TV Review/Recap: Fear The Walking Dead Episode 102 “So Close, Yet So Far”

*Spoilers*

The apocalypse is usually shown happening all at once. This is the way it would really happen. The downfall of society would be slow as the virus spread (or the fallout from an explosion or whatever) from state to state….country to country. Most likely it wouldn’t even spread that far and other countries actually would help us. If it did spread it would AT LEAST take a few days. All of society wouldn’t crash in a matter of hours. We are just not as weak as we seem to think we are.

Alicia walks down a road. When she gets to her destination, Alicia finds the door open and the house trashed. She finds someone and says “oh my god” and then we go back to the rest of her family. They’re driving talking about leaving the city. Maddie gets a phone call from Alicia. Matt, her boyfriend, is sick. It was apparently his house she entered. She went there because he didn’t show up for their date.

Then we go to Travis’ son Chris, who we saw briefly in the first episode. He is on a bus. His Dad is trying to call but he ignores the call.

Maddie, Travis and Nick get to Matt’s house. Travis checks out Matt. He’s been bit. Maddie asks if that’s how it happens but no one knows. The other cases they have seen, the one in the car accident, the guy Nick shot…they didn’t happen this way.

Of course, we know all of these things. We know exactly what is happening. Much like in the original The Walking Dead these people seem unaware of what zombies are.

Travis can’t reach his ex-wife Liza or son so he leaves to go find them. He tells Maddie to leave with the kids without him if he takes to long.

Although, I’m not clear on when it happened they seem to have left Matt’s and went to their house. It’s from their house that Travis leaves.

Travis reaches his ex on the drive over. She does that thing TV shows like to have characters do, she refuses to listen. She talks over him. She drones on about custody agreements.

Nick, meanwhile, is going through withdrawal. He can’t travel this sick. They discuss what to do. Maddie leaves to find medicine.

Alicia is packing to leave and packs her phone charger. Just another little thing to remind us that they really don’t know exactly what is going on. Although the authorities seem to have some idea.

Travis can’t get to Liza’s because of traffic. He sees a cop stocking his trunk with cases of water. The cop has some idea of what is going on obviously.

Chris still isn’t home when Travis gets to Liza’s house. He’s at a protest. The police shot a homeless man.  People are rioting.

Maddie gets to the school. The kid, Tobias, from the last episode that knew what was going on is there. He talks about looters and about how the internet and phones will stop working soon. He says it happens fast (even though really it seems that it has taken a couple days to even to get to this stage from the first sign of the outbreak that apparently happened a few days prior and that Tobias has seen on the internet). She says it will be contained before it gets that bad. Tobias says it won’t. They run into the principle. He’s a walker (or whatever they end up calling them on this show). They kill him after a struggle.

Tobias is stealing food from the school. Maddie says she has plenty of food.

Fresh walkers look different on this show than they do on the original series. Which is…..interesting. A fresh walker would, you’d think, look the same no matter when it happens. Unless the virus mutates somehow making even fresh walkers look more dead later on. A fresh walker on this show doesn’t really look dead. On the Walking Dead, even fresh walkers, like Shane was, look very dead. I don’t know if this is an intentional storyline point or if it’s just a style choice.

Travis and Liza find Chris at the protest. Another walker shows up as well as police in riot gear. They run and talk a Barber who lives beside his shop to let them in to hide out. Travis says they want to wait out the danger. The rioters are tearing the street apart and the police are trying to control it….but probably making it worse. Chris still doesn’t really know what is going on. Only Travis has any idea what is happening.

Maddie makes it back to the house.

We see an overhead shot of L.A. at night. The lights go out in a couple sections of town.

Nick crushes up the oxycontin that Maddie found at the school. I assume he snorts it. We don’t see what he does after he crushes them…since they need to last a long time snorting isn’t the best method. He needs the extended release and should have swallowed them whole….she doesn’t stop him from crushing them but she is keeping the bottle on her, not letting him see how many she has. He needs to ration them to make them last until they get somewhere safe where he can detox.

A drug addict detoxing during the apocalypse is something I haven’t seen before. It’s an interesting concept. It’s something to set this show apart even when the timeline catches up to where it was during the first season or two of The Walking Dead. An addict is an addict, right? Isn’t that what they themselves say? So, even when he is detoxed it will still be something he struggles with.

Walkers are now in the street. The power is out in the house. The phones are going in and out. It’s already looking a bit like the world we know from The Walking Dead. Only sirens still blare in the background. There are still lots of people alive.

A big issue with this episode is the characters tendency to not tell each other things. There are many occasions when just stopping and calmly explaining the situation, at least as much as they are aware of (I do get that no one REALLY knows much about what is actually happening), would save them time as opposed to arguing with each other and wanting others to blindly do as they are told. I didn’t find this near as annoying in the first episode because it didn’t seem as obvious that just explaining would save time. This episode however it got a little annoying. 

I also find the overuse of the eerie music to be a bit irritating, especially if you watch the episode more than once. On 2nd viewing both the characters inability to explain things and the eerie music get extra annoying.

While I’m on the topic of negatives, the characters still all seem like caricatures. The original series had this issue at times as well. Especially this early on. At this point, episode two, only Rick and Shane had real personality. It is much more noticeable in this series, though, because it is trying to follow more lead characters. Only Nick has real personality and even he isn’t showing it in this episode since he is going through detox the whole time and is super sick. It’s even hard to tell if he actually has personality or if he is just a more interesting caricature.

I’m hoping the show consistently improves. I’m hoping it’s a good show. Then again if the Walking Dead ratings are anything to be taken as an example the show can be kind of horrible for a while and people will keep watching. So, it may not exactly matter if it consistently improves or not….it has a while to get good before people will abandon it. Probably a long while.

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