Despite record breaking numbers for the series premiere of Fear the Walking Dead, a lot of people weren’t satisfied with the pacing and thought sacrificing action for character development was a bad move. If you were one of those misguided viewers, rest assured that you will be happier with the second episode, “So Close, Yet So Far,” as it picks up the pace. While I can guarantee more action, the outbreak is still just beginning – you may have to hang around for a few more weeks before the true mayhem starts.
Still confused and slightly skeptical over Cal’s demise, Maddie, Travis, and Nick head back home calling family members along the way to try and gather the flock. They’ve decided to head off into the desert to get away from the large population and wait out… well, whatever this is.
Of course, no one is answering their phones. As their frustration mounts, they see more signs that something is going on. Finally reaching Alycia, Maddie discovers that she is playing nurse to her boyfriend who has a high fever and a nasty bite mark on his chest. Uh oh. Farewell Matt, we hardly knew you.
After some light panic and a lot of convincing, Alycia agrees to return home with the family. Travis drops Maddie, Nick, and Alycia off, then heads back out to gather up his ex-wife, Liza, and their son, Chris, and convince them to leave the city with him. Nick is starting to go into withdrawal, so Maddie heads out to find some meds to tide him over until he can get clean. Where better to find drugs than the local high school?
Maddie rushes back to work and raids the drug lock-up where she runs into Tobias, who seems a little happy that his suspicions are proving true and the world is ending. She grabs the drugs, he raids the cafeteria, and they’re ready to go. Unfortunately, the path to the exit isn’t clear, and they have to fight their way out. Maddie drops Tobias off at his house and returns home to discover that Travis still isn’t back.
Travis, meanwhile, has finally gotten to his ex’s house and convinced her to go after Chris with him. Because things can’t go that smoothly, Chris has made his way to the center of all the action and joined a protest in the middle of downtown Los Angeles. Just where you would want to be at the beginning of the apocalypse, right? Well, maybe not.
While Travis tries, and fails, to be firm, Liza sees a hazmat team and realizes that something bad is happening. In true mom fashion, she grabs her son and hustles him out of the area just as the police descend in riot gear. The streets aren’t safe, though, so they take refuge in a barber shop with its reluctant owners and hope to ride out the worst of it and make it back to Maddie and her kids.
Between the increase in action and the addition of cast members, the second episode of Fear the Walking Dead ups the ante and delivers a nice payout for all that character development from the first episode. Of course, there are still several lessons to be learned from this episode and many of them can be applied to life outside of a zombie apocalypse.
Always answer the phone when your parents call. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself in the middle of the outbreak with no hope of hitching a ride. Unless, of course, your parents love you enough to hunt you down and hide you in a conveniently placed shop.
I’ll take lesson number one a step further and say listen to you mom. She may not like your boyfriend/girlfriend, but that’s just because he’s about to become undead and start trying to get up close and personal with you. Just give her the benefit of the doubt and hear her out.
High school is even scarier without all the angst-riddled teens running around. Long, empty halls, echoing footsteps, and all the behind the scenes stuff the teachers would rather you not see can be more unnerving than the first day at a new school. Of course, if the principal is undead there is bound to be some tension.
No one actually wants to go to a child’s birthday party and they’ll use any excuse they can find to get out of it. A conveniently timed zombie apocalypse will definitely trim down your guest list. Be advised, however, that the undead love a bouncy house and they get a little upset when you decide to take it down.
Language – There is some cursing (d***, s***, h***,b****), but it is not very common and I didn’t pick up on a lot of it until viewing the episode two or three times. God is used as an expletive a couple of times.
Violence – Again, zombies = violence, and as the outbreak spreads the show gets more graphic. A man is beaten to death with a fire extinguisher. A girl is shot twice and a dead body is shown. A woman is being attacked by her husband. There are several shots of people with severe bites.
Alcohol/Drug use – No drugs or alcohol are shown, but Nick is an addict and beginning to go through withdrawal. There are a few scenes where either he or Maddie are searching for drugs to help him with withdrawal.
*photos courtesy of amc.com
The Bottom Line
Viewers disappointed in the pilot episode may be happier as the pace picks up, but the show still focuses on character development and storytelling over the gore and scares typical in the zombie genre. The show is definitely picking up its pace and getting better with each episode.