This week’s episode of FEAR THE WALKING DEAD was pretty jammed packed. Events saw the start, beginning and conclusion of the gang’s efforts to save Travis and Alicia from Conor’s crew. It certainly played out quicker than expected, especially considering this season is made up of sixteen episodes. So I guess there are much bigger things to come and that’s good because this was pretty darn mediocre. Not bad. But mediocre.
The episode kicked off with Alicia aboard Conor’s docked ship and Travis caged somewhere below. Things are much better for Alicia then her step father, she is allowed to move relatively freely and given a job to do almost immediately. She is paired with Jack and taught about their process of luring and capturing boats out at sea. There scenes are never particularly engaging and nothing about her situation here as a captive ever felt all that dangerous. She is fed and allowed to hang with her new boyfriend, it could be much worse. Yeah, she has been taken away from her family but she’s fine and we are never really that scared for her character. We should consider this to be a huge failing of the episode.
Travis meanwhile, inside his little cage, wasn’t afforded the VIP treatment like Alicia. Why he was taken in the first place isn’t exactly clear. Yeah he managed to start a boat by essentially hot wiring it, but I don’t quite buy that these people would go through the aggravation and the potential trouble of bringing him along. Unless they wanted to be mean, but on the hole, apart from Conor’s brother, they don’t seem all that bad. Assholes, but not vicious. Anyway, Travis was soon confronted by a familiar face, kind of… I didn’t recognise her at first, but she was that gal they found from the plane wreckage, the one with burn victim they cut loose on the raft. She survived apparently; picked up by Conor to later help them find Travis and his group. She was pissed of course, blaming Travis for the eventual death of her friend. And it seemed like this might build to something, that Travis might be faced with real repercussions for his past actions, but no, it didn’t go anywhere, in fact they kinda made up real quick, in a scene filled with clunky, heavy handed writing that I could have done without.
Speaking of bad writing… back on the Abigail, Daniel and Chris are interrogating the wounded member of Conor’s crew (also his brother) that they had captured from last week’s episode. After finding out a little bit of information about Conor’s operation, Daniel departed, leaving Chris alone, to rather predictably get agitated by the hostage. It was a really lame scene, and the writers should take note that a character talking about his abusive upbringing isn’t interesting anymore. It’s the opposite of original and just comes off as lazy. The actors did the best with the material they had, but every word they spewed was so corny, so unimaginative. The overlong scenes here only existed to further Chris’ bad streak, his descent into violence. Which they did as Chris shot the man dead, claiming to the others that he was about to turn. Now, I have no problem with characters adapting to this more primitive, cut throat way of life, quite the opposite actually, but Chris is so darn annoying, the character and the actor that plays him, that I really just want to see him suffer. Badly.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be this episode, in fact everyone came out of this unscathed, this actually all kind of felt like filler to be honest, which is to be expected when you make seasons as long as this one is going to be. Anyhow, Madison and Daniel eventually come up with the idea to trade Conor’s brother for Travis and Alicia, the fact that the brother had risen from the dead after Chris shot him didn’t really affect the plan. Nothing seemed amiss to the bad guys, not until at the exchange point, when the disguised walker tore through his brother and crew, allowing for Travis to escape with Madison, and for Alicia to dump her boyfriend to run back to her family.
‘Captive’, the fifth episode of the season, frankly, was all very uneventful, pointless even. Yeah they got through a lot of ‘plot’ but NOTHING actually happened. Nothing of real consequence. Will we see Jack again? Who knows. Who cares. These characters weren’t interesting and the show didn’t give them the chance to get interesting by finishing off this storyline so quickly. I really hope this isn’t going to a trend for the season. You know… one episode, two episode story arcs, just things that happen to get toward the exciting shit storm of violence at the end? Sound familiar? The reason I thought this show had a chance was because it was different from THE WALKING DEAD. But if it just follows the same formula, with the same unwillingness to kill off main characters, then it will be doomed to be mediocre in all the same ways. I am souring quickly on this show. While nothing has been as bad as anything from last season of TWD, this shows bland nothingness is offending me just as much. Not good enough FEAR THE WALKING DEAD! Not overtly bad. But not good enough.