Week two of FEAR THE WALKING DEAD, day two (I think… something like that) of the zombie apocalypse. Things moved on slowly from last week’s opener, not a lot has changed but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We saw a slow deterioration of society and glimpses of what our central family might look like once all pretence of normal life fall away. There is a lot here, it’s just not on the surface.
As mentioned before, not a whole lot happened here; Travis split up from one half of his family to go and check in on the other half, him joining those two sides together will likely take up a reactively large chunk of this season. His step daughter cared begrudgingly for his step son and Madison paid a visit to the school where she works, where she had to deal with her first walker by herself.
The lack of story beats, the lack of ‘moments’ during the episode will to some be a turn off, a reminder of what they dislike about its parent show THE WALKING DEAD, but this is without doubt what this show is going to consist of. Sure, things well get more violent, the people will thin, the hordes of undead with thicken, but what is so intriguing about this particular show is how everything happens. How quickly does society fall apart? Where does it fall apart first? How do people react? There are so many fascinating and pertinent questions to be answered here.
TWD is about working with the situation you’re given. The world is over. Deal with it. How badly do you want to live considering this fact. FTWD is instantly different because of this. These people still have hope, hope isn’t even something they are thinking about losing yet. The city is only beginning to fall; most people aren’t even aware of what’s going on. Travis and family aren’t living the nightmare yet, they are just about to fall asleep, the misery that awaits them is still on the horizon (just).
I was worried before this show began that it would be a like for like copy of TWD, just more of the same, superfluous to requirements, and that wouldn’t have to be a bad thing, I like TWD and wouldn’t mind more of that centred on new characters and local, but FTWD isn’t the same, it is different, it will grow to be more like it’s parent over time, but right now there is a discernible variation to be had and it’s quite enjoyable.
One of the things I am enjoying so far is that there is still mystery about the outbreak. Even though we are seeing the beginning, the very first days of the apocalypse, we still don’t know why this is happening. Where the infection came from, how every human contracted it or why it chose this particular time to rear its head. So while no answers are being provided and some curiosities are being satisfied, there is still something scary about the whole thing. There are still questions, enough of them to keep you hooked, to keep you watching and listening, hoping for more clues. But really the truth is that I don’t want to know everything, I don’t want to see every zombie attack.
Just hearing the police sirens, the helicopters, the radio reports, this is enough to suggest the madness that is beginning to engulf the city. A really strong foundation is being laid down here, not necessarily in terms of the shows characters (though some I enjoy very much) but in terms of atmosphere, tone and what this is all building towards. We have been given the gift of foresight, and knowing what we know about the future of this world makes watching these characters learn about what’s to come all the more enjoyable.
While watching the TWD it’s not hard to wonder exactly how things got this bad. How things reached this most desolate and desperate of places and while watching FTWD it becomes very easy to see how the world would fall apart. This is a big success story of the show. It depicts distinctly why things turned out the way they did. We as a species, as a society, are so unprepared for something like this. Between not knowing how to deal with the infected, to mass panic and fighting each other, Rick’s world isn’t that many steps away from where Travis and family are right now. So while things aren’t accelerating as many might like, I for one am enjoying the ride that is being offered. I can’t wait to see how these people deal with the dread that awaits them. There is something here. I am still enjoying this.