Fear The Walking Dead 2.08 - Grotesque
So after a summer long break we are back into the world of Fear The Walking Dead ; with the family split up and tensions still simmering the world is becoming a smaller more harsh place but also expansive and adventurous all at the same time. Most mid season premieres are like a cannonball being fired with revelations coming thick and fast. This weeks episode is different to that, its a more pensive, introspective episode following Nick around in his head and going on his own spiritual Walkabout.
We find Nick wandering the scorched earth like Caine in Kung Fu , trying to survive the best he can in such a hostile environment. Nick being Nick though, he almost straight way loses his most vital possessions like his water and backpack. Having been cottonwooled by Madison in previous episodes Nick is at a loss here and has no innate skills on how to survive. Trying to find items from abandoned cars, he goes from the frying pan into the fire by nearly getting bit and then nearly getting killed by a group of vigilantes we continue to meet throughout this episode. Nick simply does not have the skills to survive. Here is where the episode takes a misstep in the 'rules' of the show though. A scene plays out where Nick is attacked by feral dogs which a group of zombies go ahead to kill and eat. Hearing noises the zombies move off leaving Nick to eat the innards of the dog almost like the aforementioned zombies. Surely Nick would become infected if he eats the dog innards that the zombies have just been eating themselves? It's a strange misstep in my eyes and is unneeded. Yes, Nick is at the brink of malnutrition but it's a step in the wrong direction.
Another story beat that plays out is flashbacks involving Nick and the death of his father. Madison appears here at a law court of some kind to inform Nick his father has died and the scene plays out well with the shock and desperation playing well across Frank Dillane's face as he realises the father he so craved the attention of is now not of this earth anymore.
Other flashbacks play out including a scene set right back at the start of the series in Nick's crack house where he talks about his father's lack of attention towards him as he and a blonde haired enabler help him prepare his drugs. This is literally moments before the pilot episode picks up when we see Nick running away from the house in the opening scenes of that episode. Its an interesting flashback and it's good to see callbacks like this, however small.
With Nicks inate ability to blend in with the zombie hordes, he travels towards Tijuana but collapses due to lack of water and food. Observed by a group of survivors, the debate whether to save Nick or leave him to the zombies and outlaw gangs. They eventually decide to take him in and help him recover. The episode ends with Nick observing a wonderful paradise of safety and happiness in a compound sheltered by the madness of the outside world.
A great episode from the well know TV director Daniel Sackheim. It's an interesting concept in this series to follow one character around for the majority of the episode. If you had said this was going to happen with Nick in season one, then this would be a terrible episode. Now knowing the character of Nick better, it gives us even more opportunity to build his character better and to have more of an emotional investment in his actions. A quiet and pensive episode to kick off Season 2.B but one that continues to keep me hooked.