I’m getting concerned about Fear.  As the show moves out of its novelty phase (watching society die), we are headed to the same place where TWD exists (zombie apocalypse), yet I’m not sure there are many characters on Fear that I actually want to spend time with.

This was the obligatory part of any fall-of-society story where the Army shows up and has things “under control”.  There are fences, commanding officers who don’t have time for silly civilians concerns, rationing of food/electricity and a growing sense of unease that the Army is keeping secrets.  One of the general problems I have with Fear and TWD is that they feel like shows that are made in a vacuum without any admission that viewers have consumed/processed these sorts of stories before.  It’s kinda patronizing and I’m getting sick of it.

If there is a big “reveal” in the final two episodes that Lt. Moyers is “cut off from his chain of command” and hasn’t received any new orders in weeks, I might scream.  It’ll be worse if there is a cliched scene where an outed Moyers rationalizes that he was “doing the right thing” to keep people safe by maintaining the facade of the government coming to help them.  Fear has been pretty cliched and it isn’t doing anything to make me feel it won’t continue being a cliche in the future.

Of course, this is all seen through the eyes of Travis (who believes that the Army is there to save them all) and Maddy (who can smell a rat) and Daniel (who has seen the army crack down in ways our weak American characters have no conception of).  Again, it’s cliche on top of cliche.

Even the sub-plots are strange.  A big focus of the episode was on the mirror-signaler in the cleared zone outside the fence.  It might have been interesting if someone had actually made contact with the signaler, but instead they were just used as a plot device to show Travis that the Army was up to some sinister shit out there beyond the walls.  I’m just not sure that Travis’ emotional journey is that interesting.  It’s like the show’s creators haven’t seen all the polls and stuff about the American public’s distrust of government.

And where is Nick’s morphine story leading us?  Newflash: In the end, they run out of morphine.  I want a zombie show, not an after-school-special about drug addiction.

That brings us to Dr. Exner’s off-site hospital.  This is the other side of the failing government storyline.  There would naturally be some hospital where the authorities are racing to understand what happened to cause the zombie epidemic and create a cure.  We know that science project doesn’t end well, but my hope is that it will tie into the Season 1 episode from TWD where Rick & Co. visit Dr. Jenner at the CDC.  Or maybe that there is some lingering bit of HOPE coming out of this Season 1 of Fear?  Maybe they can keep Dr. Exner on the team and there will be an effort to help her “finish her research on a cure”?  That would at least give Fear a different spin than just being another version of what Rick & Co are going through.

Pretty grim review, but there’s just not much positive to say about the episode.  I still like Kim Dickins in the role of Maddy….even if the writers are having her do stupid stuff like repaint and hiss at Travis that Nick’s Army abduction was Eliza’s fault.  But, I think that the writers and actress will figure that character out.  I also like some of the cinematography in the episode, especially when it comes to Nick’s scenes.  Hopefully that can continue.

 

-Dean Stell

Grade

C

Conclusion

Not a terrible episode, but the story is fairly cliche and I don't see many directions that give us hope that Fear will be a distinct show and not just another version of TWD with cheaper visual effects (because the "zombies" just have milky contact lenses at this point).