This was a pretty solid ending for Fear’s first season and it was nice to see the series end on a high-note after some uneven episodes.

This was the expected “Shit hits the fan” episode where the zombies overrun the army and everything goes to hell in a handbasket.  Watching the show make the pivot from the army facility/hospital being a safe spot to bedlam was really moving….and it was all in the little details.  Like, consider the scene where Alicia and Chris are hiding from the soldiers in the car: The kids act like they are hiding from the “authorities”, but when the soldiers find them, they don’t try to apprehend them……they just want to car-jack their vehicle.  The soldiers KNOW that it’s all over and they want to GTFO of there.  Or the scene when Eliza rushes through the outside of the facility and pauses to see all the zombies at the fence…..you can see that she KNOWS the facility is getting overrun.  And what made it more effective is the writers/creators just let the actors sell the scene….there is no point where a character like Rick squats down to explain to a character like Carl how, “This facility is getting overrun.  We have to get out of here now.”

The other thing I liked is how nicely all the characters got back together.  It really didn’t seem forced at all and it avoided what I was afraid would happen: The characters being split up to begin Season 2 and there being annoying talks about “We can’t leave yet!  _____ is still missing!”  I have to say, I’m generally pleased with the writing choices the Fear team is making and perhaps it is time to stop letting my frustration with the stupid storytelling at TWD-proper prejudice me against a show that deserves a fresh start.

Strand continued to be a great addition.  He’s just a cool and charismatic character.  I like him a lot.  I liked that he buttons his coat while striding around the doomed facility, I liked the he told Nick not to sweat the zombies because “They’re slow.” and I liked that he took his cufflinks back from the guard before leaving the guy to be eaten alive.  He just has a sense of style and he gets it.

But, what I liked most was the it looks like we’re getting on a BOAT for Season 2.  I’ve wanted that for years in TWD (comics or TV).  Not sure that sort of boat is apocalypse friendly (the mileage is gonna suck), but at least we won’t be watching filthy people running around in the wilderness.  Been there and done that with TWD-proper.  Fear needs to be different and it seems like the writers understand that.  It’s a great opportunity to show us something different and I’m fascinated to see what a group of maritime survivors looks like (better tans?  less filthy?).  Hopefully the writers stick with it.

And the zombie mayhem itself was really nicely done.  The show clearly knows how to handle the horror aspect too.

The only soft part of the episode is this continual fascination with Travis and his growing into a tough man of the apocalypse.  It’s just lame.  The creators of this show simply aren’t committed enough to these scenes and until they are, they should avoid them.  We saw a few weeks ago that Travis wouldn’t let Maddy “kill” Zombie Susan and that established Travis’ baseline behavior.  It’s possible to have a scene that shows us how much he’s changed because of the new reality, but him killing Bitten Eliza was both (a) half-assing it and (b) too soon.  It just hasn’t been LONG enough to believe that Travis has been transformed.  Change his character little-by-little over time (as TWD has done with Darryl) and it is effective.  Showing him swinging to a new extreme in 3-4 episodes isn’t credible.  I mean…..the zombies just overran the world in this episode.  And…..if you’re going to try to show Travis’ new hard-man personality, shooting his ex-wife after she’s been bitten isn’t the best way to do it.  Remember in Season 1 of TWD when we heard the story of how Jim (remember him?) was glum because he’d escaped the zombie hordes because the zombies were busy eating his children alive?  I still remember THAT because it was a huge punch in the guts to even hear that story repeated second hand.  I’m not sure that bitten ex-wives cause quite the emotional turmoil as innocent children.  I just think that TV shows need to fully commit to those emotional scenes for them to be effective.  Don’t half-ass it.

 

-Dean Stell

Grade

B+

Conclusion

We're in a pretty good spot heading into Season 2. I like most of the characters and it seems like the story is headed to a different place than what we've seen from TWD-proper.