Last night was the series debut of the new Fear the Walking Dead series on AMC, the spinoff of the Walking Dead series. It was an hour and a half special that started intense and ended the same.
I’ll be honest, when I first heard they were doing a spinoff, I was a little skeptical about it. I mean, the Walking Dead is great, but another show about zombies? However, the trailers came out and we learned the series would be based in LA, have new characters, and show how the zombie apocalypse started (at least in LA) and how things went down hill and the world became the world we know and love in the TWD.
The debut was simply brilliant in my eyes. From the opening minutes, we meet the first character, Frank, a druggie who is coming off of a high in an abandoned church. He hears noises and goes to investigate, only two find bodies and the first zombie we see, Gloria, eating them. She is still fresh (unlike the TWD zombies that are, aged) and has a knife stabbed in her. Frank freaks, thinking he is on something still, and bolts out of there, only to get hit by a car after running out in the road.
Frank awakes in the hospital and tries to figure out what he saw while his parents, Travis and Kim, try to understand their son and worry that the drugs are really starting to get to him.
Throughout the episode, there are scenes where we think the zombie is going to be right behind the corner, like when the principal is listening in on lecture (how he is crouched down) or when Travis investigates the church, only to find a druggie running for it. Both scenes are inserted there to build up the suspense, only to have normal, everyday activities to happen.
Then the first episodes starts to put in the little hints that things are starting to fall apart. We hear about the virus outbreak rumor from Tobias (carried a knife because he is scared), people are missing from school and presumed “sick” and the warning to get your flu shot. Then we see the attacks on the freeway which shows the virus is already spreading as officers can’t take down the zombies that are getting up (gets dismissed as a fake video by some). Then there are the zombies that are missing from the church, a sign that they are on the move. Then there is the daughter, Alicia and her unanswered text messages to her boyfriend. There is also the old man in the hospital that was making some bad sounds then coded (yeah, he’s a zombie now). And of course at the end, we see our second official zombie of the series. Frank’s drug dealer is shot by Frank after the dealer tried to take him out. Frank’s parents arrive and the dealer is up and moving. Frank runs him over yet he is still moving on the ground, giving the family their first real look at what’s to come. Its interesting to note that in the TWD we thought you had to be bit to turn, until we learn from Jenner at the CDC. In the first episode we see that every human is already infected and come right back to life after dying. We just don’t know what sparks that yet.
I love how the first episode is setting everything up for fall to happen. We are seeing the signs, from the well placed hints (mentioned in the last paragraph), to Travis’s lecture on life and how nature works, to Kim telling Tobias if there was something happening like a virus, the government would know and do something about it. Its all showing how as a society, we are so unprepared once the system we live in falls apart. We saw the cops struggling to take down the walkers, so just wait until things get out of hand.
Some complained it started to slow or was not action packed, but they fail to see the human dynamic with this new family and how things will go once the zombies start appearing.
It was a great start to this miniseries and I can’t wait to see episode two next week.