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SEASON FINALE REVIEW: Fear the Walking Dead 1×06 “The Good Man”

Written by Alex Reale

Of course it has to be the last episode when the show finally gets good. For the first time since I started watching Fear the Walking Dead, I actually liked an episode! Fear the Walking Dead took forever to build up its momentum, and the finale was great, but was it enough to save the entire series? (spoilers ahead!)

The main characters decide to officially pack up and head east in order to escape the incoming apocalypse. However, they refuse to leave without first gathering Nick, Liza, and Griselda from the military hospital complex. Okay, that’s understandable. A little dumb, but understandable. It’s the zombie apocalypse and you’re about to abandon your neighborhood – you obviously want to gather your family first. The hard part is trying to break into a fully-armed military facility. What are a high school teacher, a guidance counselor, and a barber going to do to get their family back? Answer: Daniel fucking Salazar.

We learned in the past episodes that Daniel isn’t a man to be trifled with. He’s had a dark, twisted past that has turned him into a hardened warrior who isn’t afraid to do what’s necessary. In an intense scene, Daniel leads an army of walkers up to the main gate of the military base. So all of a sudden, he’s the walker-whisperer?! It took me a minute to fully grasp what was going on. The man literally led hundreds of zombies right to the military’s front door in order to distract them. Do you realize how big of a feat that is? In a world where people can’t seem to fight their way out of a decaying paper bag, Daniel just struts into walker land, lures a couple hundred corpses into following him, and then starts his own zombie siege. Bad. Ass.

While the soldiers are trying to fight off the walkers, Daniel and co. sneak in through the back door, and Chris and Alicia stay behind to watch the car. Some passing soldiers demand the keys to the car, which Alicia gives them. However, when one of the guys propositions Alicia to join them as they leave the city, Chris tries to be a bad-ass and punches the dude in the face. Yeah, that’s smart – just go ahead and punch a trained, armed, rapey soldier in the face. That’ll work. Predictably, Chris gets the shit kicked out of him, and the soldiers get away.

Meanwhile, Nick and his new friend Strand, a shifty salesman who saved Nick in the last episode, use a stolen key to escape their confinement. They make their way to the exit, ignoring all the pleading cries from the other imprisoned citizens. Nick wants to save them, but Strand says that they won’t add value. Immediately, we get a sense of what kind of person Strand is: he’s the kind of person who will only save someone if he sees a purpose in it. He won’t do something just because it’s the right thing to do; he’s looking out for his own personal gain, which raises the question: what value does Nick bring? Why did Strand offer to save Nick? You could say that the only reason he saved Nick was because they were in the same cell, so it was convenient to let him tag along. But there has to be a reason why Strand bargained for Nick to be spared in the last episode when the soldiers tried to take him away…

All the characters eventually come together and share a brief Full House reunion moment, except for the Salazars, who learn that Griselda is dead. I guess that was supposed to be a shocking, sad moment, but I just didn’t care. Is that bad?

After retrieving Nick, Strand, and Liza, they all head out to the car, only to see that it’s been stolen from Chris and Alicia. The group has a brief discussion over what to do next, when they’re interrupted by Andy the soldier! Remember Andy? Remember how Daniel tried to filet him alive during that fun little interrogation? Turns out that he’s not too happy about it. Who would’ve thought? He gets ready to put a bullet in Daniel, but Ofelia attempts to calm him down and reason with him. In a last-minute twist, Andy turns the gun on Ofelia and shoots her. Travis comes out of nowhere and proceeds to go full Rick Grimes on the guy and beats the living piss out of him.

The last twenty minutes or so of the episode felt drawn out. The protagonists (including a critically wounded Ofelia) head to Strand’s beach-side home to rest. It’s here that we discover that Liza has been bitten. After a few minutes of further build-up, we hear a loud gunshot crack against the air, signaling that Liza has been executed before she could turn. I’ll be honest: I didn’t care that she died. We hardly had time to get to know her. And her death hardly seems to be a real loss. Yeah, she had some medical experience, but she seemed like more of a foil to the group than an aid. If anything, a better death would’ve been Madison. If Travis lost his current spouse, we’d understand the pain and turmoil he’d have to go through coming to terms with the loss. But who knows? After all, Liza is the mother of his child, so we could see Travis going through a severe mental breakdown in the future as he deals with the death of his ex-wife.

All those people who were whining about not enough zombies can finally shut up now since we saw literally an entire army of them in this final installment. I’m just upset that this slow season of Fear the Walking Dead had to end with such a strong episode (why couldn’t this last episode be the pilot?). Here’s to hoping next year’s episodes will be better overall!

Final Grade: A

Final Season Grade: C

+ We finally got some intense walker action.

+ Seeing Travis go full Rick Grimes and beat the crap out of Andy was awesome.

+ The scene where the group walks by the charred corpses of other citizens was haunting and mesmerizing; it’s about time we feel some true emotion on the show!

 

– Liza’s death was not as impactful as they made it out to be.

– Nick’s withdrawal just seemed to disappear?

– Chris is an idiot.

 

Extra Thought:

– I complained already about how Fear the Walking Dead brings nothing new to the table. With the world now in full-on zombie mode, is this show officially just a carbon copy of The Walking Dead?

How did you feel about the end of the first season of Fear the Walking Dead? Are you excited for the next season, or are you just counting down the hours until The Walking Dead comes back? Let us know your thoughts 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!