Too many people will be comparing Fear the Walking Dead to The Walking Dead. They’ll complain there weren’t enough zombies. They’ll complain there wasn’t enough action. Fans of The Walking Dead will find a lot to complain about in the premiere episode of Fear the Walking Dead.
What fans won’t be complaining about is how typical the set up is from the outset. First, there’s the kids who hate mom’s new boyfriend. There’s the rebel younger son, who also happens to be a junkie. There’s the daughter who’s also rebelling against her mother, the new boyfriend, and her life in general. The mother is a domineering, no shit taking kind of lady. Her new boyfriend is just trying to do right by the family. All and all, this could be the beginning of Gossip Girl or One Tree Hill. Yeah, the set up is that bad.
However, this is the first episode of the new series. The series is supposed to be what lead up to The Walking Dead. How did the virus start and what happened are only a couple of the questions the series is suppose to tackle in its six-week run. Unfortunately, it looks like viewers are going to have to wade through this family and typical cliched situations.
For example, the boyfriend who has no maintenance skills owns the typical, everyman older model truck (Complete with spider web cracks across the windshield). Then there’s the junkie son who wrestles with the dealer who wants to shoot him, Of course, when the gun goes off the dealer is killed. The mother pushes around cops, doctors, and anyone else who gets in her way. I had no idea guidance counselor were such ballbusters.
The saving grace of episode one is everything else that is revolving around the family and the last five minutes of the episode. It’s the virus that will have viewers tuning in on a regular basis. The virus that reanimates the dead. Viruses don’t go from a whimper to a bang over night. Viruses are smart little buggers like that. They need to spread, find hosts, and keep spreading. A virus so powerful, like the one in Outbreak, that kills the hosts moments after infection won’t last after the host dies. No host, no outbreak. However, this virus seems to work on dead tissue. It’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, we learn about the actual virus.
A virus like the one in Fear the Walking Dead would be a slow burn. It’s an unknown virus so it would have the element of surprise. Before we really knew what was happening there would already be some serious reports of the dead coming back and eating Aunt Petunia. This is where the first episode was doing things right.
The hints of the virus spreading were dropped all over the episode. The principle of the school asks Madison if she had her flu shot because a lot of people were out sick. The student Madison talks tells her of reports from five different states of people eating other people. There are signs of parks once full becoming empty. Small clues that no one would give a second notice about until it was too late or until you’re faced with it head on outside an LA reservoir.
It’s a good start to the series. If the video teasers AMC has released over the summer are any indication this is only the beginning of the end. It looks to be one hell of ride if the family dynamic doesn’t interrupt the flow of the story.