Fear The Walking Dead: 2.02 - We All Fall Down
We open this weeks episode of Fear The Walking Dead on a serene coastal beach following children as they play on a beach as waves lap menacingly at the shoreline. Its good to see humans, albeit children, having fun and not having a care in the world. It's relaxing to see in a world turned to madness that the innocence of childhood pokes through the dread of death and suffering. Zombies emerge from the sea, backlit against the setting sun, the beauty of earth juxtaposed with the finality of death. As a viewer we ask, are we really going to see the story kill innocent children at this point, has it reached that desperation yet?
Back on the boat the group are again arguing amongst themselves about where safe haven will be and how long it will take to get there. They decide on a nearby inlet where there is a ranger station, where a light has just been seen turning on. Before they get there, a short scene plays out between Nick and Travis discussing the possibility of being safe. Travis tries to convince Nick that their plan will work. Nick is not convinced and tells his dad exactly that. The dynamic between the two characters is interesting, you cant help but compare them to Carl and Rick from The Walking Dead and it will be intriguing to see how this relationship shifts and changes in the coming seasons. At the moment Nick does not trust anything his dad says and this makes Travis look small and useless. You can see this emotion play across the face of Cliff Curtis as the scene plays out.
The majority of the group leave the boat and visit the ranger station, leaving behind Salazar and Strand on the boat. The group gingerly approach the ranger station, where they meet a small survivalist family. Father George, Mother Melissa, sons Harry and Seth and daughter Willa. As most survivalist families start out, they seem all together at first but as the group spends more and more time with the family cracks starts to appear. George is a little unhinged and is waiting for the inevitable rather than fight against the oncoming zombie invasion, although he will maintain a strong perimeter. As the episode progresses we get the sense of similarities between the group. Travis looks up to George as he holds his family together. Madison senses a hidden secret with Melissa and tries to coax it out of her. Nick sees himself in Harry and his penchant for play. Its a great way to build sympathy with the group because ultimately we want our group to survive and be happy like this family but an over whelming sense of dread permeates the episode and you know that something bad is only coming around the next corner.
As night draws in a scene plays out between Nick and Alicia aboard the boat staring at the stars. Its a simply written scene where the characters try to take some small positives out of the madness around them. With the lack of planes and air pollution they both stare at a blanket of stars above them. Its a tender moment and is well played out.
Towards the conclusion of the episode it is decided that the group will take the two young children away from the family as there is more of a chance of survival on the boat than on the small holding they are on now. George, being the father figure, disagrees with this but before the children can be gathered, Willa, the daughter has ingested medication and has passed away upstairs. At this point, all hell breaks loose and Willa quickly turns and dines on her own mother. This is a startling plot revelation and not something I thought the Fear The Walking Dead writing team would be brave enough to approach, but they do and it's a well directed scene.
As the group rush to the dock with Harry and board the boat, older brother Seth, gun in hand demands Harry be returned to him which the group do reluctantly. As the brother leave the boat and venture up the jetty, they see their mother slowly stumbling zombie style towards them, Seth takes a shot and leaves...
We All Fall Down in conclusion is a well directed, well written episode, getting us more entrenched with our group of characters, especially Strand, who after taking a mysterious phonecall, is getting less and less trust worthy as the season moves on. It was good to see that getting off the boat and having it in the background is working and its shaping up to be a strong season.