A lot has changed over the course of the last three months. I’m a little older, a little wiser, and I was finally able to remove the training wheels from my bicycle. I have also been slowly recovering from the first half of the second season of Fear the Walking Dead, which made its return this week with an episode called “Grotesque.” In a move that I would call “predictable,” (original term, do not steal) the show continues to crawl at a snail’s pace straight into television program oblivion. So then, let’s see what this episode had to offer shall we? As usual, there will be spoilers.
You might remember how Nick bought into Celia’s “zombies are people too” thing when we last saw him, and as such, you shouldn’t be surprised that we got a lot more of that in “Grotesque.” In fact, that’s just about all we got considering the entire episode featured only Nick (safe for a flashback sequence where we see Madison). We get a fairly nice opening music montage of Nick as he travels to Tijuana, which is a magical land where zombies and people live in harmony and no one eats each other. Seriously though, the accompanying music was really fantastic.
I’ve mentioned before that the title card for Fear the Walking Dead has often been the most tension filled aspect of the show; but not this time! Nope, for “Grotesque” there were no sudden and thunderous sound effects to be had…just the title card. As sad is this sounds, one of the things I was looking forward to with this show’s return was that title card; it got me pumped, which really highlighted the invariable and subsequent descent into disappointment I felt by the end of each new episode. Oh well.
One could really take “Grotesque” and rename it “Nick’s Big Day,” if one were so inclined. “Why?” you may ask? Well that is because not only does the entire episode feature Nick traveling all by his lonesome, but he also gets into all kinds of zany shenanigans! While I’m at it I might as well mention that “Grotesque” may feature the least dialogue per second I have seen in my many years of television program watching, and I’m pretty old.
Back to Nick’s eventful day. While trying to catch some “z’s” (see what I did there?) in what appears to be an abandoned house, Nick is violently attacked by a woman with a baseball bat! I’m going to avoid making any unnecessary baseball puns like I usually do, and instead remind our readers that it is never a good idea to get in between an angry mother and her child. Especially if she is armed to the teeth. Since Nick was in a bit of a hurry to leave the “abandoned” house, he wasn’t able to take his bag of supplies with him. Anyone who watches The Walking Dead knows this isn’t really too much of an issue because there is always a fully stocked drug store or group of cars nearby to loot. Yeah, it’s like that.
Of course when Nick is tinkering with his brand new FM Radio™ that he found in a car, a few dangerous looking guys show up with their own dreams of free stuff which prompts Nick to run. They give chase and shoot at Nick, but are unable to catch him and so he winds up relatively safe in the middle of the desert. There, Nick plans to harvest cacti (cactus or variation thereof word count: 1), but if the first half of his day was any indication as to how this might go for him, we may be in for a treat. Yes friends, Nick manages to prick himself on the cactus (2 cactus) in one of the least threatening scenes in Walking Dead history. But wait, there’s more! When Nick can’t figure out a way to break open the cactus (3 cactus!!) he decides to do the unthinkable. Want to wager a guess at what it is? I’ll give you a paragraph break.
He harvests himself and drinks his own urine! Ah yes, desperation. Next, Nick tries once again to get some rest but is instead attacked by what appear to be a couple of very unhappy dogs just in time for some zombies to show up. What a day this has been for our pal Nick, eh? Oh, and he still has blood all over his face and his shirt. As you might expect, the dogs turn their attention to the zombies which I thought started out hilarious, but ended with the zombies pulverizing and eating the dogs so it really wasn’t very funny at all.
After Nick eats some of the leftover dog (not kidding), he steals a zombie’s belt and makes a tourniquet for his leg to treat that pesky dog bite. And what would this show be without the triumphant return of Nick’s award winning “zombie shuffle?” That’s right gang, we get a whole lot of Nick’s totally original, completely inspired “zombie guts” trick and accompanying zombie impression. Eventually Nick finds himself back on the highway, surrounded by the dead, and happens upon those nice looters from earlier; and wouldn’t you know it? They start shooting! But wait, there’s a cliche ahead!
One of the looters clumsily drops his bullets while reloading his revolver, which allows the slow and dumbly moving zombies to get the drop on him. Spoiler alert: he dies. The other looters run off and leave Nick with what remains of his little zombie parade, and shortly after Nick collapses from exhaustion.
We get to meet a few new characters in “Grotesque” who appear to be looking for someone. After initially refusing to help Nick, Lucy and her crew decide to bring him to a doctor where he can get that dog bite treated by a trained healthcare professional. At this point it is revealed that Nick is safe behind the towering walls around a bustling community. Hmm…sounds…familiar. Seriously though, we all know how these little communities turn out in the world of The Walking Dead, and I think it’s safe to say we can anticipate some mayhem soon.
The flashback scenes in “Grotesque” offered some insight into Nick’s history of drug abuse and the moment in his life that made him quit recovery. In one of this episode’s stand out scenes, Madison visits Nick to inform him that his father was killed in an accident, which leads to a fairly well acted moment by Kim Dickens and Frank Dillane. Sure this show has its moments, and there are definitely some silver linings, but I just feel it may be too little too late at this point. Okay, let’s grade this thing.
Final Grade: C-
+ Nick does a lot of hilarious stuff in this episode.
+ Flashback sequences were pretty strong.
+ The song from the opening sequence…yeah…that’s all I got.
– Way too slow an episode for a show that was off for three months.
– This show needs to stop with the cliches and get some ideas.
– No Chris 🙁
I have to say I was excited to see if this show would come back in a big way this week. Sadly, I was disappointed again. I’ll probably wind up with some kind of complex by the time this season is over; that is, if I make it through. “Grotesque” was anything but in terms of zombie carnage, and Fear the Walking Dead really, really needs to figure out what it wants to do.
Well that was long winded!
What did you think of “Grotesque?” Was it a strong opener for the second half of this season? Let us know in the comments section and on our Twitter page!