A limited series has a lot in common with a novella. A novella, unlike a novel, doesn’t have a lot of pages to meander around, it has to get to the heart of the matter rather quick. Although the author of a novella has to get to the story he or she still has to develop the characters and plot.
Fear the Walking Dead only had a limited number of episodes to develop the story, introduce and develop characters, and create a strong plot. It’s failed in all of these things.
“Not Fade Away” is the fourth episode in the series and it still doesn’t know what story it wants to tell.
Is Fear the Walking Dead a family drama? Is Fear the Walking Dead a military/action series? It would be nice to say it was a combination of both.
However, it’s the middle of the series and there hasn’t been too much military intervention beyond what occurred unaired between episodes 3 and 4. On the other hand, we have seen a lot of the family drama with cliched plot lines.
We are still being subjugated to a family dynamic better suited for 90210 or Gossip Girl.
Nick gets caught stealing morphine from a patient (which I am pretty sure Dylan did in an episode Beverly Hills, 90210). Maddie and Travis fight about her kids, his kid, and his ex-wife (Now I know this happened in Gossip Girl or some teen drama soap. Pretty Little Liars, maybe?) When Nick tells Travis and Maddie he saw something beyond the fence it’s dismissed as sunlight reflecting off glass. This may not have happened in a teen drama, but parents dismissing their children is a hallmark of the teen drama genre.
The rest of “Not Fade Away” seemed very familiar- the military becomes pseudo-overlords, controlling basic government services, and taking people away in the middle of the night to an unspecified location. Included in the mix, the military officer in charge is your generic “I’m in the uniform and in control” type character.
“Not Fade Away” did end on a good note. Well, a good note as far as storytelling is concerned. The end left us a promise of something more to come in the last two episodes. Something the writers and showrunners should build on and use to develop the characters beyond the cardboard stereotypes we’ve had for the last four episodes.