(Mateys, ye best be off if ye don’t like the spoilers. Spoilers be ahead.)
It has been the tendency for most writers and viewers to compare Fear the Walking Dead with The Walking Dead. I’ve done it, you’ve done, everyone has compared the two shows. Sometimes it has been fair, but to be honest we need to look at Fear the Walking Dead as its own entity. However, it has proven quite difficult because Fear is just asking, practically begging, to be compared to The Walking Dead. “Sicut Cervus” may be the one episode that is almost a complete copy of The Walking Dead.
The first clue that the episode was going to be very similar to The Walking Dead was the long shot of Thomas Abigail’s hacienda. Hacienda is fancy Spanish word for an estate where various crops are grown. Basically, it’s a farm. A real fancy farm. A farm like the one in season two of The Walking Dead.
The comparisons don’t stop with our gang arriving at Thomas’s farm. The farm should have set immediately set off bells with viewers. If it didn’t, the bells should have gone off when Celia tells Nick Luis will return home because he wasn’t shot in the head. Victor telling a dying Thomas that when he passes Celia will take care of him should have had the bells on full blast. At least it didn’t take half a season, like in The Walking Dead, for Daniel to find the zombies in the cellar.
Just like Hershel, Celia wasn’t destroying the zombies. Celia, like Hershel, was keeping the zombies because they were her friends and family. Celia also invokes religion many times during the course of the episode to justify keeping them in a cellar (At least it wasn’t a barn). In her opinion what they have become is what comes after this life and to destroy them would be wrong. Hershel may not have invoked religion when keeping his friends and family in the barn, but there was always something spiritual surrounding Hershel.
Not all was lost in “Sicut Cervus.” Chris seemed to have gone off the rails or at least that’s what we are supposed to believe. Whether he remains to be seen or not. However, I am erring on the side that it’s all big 80s sitcom set up. Sure, Madison and Alicia saw him standing next to their bed with a knife. Personally, I don’t think he was going to use it. Madison and Alicia wake up as he’s picking up the knife. When Alicia screams Chris runs. If he had stayed in the room maybe everything could have been explained. Like in 80’s sitcom where someone overhears something incorrectly, there wouldn’t be an episode if he had stayed. So he runs to create a little more conflict in the story.
Chris may be going off the rails, but Madison bears much of the responsibility in driving Chris in that direction. Chris believes Madison lied to him about Reed “turning.” He also believes she is turning the other members of the gang against him. It’s not too far off the mark. Madison has been pretty much ruining everything since the first episode. We could chalk it up to her being an overprotective parent, but the constant nagging and arguing seems to driving a wedge in the group. How long will it be until Nick gets tired of her calling him “fragile” and “impressionable?”
If it weren’t for Daniel, Ruben Blades to precise, the entire episode would have been a loss. We keep getting small pieces of Daniel’s background, but not enough to know everything. When Luis is dying he hands Daniel a coin. The coin is of some interest to Daniel. We may never know what the coin is because it’s sitting on the bottom ocean. During the church yard fight (Hey, wasn’t there a church in a season of The Walking Dead?), Daniel flashes back to another time where he is holding a child by the neck. It would be a safe bet, based on this episode and bits and pieces from previous episodes, Daniel was not a nice person. I’m going with Daniel was involved in some sort of government death squad or something just as nasty. I may be wrong on both guesses, but it only goes to show that Daniel is the most interesting character in the series. We don’t know a lot about him whereas we know the other characters all too well.
Not to be heartless, the scenes with Victor and Thomas were nice touches to the episode. It wasn’t as dramatic as some of the deaths on Hershel’s farm, but the scenes did show us another side of Victor. Unfortunately, Thomas’s death wasn’t as dramatic as it could have been if we had seen more of him. The few minutes of screen time dedicated to Thomas and Victor’s relationship was not enough time for viewers to form any sort of bond with the characters. Sure, they may have really loved each other, and we did see some of that, but it was not enough for his death scene to pull on our heart strings.
Fear the Walking Dead was coming off two strong episodes before Sunday night’s “Sicut Cervus.” “Sicut Cervus,” loosely translated from the Latin as “As the deer” or “Like the deer, brought the shows momentum to almost a halt. Like a deer in the headlights, Fear the Walking Dead is stuck in the middle of the road still trying to find its way.
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