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REVIEW: Fear the Walking Dead 1×04 “Not Fade Away”

Written by Alex Reale

It’s about damn time that something worthwhile happened on Fear the Walking Dead! For weeks, I’ve been complaining about how the show didn’t seem to be going anywhere, and now I’ve gotten some satisfaction. This week’s episode, “Not Fade Away”, propelled the storyline faster than any of the previous installments. (spoilers ahead!)

It’s been nine weeks since the events of the previous episode. The main characters’ neighborhood is fenced in and protected by a military unit. While everyone feels a little safer knowing that a trained, armed unit is patrolling the neighborhood, there are still people who are iffy about what’s going on in the world, and whether these new protectors are trustworthy.

As Travis’s son Chris is hanging out on the roof, he notices a distant house outside of the safe-zone with a flickering light in the window. There seems to be a pattern in the way the light is going on and off, making Chris believe that there is someone out there who may need help. Everyone dismisses his theory, believing that it’s just a trick of the light, except for Madison who eventually notices the pattern as well. Throwing caution to the winds, Madison ventures outside of the safe-zone and tries to determine the cause of the light. However, she runs into some trouble when she sees a horde of corpses strewn about the area, some of which don’t even look like infected. Everyone has a bullet-hole in their head.

Here is where things got interesting for me. The whole idea behind The Walking Dead is that it’s about the people, not the zombies themselves. Fear the Walking Dead‘s whole shtick is that it’s demonstrating how the world went to shit after the onset of the outbreak. This episode made me wonder if it was actually the HUMANS who caused the collapse of civilization. As we saw through Madison’s perspective, there were supposedly uninfected people being gunned down by the military. What if we discover that the collapse happened because of humanity’s paranoia and severe infected-phobia? After all, why else would the soldiers be killing off seemingly healthy citizens?

If that’s not enough to convince me that the government is up to something, there was plenty more evidence in the rest of the episode.

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The military has ordered for doctors to go around and assess citizens’ health to see whether they are infected or perfectly healthy. Nick Clark is hauled away at the end of the episode after being dubbed at-risk. The funny thing is that Nick was healthy (aside from the severe drug withdrawal). Nonetheless, he’s taken away by the guards. Once again, it makes me wonder if humanity’s severe phobia and the U.S. government’s over-zealousness to squash the outbreak is what really caused the collapse.

Out of all the characters on the show, Nick seems to be the only interesting one. Every other person comes off as one-dimensional. I guess Alicia has some depth to her, but I lose interest in her scenes quickly. Nick has been properly developed since his first appearance when we discover his severe drug addiction. In this episode, we notice that, while he claims to be taking withdrawal well, he’s actually still suffering from the effects. It’s gotten to the point where he’s sneaking into homes and hijacking sick patients’ morphine drips to quell is thirst. That’s what I want to see. Not just a regular Joe-shmo being scared of zombies; I want someone fighting on two fronts. In Nick’s world, he has to survive zombies AND an addiction.

“Not Fade Away” was worth the hour. I didn’t even care that there wasn’t any walker action in this episode. I’m just happy we actually got development and progression. However, I’m STILL waiting for SOME ANSWERS AS TO WHAT CAUSED THE OUTBREAK IN THE FIRST PLACE! Now that some of our main characters have been moved to a military medical complex, it’s possible that we could get some information in the following episodes.

Final Grade: B

+ I liked that we had a decent time-jump into the future.

+ The concept of the military being untrustworthy may be cliche, but it’s welcome in this setting.

+ He may be a second-rate Johnny Depp, but Frank Dillane is doing a good job portraying Nick.

 

– The show is still pretty slow; it over-inflates certain scenes for the sake of padding run-time.

– What caused the damn outbreak?! They have to stop dangling this in front of us!

 

Extra Thought

– I’m a little curious about what’s going to happen to Alicia; I have a weird feeling she’s going to commit suicide given her actions throughout the episode and her suspicions of an incoming rapture.

How did you feel about this week’s episode of Fear the Walking Dead? What do you think is going to happen with the house with the flickering light? Tell us in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!