Can I talk to you alone, Fear the Walking Dead? People been getting on you in these past five weeks saying that you’re not as good as The Walking Dead. They say you move too slow. They say you were all hype. They say you’re trading on TWD’s well-earned fame. They say a lot of shit.
To be fair, for whatever reason *cough* lazily aiming at a loyal fanbase *cough* you decided to go with literally the same name as the show you’re spinning off from; the extra word doesn’t really make a difference. And you haven’t made your own name yet.
Now seems like a good time to mention that I have two older brothers and they are handsome and charming and funny and smart, so I know what it is to grow up in a (big ass) shadow; I’m am rooting for you.
That doesn’t mean you’re not fucking up a bit. But you have time: your season finale on Sunday.
Here’s a few things that I’m gonna need from you on Sunday:
1) Zombies. I get the strip tease. I had a grandma who told me not to give away the cow for free, too (I forgive you for calling my vagina a cow, grandma; you were old and doing the best you could).
But we are 5 episodes in and I’m pretty sure I can name the zombies we’ve seen far. Kimberly was my favorite.
From episode one, Nick’s girlfriend/shooting up partner Gloria, Artie the kindly high school principal, Calvin the drug dealer, Matt the not-quite-turned boyfriend of Alicia, Mrs. Tran the and a few lineless extras in the protest scene Chris films.
This is a zombie show. If I wanted a strict psychological thriller I’d rewatch Hitchcock’s canon. In “Cobalt” (episode 5), we got the tidbit that 2,000 zombies are locked in the arena and the ending scene confirms they are being held in there by the bike chain I lost in the fourth grade around the door handle. This is promising.
2) Say the word. We keep seeing these isolated acts of violence and never speaking of it again. Madison, Travis, and Nick hit Calvin the drug dealer-turned-walker with Travis’ truck (a few times), but afterwards say nothing. Madison pummels her friend Artie to (second) death with a fire extinguisher in front of Tobias and then drops him off at home like that’s some every Saturday shit they do. Madison and Alicia hear their next door neighbor go all-you-can-eat-buffet on his wife in the least sexy way ever and… nothing.
I don’t expect them to say zombie or walker or anything two seasons from now, but they might say something like “Oh god we’re all going to die because the book of Revelations is happening outside.”
The only person who even remotely vocalizes what anyone would say is Tobias, and we don’t see him again after “So Close, Yet So Far” (episode 2). I’m hoping he found some canned food and was like “Fuck these in-denial walking appetizers.”
When the military Cobalts out (see above comment about walking appetizers and them fucking off) of LA and the characters are forced into close contact with the walkers, maybe they’ll acknowledge their existence.
[Rewatches scene where Travis can’t shoot Kimberly, watches walkers falling out of library buildings, and is told by soldier about their AWOL plans only to go home and reprimand Daniel for using his special interrogation techniques on a soldier]. Probably not.
3) Kill someone. One of the things that I love/hate about The Walking Dead is that no one is safe. It is really only a matter of time before characters I love (and also Andrea) die. So many characters were beloved, well developed, (see 50% of the people in the red shirts picture) and given backstories with nuance, but then no fucks could be spared as they were ripped to shreds by walkers.
Most of what we’ve seen so far has been relationship establishing: who loves who, who hates who, who resents who. The dysfunctional blended family and its matriarch and patriarch are compelling and relevant. It’s a great contrast to Rick Grimes who started off with the sole mission of reuniting with his nuclear family. They are not small town southern. They are exes, widows, addicts, enablers and abandoned; this is a family I know. And while I’m excited to see Travis evolve from a pacifist into a realist, to see Nick be forced to kick, to see Alicia apply her Ivy League dreams in an apocalyptic world, to see all of them become what walkers will make of them, one of them needs to die.
And while I’m making requests:
4) Keep a Black character alive and let them interact with other Black characters for an extended amount of time. Matt. Calvin. Artie. Every Black guy on the original show. I have no choice but to root for you, smooth-talking Black guy in the holding cell at the field hospital.
5) It’s probably too late for you to change your name. Do something because October 10th is fast approaching and it’ll be easy to forget your name because, well, it’s not really yours yet.