Tag Archives: WalkingDead

Fear the Walking Dead Season One Review: Why I Felt Disappointed in the End

Fear the Walking Dead
Photo from amc.com

In an earlier post, I mentioned that my reactions to stories are frequently exactly the opposite from the vast majority.

While a lot of other people thought that Fear the Walking Dead started out too slowly but ended with a bang, I loved the first four episodes–and was pretty disappointed by the final two.

Here’s why–and yes, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS. DON’T CONTINUE IF YOU’RE NOT CAUGHT UP!

I loved the pace of the first few episodes. Normal life and all its usual stresses being slowly interrupted by weirdness. We know what’s going on but get to watch the characters discovering just how bizarre life is about to get, and trying to figure out how to deal with it.

A lot of the first few episodes centered around Nick. I’ve loved this actor ever since his stint as young Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I, and he was just as good in Fear the Walking Dead–even though I missed his British accent. He was crippled by a heroin addiction, worrying over his sanity, but still rising to the occasion when he needed to pull himself together and fight. I thought great things were coming with him.

Instead, in the last episodes, he lay around the house and whined. Disappointment number one.

Then our focus shifts to the military–the evil bad guys. Disappointment number two. I feel like I’ve seen this so many times before in lesser stories, and I expected better–something more original and complex from these writers than just blame the military.

Then, to me, the characters suddenly move from inaction to overreaction without much in between.  Civilization is crumbling to the point that your neighbors may turn into monsters and literally eat you and your family. The National Guard comes to protect you.  They bring in a doctor to evaluate the ill and take some away to a hospital, since in this crumbled world there is nowhere you can drive your loved ones to get help.

And the characters left behind automatically assume this is so horrible–with hidden evil motives–that torturing a perfectly decent-seeming soldier for their relatives’ whereabouts is acceptable behavior?  I felt as though the writers were thinking, “Uh-oh, only two episodes left. We’ve got to kick this thing into high gear!” Whether they had provided enough motivation for such an extreme reaction to make sense or not.

Then comes the final episode, when our group goes to “rescue” Griselda, Liza, and Nick from the base where they’ve been taken. Even though, honestly, Nick is the only one locked up and in need of rescue. During the rescue, this being the high-octane finale, everything falls apart and I think we’re supposed to say, “Yep, see, those evil military.”

But did you notice…the helicopters were coming to evacuate the doctors and the sick people to a safer base, until Daniel released 2,000 undead on them and scared them away.

Again…could it be that releasing 2000 walkers onto this base, soldiers, sick people, doctors and all, might be a bit of an overreaction? Ask Liza, who ended up bitten.

And now, for my final rant…the scene that frustrated me most.

Travis does the humane thing and releases the tortured soldier instead of allowing him to be killed by Daniel. So naturally, in the middle of the mayhem at the base, said soldier shows up looking for revenge for the torture and shoots Daniel’s daughter.

This scene was more unbelievable to me than the existence of zombies.

Again, I felt the writers felt an obligation to include some original Walking-Dead-like development at this point, but they forced it in when it didn’t fit. Yes, several times in the original series, the characters showed mercy to some truly evil person, only to have that evil person show up again and cause more damage–making them face the moral dilemma of whether they have the luxury of showing mercy any longer.

But there were several huge differences in this Fear the Walking Dead scene. The soldier wasn’t an evil man–he was a kid who had been tortured. He had not harmed them earlier. Also, the area is under an attack by 2,000 walkers. Would a badly traumatized young man really try to make his way into the middle of all that to get revenge? Or would he be trying to get as far away as possible to lick his wounds and recuperate and survive the zombies! HIs return–and its effect in turning Travis very suddenly into a fighting machine–felt very forced and unrealistic.

Will I watch season 2? Probably. At least the beginning. It did end on an intriguing note and I’m hoping for better things when they have a whole season ahead of them and can once again maybe slow down and let things develop more naturally again.

 

 

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That Bible verse in Fear the Walking Dead

Photo from AMC
Photo from AMC

A colleague asked me last week about the Bible verse in Fear the Walking Dead.

She and I regularly have Monday debriefings about Fear the Walking Dead—particularly if she finds any religious symbolism or content. I have to admit I really dropped the ball on last Sunday night’s episode (9/20/15). My niece and my colleague both asked me about the Bible verse that showed up in that one, and my response was, “Ummm….”

I did notice there was a Bible verse on a wall, but beyond that, it sort of zipped over my head. In my defense, I was very tired from a long road trip that day so wasn’t retaining things very well. Still, as I realized later, the verse showed up not just once in the episode, but twice—meaning the writers really wanted us to notice it.

So I looked online to refresh myself. The verse in question was Revelation 21:4:

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (NIV Bible from BibleGateway.com)

Now, one tricky problem for me when my colleague asks me for the “Christian” meaning of things in TV shows (she’s hoping for insight on where the writers are going with the plot) is that show writers may not be using or interpreting things the same way we would in church.

Here’s an example I found on a website called MoviePilot interpreting Revelation 21:4 in that FTWD episode: “Yeah that all seems pretty apt to me. No death, sorrow, crying and pain? These are all things that people no longer have after being turned into walkers. And ‘for the former things are passed away’ certainly seems to reflect how the world as the characters knew it is gone, this is a whole new way of life now.”

I felt like screaming, “No, no, nooooooo!!!!!!”

This reminds me of the scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when Harry reads the verse on his parents’ headstone that reads, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (I Corinthians 15:26). Harry is upset this is written on his parents’ headstone because he interprets this as a Death-Eaterish idea of trying to live forever on Earth and avoid death. But Hermione reassures him that the verse is talking about living beyond death…the Christian concept of eternal life, in other words.

In the same way, the Revelation verse from Fear the Walking Dead is most assuredly NOT about settling for some earthly existence such as we have now…it’s not about rotting bodies shambling around with no personalities or minds, no way of relating to God, no emotions at all. That is NOT the new order of things that God offers us.

It’s always best not to take one Bible verse out of context, and even just expanding out a paragraph or so tells us that (as in the verse that Harry and Hermione discussed), the Revelation verses are talking about a very different eternity:

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev 21: 1-4, NIV, from https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=revelation+21&version=NIV )

 Life on this Earth—with or without a zombie apocalypse—is hard.  And in many parts of the world, I have no doubt that it’s so difficult, the folks might as well be in a zombie apocalypse.  In Christianity, we are always asked to hold onto the promise that this Earth and its decay are not all there is. Like Harry Potter, we are promised victory—over decay, over death…even over zombies.

 

 

 

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