Fear the Walking Dead
April 10, 2016
Hey, still angry about how The Walking Dead cheated us out of a proper season finale? YEAH, ME TOO. I even considered not watching, much less recapping the second season of Fear the Walking Dead, The Walking Dead‘s lesser sibling series out of protest. And yet, here we are, looking down the first half of what will undoubtedly be an infuriating and disappointing season if this first episode is any indication.
Before we begin, a quick refresher on the whos, whats, and whys of last season. Despite promising this series would be about how the apocalypse unfolded — a premise that held great potential for mythology building — the first season of Fear the Walking Dead turned into The Walking Dead: Los Angeles after all of three episodes. Literally. There were no zombies and then suddenly there were zombies and then society completely collapses and is put under Martial Law by the third episode. But then the military gets bored and leaves, which is pretty much how the first season ended.
Travis: English teacher with an irritating teenage son, an irritating wife with her own irritating children and an irritating Ex-Wife. He is reluctant to kill zombies for all of about two minutes, but eventually comes around. In the last episode of the first season, he shoots his irritating Ex-Wife in the head after she reveals she was bitten.
Madison: The irritating wife. She has two irritating children who do irritating things.
Nick: Irritating child #1. He begins the first season as a junkie, but by the beginning of the second season — 16 days later — he is completely sober. Despite this, he is still wearing some old guy’s ill-fitting clothes. He introduces his family to Strand, a man he met while being detained by the military, who changes their destiny.
Alicia, a.k.a Awful Daughter: Irritating child #2. Her boyfriend became a zombie. She serves no other purpose than to be awful and create completely avoidable problems for the protagonists.
Chris, a.k.a. Awful Chris: Travis’ irritating teenage son. He’s still really mad at his father for shooting his mother in the face, but even before that he spent most of his time just being sullen.
Daniel a.k.a. Señor Barber: A cynical barber who has seen some stuff, man. He met Travis during some riots in downtown L.A. and has been traveling with his family ever since.
Ofelia a.k.a. Señorita Barber: Daniel’s daughter. She serves absolutely no purpose so far as I can tell. She did get shot in the arm this one time, but other than that, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Strand: The most interesting character on the series. Rich, charismatic and mysterious, Strand brings Nick and his entire worthless family along with him onto his yacht, Abigail, to try to escape the land zombies.
And with that, we’re all caught up.
We begin at some point after last season’s finale: that same night? the next day? a week later? Who can say. All we know is that it is relatively soon after, because Ex-Wife’s body has not become so gross that our heroes can’t be around it. In fact, Travis, Madison and Awful Chris are standing guard with it as the military bombs everything around them as part of Operation GTFO.
Meanwhile, Nick runs a zodiac back and forth between the shore and The Most Interesting Man in the World, Strand’s yacht, Abigail, loading it with their people and provisions. He is on his way back to collect Travis, Madison, Awful Chris and the Corpse of Ex-Wife when beach walkers descend upon them, making this particular beach bonfire a whole lot less fun. Fortunately, Nick makes it to them in time, and despite a rather tenacious zombie who is only deterred with a boat propeller to the face, they manage to get to the safety of the very fancy yacht. From there, they watch Los Angeles burn.
Burn, Hollywood, burn.
The next day, Strand assures his passengers that Abigail can make it all the way down to El Salvador, assuming they can avoid sea zombies and pirates and Awful Daughter doing something stupid that will endanger all of them. That’s when the Abigail comes across a small boat crammed with people begging for help. Awful Daughter is like, “We’re going to help the boat people, right?” But Travis is all, “Hey, you know what would be a big help right now would be if you’d go play on the radio and try to find a safe place for us to go.”
Having busied Awful Daughter, Travis tells Strand about the boat people in front of Madison who demands that they stop and help them, but Strand is all, “LOL, NOPE,” before picking up speed.
We kill some time with some of our protagonists making disappointed faces about not helping the boat people, while the others are like, “Oh, grow up.”
Madison urges Awful Daughter to go to sleep. Instead, Awful Daughter continues scanning the radio for signs of life, and amidst the screaming and pleading and the Coast Guard reporting that everyone’s all on their own, suckers, Awful Daughter lands on channel 16 which is doing a David Bowie tribute.
A voice comes over the channel asking if there is anyone out there, and after about one hot second of hesitation, Awful Daughter is all, “HI HELLO HEY THERE HOWDY!” Awful Daughter strikes up a conversation with the voice on the other end, “Jack,” who claims he is with his brother and sister-in-law in a crummy boat hidden in a cove, don’t worry about where, exactly. Awful Daughter and “Jack” discuss loss and where they were when “it” happened, and the next thing you know, Awful Daughter is telling “Jack” about Abigail’s desalination system, and “Jack” is wondering if Awful Daughter’s yacht could make it all the way to Hawaii. You know, just out of curiosity. Oh, Awful Daughter, what is wrong with your awful brain?
In other awful teenager news, Awful Chris mopes while fishing with Señor Barber. Señor Barber catches an eel, and beats it with a tiny bat, giving the Walking Dead community some kind of closure. We’ll take what we can get. October is a long ways away.
As for Nick, he gives Señorita Barber some junkie tips on wound care: put ointment on the dressings, use ice and vodka for the pain. Lots of vodka.
Meanwhile, Madison looks for more people to yell at to go to sleep, settles on Strand whom she interrupts while he’s talking to someone — either himself, as he claims, or someone who isn’t currently on the boat. (HMMMM.)
Instead of going to sleep, Strand distracts Madison by suggesting they dump Ex-Wife’s corpse over the side of the boat already. That seems like something Madison should be looking forward to, right?
Madison heads back down to the deck where she and Senñor Barber talk about how they don’t necessarily trust this Strand character. “HE WON’T GO TO SLEEP,” Madison complains. “Yeah, I’d be more concerned about the fact that he already had his bags packed long before the military started bombing the place,” Señor Barber points out.
Time for a funeral! Travis eulogizes Ex-Wife, noting that she was a good person who helped everyone she could, and loved Awful Chris more than anyone. Awful Chris, being awful, angrily shoves his mother’s body off the boat because teenagers are the worst, which happens to be the subtitle to this show: Fear the Walking Dead: Teenagers are the Worst.
And then Awful Chris and Travis get into a fight and Awful Chris punches his father because: see above. Later, Madison checks in on Awful Chris and is like, “I get it, daddy issues are tough enough without having your father kill your mother. But it was the right thing to do and I’d do the same for anyone I love.” Cool, Captain Foreshadowing, we got it.
Awful Daughter, meanwhile, receives an alarming message from “Jack,” claiming that his boat was taking on water and he and his family were headed back to shore. Awful Daughter thinks this is a terrible idea, and describes to “Jack” the Abigail’s current position, while promising to try to convince her people to go rescue them.
She does not convince her people to go rescue them. In fact, when Strand hears that she’s been busy chatting someone up on the radio, he’s like, “AW HELL NO,” before explaining the rules of the boat:
1. It’s his boat.
2. It’s his boat.
3. You do not talk about Fight Club.
After Strand and Nick have a pointless conversation that touches upon Nick’s daddy issues, because ERRRRRYBODY HAS DADDY ISSUES, dinner is served. Never mind who cooked the dinner, don’t worry about that. But before anyone can enjoy a single bite of delicious eel, Awful Chris decides to go throw himself into the ocean because HE’S JUST AWFUL.
Nick goes in after him. Once Nick realizes that Awful Chris isn’t being (entirely) a suicidal idiot, just an idiot, Nick begins swimming around because he’s already in the ocean, might as well enjoy himself. However, Nick’s swim is interrupted by a sea zombie because apparently zombies can swim now, sure, OK, why not. Nick swims underneath the shot-up hull of a ship that his new friend must have come from, where he is attacked by another sea zombie until that sea zombie gets distracted or bored with attacking him for reasons that are completely baffling. Then Travis has to go get into the zodiac and rescues his idiot son and idiot stepson.
Meanwhile, Travis’ idiot stepdaughter gets back on the radio and is like, “Sorry, ‘Jack,’ we can’t help you guys,” only to be reassured by “Jack” that he’s on his way to her. So that can’t be good. And in fact, Strand decides that between the bullet-ridden ship full of sea zombies and the fact that someone is locked on their position and headed straight their way — fast — things are the opposite of good. SO GREAT JOB, AWFUL DAUGHTER. WAY TO DRAW A BUNCH OF ZOMBIE PIRATES TO YOU, AWFUL DAUGHTER.
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on AMC.
This post originally appeared on , a Hearst site.