ‘right’ thing to do or not, this was typical of Travis and the type of behaviour that will be the death of him down the road. Kindness and morality are principles we hold highly in our society but in this new world they are irrelevant, they don’t apply. It is imperative that he learn this. The world and those around him will lose patience if he doesn’t.
While Madison has been getting some valuable life lessons from Daniel, Nick is currently on the receiving end of some crucial wisdom from Strand, intel that will serve him very well down the road. Most plainly of all the choice to leave behind the other detainees as they escaped the pen at the facility, deciding not to save anyone else, learning that being cruel at times will keep them alive. Whether Nick will listen as his mother has done will remain to be seen, but he, like Madison, are undoubtedly lucky to have met the people they have. If only Travis had such a guide to tutor him.
In order for the group to breach the facility, they rather cleverly — and ruthlessly — use the walkers that were up locked up in the stadium, unleashing them as a distraction for the soldiers, making use of the ensuing chaos to sneak inside. What’s salient here is that by doing this they are most certainly contributing to society’s downfall but these are without doubt the types of actions that will serve them well going forward. Barring Travis, my hope for this group remains quite high and the fact that they resorted to such measures, knowing full well what it might mean, is a promising sign for them and their survival.
Nick and Strand, cheating death once or twice, eventually manage to meet up with the others and then are forced to fight off walkers on their way to safety. All of them (including Travis) had to get their hands dirty, some of them for the first time. It’s interesting to see their ineptness at dispatching the un-dead compared to what we’ll see next week with Rick and the gang when the TWD starts.
Towards the end of the episode it turned out Travis’ decision to let Andy go would come back to haunt him and those around him. The mistake he made arrived in the guise of Andy, who ended up shooting Ofelia in order to get back at Daniel, which in turn caused Travis to attack him — beating him half to death. This showed some strength of character but the truth is that he was probably only acting out of guilt and remorse for what he did. It’s interesting and indicative of this new world that it was man and not zombie that caused the most harm to the group during all the chaos.
The last moments of the episode showed the group arrive at Strands near paradisaical house on the sea front, a location made all the more important because of its short proximity to his boat. However, before any clear decisions could be made about the future, it was revealed to Madison and then Travis that Liza had been scratched by a walker. So Travis it seemed wasn’t the sole villain of the finale, although he still screwed up. He would however get another chance to remedy his mistakes soon enough. Liza asks Madison to kill her in a nice call back to earlier in the season when Madison asked the same of her if the worst were to happen. Liza then passes on the wisdom that it doesn’t matter how you die, that you come back anyway. Something very important for them to know going forward. As mentioned, Travis had already failed once this week but now he was presented with a chance to redeem himself and he finally made the right call. Taking the gun from Madison he had the fortitude to do what was needed by killing his ex wife. So perhaps Travis isn’t a lost cause. Maybe he can learn from his mistakes. Time will tell of course and I remain unconvinced but this was at least a start. Though we must remember that he wasn’t given much of a choice. If he didn’t pull the trigger it is likely Madison would have.
This season has been short, but for the most part it has been sweet. There was no spectacular television being made here but it was a terrific watch none the less. Never hitting the highs of THE WALKING DEAD but providing us with a fascinating look at the early days of this nightmare. This is a show with huge potential, potential that I can’t wait to see it hopefully realise. TWD starts in one week’s time and we will now go into that series with a little more context, context that may very well amplify our enjoyment of that show. It will be interesting to see. This show has made us care. It made us want to know how this band of characters will develop and how they’ll try to survive in the new world. I won’t mourn the loss of FEAR until its return, but the success it had spoke to me, spoke to me enough to want to return to it when the time comes. Finales are tough but this one, like the show itself, worked for the most part. Kudos, AMC. Job well done.