From the very first episode, Fear the Walking Dead staked out very interesting and unique socio-political territory by, essentially, capturing the current zeitgeist of anxiety and mistrust generated by ongoing reports of racist and classist violence by law enforcement officers, soldiers, and gun owners. While this isn’t out of the ordinary, especially for zombie and/or post-apocalyptic fiction, Fear actually takes the exact opposite approach from probably the majority of zombie stories I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen a metric shit ton of them). In the world of Fear the Walking Dead, the police and the military are actually doing their jobs; they’re actually trying to save civilians from the flesh-eating living dead, while the heroes are the real bad guys. Sure some soldiers end up being douchebags, but they still do their jobs for the most part. I’ve said this before, but by first positioning the anti-police-violence protestors as completely wrong in their assessments of what is actually happening when the police seem to be gunning down innocent unarmed people, then representing protestors as shifting easily over into the roles of rioters, looting and burning parts of the city, breaking down police barricades, etc., and then, once our heroes are safe in a gated community with military guards protecting them, succumbing to paranoia and mistrust that ultimately leads to the collapse of everything, it should become clear that the zombie apocalypse was conveniently helped on by liberal do-gooders who are really not that distinct from masked criminals once law and order breaks down. Whew, that was a long sentence. But basically, yeah. That. In Fear the Walking Dead, liberal protestors undermine our safety and we should trust the police and the military to do their jobs and accept their justifications for what sometimes seems like excessive violence. This is a stark contrast to most zombie stories, where the government or whatever authority is invoked are really working at odds with the people our stories are about. Power corrupts, we’re told over and over, and anyone with power in a zombie story is either a bad guy or ineffectual and on the way out. In Fear the Walking Dead, that’s not entirely the case. And as we discover with the season finale, our heroes are horrible people and the entire season has been more about establishing Travis (Cliff Curtis) as the only good man in the group. As such he is also the weakest, and the one most in need of being broken by the show’s creators. The most incredible part of all this, though, is that our main characters are actually presented as heroic survivors in the end, having “rescued” their loved ones from the military hospital (key word: HOSPITAL), by setting loose two thousand zombies and guiding the herd to the base, initiating the deaths of pretty much every soldier on the base, forcing a pending evacuation of sick and injured people to be abandoned, and breaking the mind and spirit of the doctor trying desperately to save lives, by forcing her to murder all of her patients with a nail-gun rather than leave them to suffer, die, and turn. Oh, and in the process, Liza (Elizabeth Rodriguez) is bitten and Travis has to kill her in the dramatic closing moments of the season. I almost forgot to mention the fact that the military plan to humanely kill the residents of Maddie’s (Kim Dickens) neighborhood was dropped before it was ever even a possible threat because the soldiers abandoned their posts and fled home to their families. So when our heroes slip out of town in the middle of the night, they adamantly refuse to warn ANYBODY that the military is gone, and then they leave the gate to the community open as they leave, inviting chaos and death in on people whose only crime was they didn’t rise up and stop the soldiers from taking a SICK PERSON AND A DRUG ADDICT TO THE HOSPITAL. So the soldiers were bad guys for raising the threat of mercy-killing people, but our heroes leave everyone to die with an open gate and no leadership. And now there’s a massive herd of zombies on the loose. You see, in The Walking Dead, the apocalypse is well underway. The world has already collapsed. When hard decisions are called for, they are usually the right ones, because it’s a different world. But even there, I doubt very seriously that the gang would choose to torture a soldier, especially after, in this case, he just calmed down a hysterical girl who was in danger of being shot or taken away as a security threat. In Fear the Walking Dead, there should still be hope. The world’s not dead yet. There’s safety in guns and in community. The living dead threat is new enough (and remember, only the newly dead are rising — the graveyards aren’t being emptied) that it could theoretically be contained. Unless some terrorist assholes set loose a couple thousand all at once, like some sort of bio-weapon, that is. So while innocent people die trying to save the world, and the sick and injured are put to sleep as an act of macabre mercy, our heroes get to keep their familes together (mostly), thanks to the random help of a random super rich guy with a gated mansion and a boat. People like the characters of Fear the Walking Dead are responsible for the world falling to pieces. Their paranoia and selfishness is directly responsible for Los Angeles becoming completely overrun while they run away. My main issue with this series, particularly with this final episode, is that it’s not poorly done. It’s actually got great actors giving powerful performances, talented writers and directors (although the plotting of the finale was the weakest of the series, relying at least three times on cheap “scares” just to create tension), and some of the best zombie effects in the business — notice that these zombies are freshly dead and are a little harder to kill than what The Walking Dead characters have to deal with. And those cityscapes of L.A. burning and dead were breathtaking. All in all, Fear the Walking Dead is pretty solid on all fronts. But it’s a show about mass-murderers who survive at the expense of others and then luck into finding a rich savior. Fear the Walking Dead 1.06 "The Good Man"Paul's Rating3.5Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related 3 Responses John E. Meredith October 12, 2015 Well, now this review truly made me want to get in on this show. We’ve not had cable for a while now, essentially hanging out with Mr. Belvedere on our rabbit-ears tv. There are lots of movies at home (and even more at our local library), so I don’t often feel like I’m missing out. I love THE WALKING DEAD, but it’s more-or-less gotten to the point with that show that I can wait to pick it up on DVD when all’s said and done. As good as it is, there’s gotten to be a kind of sameness about it. But this . . . now this sounds intriguing. Kinda like the gang on the other show taking over the gated community (much in the same way the Guv’nor wanted to take ovrr the prison), I like when our own loyalties as viewers are questioned. Here are these protagonists, ostensibly the “good guys”, but you slowly realize they might not be so good after all. Must be an AMC thing, cuz that was the basic tragectory of BREAKING BAD, and sometimes even MAD MEN. It’s a kinda sneaky trick, and I like it. I was a bit so-so on the idea of this show at first. Concerns, maybe, about zombie oversaturation killing both shows. But this sounds like it might make me think. Might make me want to get cable again. Thank you for the viewpoint. Log in to Reply Paul Brian McCoy October 12, 2015 Thanks for reading! I wouldn’t get cable back using Fear the Walking Dead as the justification, but it is a little more morally complex than a lot of viewers gave it credit for. The standard “It’s boring” and “Not enough zombies” complaints kind of overshadowed the fact that it was really playing on contemporary anxieties about authority, and that was it’s greatest strength. I really thought they were going to go the way of Walking Dead and make Maddie the Rick (or Shane) part, with Travis playing Dale and ultimately dying because of it. I’m interested to see where they go in Season 2, but I’m not necessarily in a hurry to get there. Log in to Reply The Walking Dead 6.01 "First Time Again" - Psycho Drive-In October 15, 2015 […] that is raised this week could almost be seen as a counterpoint to the events in the finale of Fear the Walking Dead. In the prequel series we watched as paranoia and fear of authority literally led to the fall of […] Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.