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Zombie Round Up: Fear The Walking Dead Episode 3 – “The Dog”

It’s been two weeks since we last watched our mismatched family try to deal with the zombie outbreak in LA, and I’ve been feeling a little zombie deprived. But let’s be honest, I know I’ve been critical and maybe harsh at times with my review, so I might as well be up front with you now. If you thoroughly enjoy Fear The Walking Dead and think it is a phenomenal show you might not want to read my review this week. I for one have become more and more disappointed in the show, and I’ve decided to get it all down in writing this week. Of course, I’d love to hear back from all of you geeks out there, whether or not you disagree or agree, so stick around till the comments section for me if you dare. Here goes my “all things wrong with Fear The Walking Dead” rant, spoilers of course included.

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I found myself getting more and more frustrated as I watched these broken families struggle to deal with the zombie apocalypse this week. Let’s face it; I know I could do such a better job. But aside from the play by play errors and idiotic decisions they make that I will go in to detail about later in this review, I want to just write right up front what I think my beef with this show is: the underlying theme they are clinging to is denial. I understand that in any apocalypse like this there would be some elements of denial, even I would at first question if what was happening was really real or just a figment of my deranged and yet mind-blowing imagination. But I feel like the one thing that the writers wanted to get across in this show is the unbelievable disbelief of its characters. At this point we are a couple of days in to the outbreak, as well as numerous near death encounters with the walking dead, and yet all of our characters are denying this so bad that I WANT it to literally bite them in the butt and result in their deaths.

Maybe I am more of a survivalist than I thought, but I just find the reactions of these characters so unbelievable it’s making me not like the show. I have nothing invested in these characters, and they continue to make decisions where I feel like they deserve to die. The only aspects of the show I enjoy are those with zombies, which is the opposite with its predecessor The Walking Dead. In that show there could be minimal walkers, even a couple episodes in a row without any real threat or danger, and I still love it because I am in love with all the characters of our main family group. They are complex, moral, endearing, moving. They are people that I am invested in and will sit on the edge of my seat praying for their survival every week, and heaving a huge sigh when the episode goes by zombie-less with everyone alive. Meanwhile on numerous occasions this week with Fear The Walking Dead I kept requesting for an appearance of George R. R. Martin so we could kill off some of these main characters that I despise.

Walkers - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Gallery - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

Walkers – The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Gallery – Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

Well, #sorrynotsorry if you were bothered by that rant, but I had to get it out. Now if you agree, or want to hear some of my arguments for why I am so far unimpressed with this prequel TV show, I will continue on to various parts of this past week’s episode that disappointed me. Where to start, where to start.

Back in downtown LA people are going nuts rioting after the cops killed some innocent homeless people. Meanwhile Travis, his son, ex-wife, and the poor unsuspecting Salazar family are holed up in their barbershop as chaos ensues on the streets around them. And yet Travis continues to try to hide what is happening outside from his son Chris. Like many teenagers, Chris is quite a whiner and plays all tough guy like he hates his father all the time. Of course until they run in to the streets to try to make it to the truck and he witnesses a zombie cop attacking a fellow cop in riot gear. What does he do? Walks towards the incident saying “Dad? Dad?!” Ok #1- who the f*ck would walk towards this? If you saw someone ripping out another person’s throat with his or her teeth, would you walk towards it to get a better look? Maybe you would walk that direction if you were trying to bash in the head of the attacker, but otherwise I think you would take a wide berth. And #2, I’m sorry, but Chris shifting between tough guy jerk son to helpless 5 year old is just lame, and not really believable. #3, and I found myself shouting this at the screen a lot, but don’t ask your dad to explain anything- he’s been trying to shelter you from this from the get go and I only hope it gets you killed so he learns his lesson.

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The riot scene was just a little too much for me. It seemed, well, fake, and poorly acted, as stupid young adults tried to scare our fleeing families as they hung from the sides of buildings and over fences. It honestly was a poorly filmed scene in my opinion, it’s like they got all these extras and said “look scary, look like you are rioting” and what happened was they all shouted and swung their arms but at the sky rather then in a productive, purposeful manner, and so it looked scripted and ridiculous.

That being said a scene shortly after the riot scene as both families fled the city in the truck was in my opinion one of the best: the hospital scene. It was only a drive by scene. Griselda’s ankle got crushed by some material knocked over by the rioters, so they decide to drop their family off at the hospital on their way to the Clarks. And as they roll past you can see the entire hospital is surrounded by cops as they try to shoot down the walkers slowly streaming from the building. It was a brief scene, but I felt great imagery and very accurate considering in a zombie apocalypse (as well as many other outbreaks) hospitals would be a place for exposure and high concentrations of infected.

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Back at the Clarks the name of the game is: Let’s pretend nothing bad is happening outside and enjoy a family game of Monopoly! Think I am exaggerating? Did you hear what Madison said to her son? He whispered to her “Mom, we should tell Alicia what’s going on” since they were the only two in the household to have seen a zombie. Her response? “Keep quiet, she might have to see anything.” Are you f-ing kidding me? My respect for this shitty mother is about at a negative twenty right now.

Now I realized in the next scene FTWD went somewhere not many movies or shows do, and it is about the namesake of this episode: they killed the dog. Yup, some poor neighbor’s dog came running to their house only to bark and defend it and eventually get killed and eaten by the zombie neighbor. Now I realize they picked a German Shepard to make it seem like a tough dog, or maybe to convince the family that these zombies are something to be feared, but once again it made the situation unbelievable. How did a military grade German Shepard end up that easily overtaken by a zombie? And a better question, how did this still not convince the family that these are zombies we are dealing with?!?! This show honestly would have been better if we abandoned the current families in favor of following the dog.

This might look promising but no, don't worry, she didn't have the guts to pull the trigger

This might look promising but no, don’t worry, she didn’t have the guts to pull the trigger

Cause what happens next? Travis and his family stumble in to find the neighbor literally eating the dead dog on the ground. He tells his son to stay back, AND THEN GOES UP TO THE ZOMBIE HIMSELF!!!! And asks him if he is in there!!!!!! That seems like the smartest thing I have heard of yet- let’s all get a really close look at the inside of these people’s mouths to confirm whether or not they are zombies. As Travis ends up tackled by this walker I found myself rooting for the zombie, since I really felt Travis deserved to get bitten the way he was acting. They owe the Salazars bit time since Daniel is the one to take the gun and blow the zombie’s head off to save them all.

Again and again I find the only character that makes sense is the addict Nick. What does he tell the group when they find their neighbor Susan stuck in her backyard, turned and reaching perpetually towards them to eat their brains? Nick announces that she is dead, just like all the others. Thank you! Finally! Someone acknowledges what is happening! Only to have Travis chew his head off telling him he should not have said that. Look guys, Nick is probably the only reason you a-holes have made it to day two. Yeah, he’s a selfish, drug-addicted brat, but he’s smart and thinking about this whole situation the right way.

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His constant denial of what is happening around him has already made me dislike Travis, and then he has to make some snide comment about being in the house with two wives after everything settles down. No dick, that’s your ex, and I am seeing why that is the case now. Yup, I already didn’t like his pathetic attempts to shelter his kids from what was happening around them, then I was pissed that he was in denial that these people are actually zombies, and now he makes some woe-is-me comment about having to deal with women. I’ve pretty much written you off in my mind ten times over now and wish his ex-wife had finished him off right then and there.

Speaking of Travis’ denial, Daniel starts teaching his son Chris how to use a gun: yay, something useful! What happens? Travis flips out and starts going on and on about his hatred of guns and doesn’t allow it. Gosh you really do deserve to get to see your family die. Now look, I am about as anti-gun as they come. It’s actually an important political issue for me, and I never side with those on the sidelines of the NRA or the 2nd amendment. But I am also one of the first to admit I might have regretted that stance in the event of an actual apocalypse. For now though there are more people killing people with guns so I think I’ll be safe not having that in my handy arsenal of zombie killing weapons.

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The whole side story about the neighbor Susan in this episode was really quite sad. She used to babysit Nick and Alicia when they were kids. Now she’s a zombie. And no one has the heart to end it for her. For a very brief moment when Madison approached Susan with a hammer in hand I thought, “Ok, this could be it. This could be when they embrace the situation they are in and start to act like survivors.” Nope, boy was I wrong. Instead Travis comes and has some artsy-fartsy religious conversation with her pleading that she is still a person and it’s not Madison’s right to decide if she lives or dies. Daniel took the words right out of my mouth as he watched them through the window and said “weak”.

But back to Susan- no one ends her misery, and instead as the group of them is leaving (for the desert) they see her husband Patrick coming back in to town. (Side note- did you see what Alicia was wearing?! Short shorts and a belly shirt- great gear for the apocalypse. That being said she probably gets it from her mom who is sporting a large amount of eye shadow, cause you know, it’s got to be a priority to look good running from walkers). Madison does the only semi-brave thing she has done yet, and turns around to warn him. But she’s too late, and runs in to the yard right as Susan is about to rip his throat out in a touching embrace. Now this caught me by surprise- BANG! It doesn’t happen cause the military has arrived and just blew Susan’s brains out all over Patrick. Next thing we know the entire area is swarming with military as they travel house to house taking out the zombies: way to go!

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Now I have another reason to dislike Madison: her hatred and distrust of authority. She walks right up to the soldiers who are cleaning their yard of infected blood and demands to be told where they took her friend Patrick. Are you kidding me? Who died and made you Sargent Bitch Inquisitor? She is rude, dismissive, condescending and distrusting of the soldiers when they just saved her life. She was like this in the first episode with the police as well. It really makes me wonder how she became this way with authority since she is a guidance counselor, you would think she’d be more supportive of law enforcement.

I know the show has slowly been losing viewers based on reviews online, and they claim it’s from the slow pace or lack of action. Let me tell you, if people are like me it’s not for those reasons. Sure, we watched the family play Monopoly this week, but sometimes in a crisis those bonding moments can be moving, emotional, even tear jerking and memorable. Remember that simple scene when Harry and Hermione danced in the tent for a brief moment in Deathly Hallows Part 1? So no, there is more then enough zombies and action in each episode to fulfill your suspense meter. It’s the lack of deep, emotional, and likeable characters that will be this show’s failure if you ask me.

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I know that in reality not everyone is Rick Grimes. Not everyone is a good person. Not everyone is as brave as a Gryffindor. Not everyone is as daring as Doctor Who. Not everyone is as smart as Tom Mason. Not everyone is as kind and protective as Molly Weasley. So if there were a zombie apocalypse there would be a lot of people making bad decisions. But these families’ decisions are so bad, so abysmal, and their interactions and attitudes so atrocious, I want to see them die. I am hoping the show doesn’t get renewed for another season unless they start tracking some new more worthy families. You see, time is precious to me, and I want to come home and watch a show where the people that succeed deserve it. No, it might not be reality, but it would make me happy.

I hope for all you zombie lovers out there like me that you are less disappointed in the show then I am. I’m planning to keep watching it, but so far I am unimpressed by all the characters, and would even go so far as to say I actively dislike them. I am also uninvested in their survival and don’t see that changing anytime soon. All I can do is hope that we stumble across some new, more deserving group of survivors and follow them. Or get to see this family end up as a guest appearance of TWD as a group of walkers. In the meantime, might I suggest if you agree with me and want to post about the absurdity of the show, you use a hashtag I have created: #wtfftwd. I think that could add some amusement to this sad situation.

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Posted on September 16, 2015, in Reviews, TV, Zombie Round-Up and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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