Holy good God, what an episode.
F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “Character is plot, plot is character.” I agree but only to an extent because plot can be determined from rounded out characters, whereas rounded out characters can not be mined from plot. Fear the Walking Dead has decided to start with character. Kirkman and Erikson have derived a plot from their characters by setting them in an already inhabited world.
Everyone has a fatal flaw and it’s informing the decisions they are making. It’s creating the plot. Daniel (Ruben Blades) refuses to be indebted to anyone. He is obsessed with keeping an even ‘score’ with Travis (Cliff Curtis). This leads him to put his family in a potentially dangerous situation and cutting them off from help and support. Travis needs to take care of everyone, causing him to bury his neighbor instead of burning him out of respect which almost leads to a problem with the military crew. The hamartia goes on and so forth for each character creating tension, conflict, story.
I know that I am probably repeating myself, going over and over how Fear is character-driven, why it’s the right way to do things (in my opinion,) and why it’s making this a beyond amazing show. I feel this has to be reiterated so much and so often is because, one, Fear is slowly becoming one of my favorite shows and two because I never really enjoyed The Walking Dead as it felt more plot-driven. I didn’t care about the characters or connect to them. Fear the Walking Dead is the exact opposite. It has a shadow, for good and bad, from it’s parent show so I feel it’s important to constantly drive home how well Fear is doing even though it’s super different from The Walking Dead.
“The Dog” was an impressive episode. It expanded on almost every character connecting us deeper to this world and to this show as well as moved the conflict forward. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. My heart was basically non-existent it beat so hard. At one point my roommate moved a chair and it made this weird groaning noise; I jumped ten feet off the couch because I assumed a zombie was breaking into the house. (There wasn’t and we’re fine.)
The cinematography of Fear keeps right in line with most AMC shows. It’s cinematic and thematic, adding grandeur to the smallest of scenes. The best shot from tonight’s episode was, for me, tied. Alicia’s (Alycia Debnam-Carey) dash back to the neighbor’s house for bullets was breathtaking. As she scrambles to pick up the bullets, we see her head poke over the table and an opened, tipped over medication bottle. The camera rack focuses from the bottle to her eyes; something’s wrong and everyone’s pulse is up.
Then, when Daniel (Blades) shoots a zombie who is attacking Travis, the camera focuses on everyone else’s reactions in the room. Madison (Kim Dickens) is perfectly lined up in front of one of those quote pictures from TJMaxx that reads, “You are loved. Always.” As she cringes away from the violent scene in front of her, the audience clearly sees that sign. It’s perfect in a gory, kind of sad way.
“The Dog” was another outstanding hour of television. Fear the Walking Dead is firing on all cylinders.