After last week’s not-so-stellar series premiere, Fear the Walking Dead is back for its second episode. Is it good?

Walking Toward Eternity

The episode opens with Principal Art Costa walking through the hallways of his now empty high school.

We then switch to Alicia (ugh) who is walking to her boyfriend’s house. After an excruciatingly long tracking shot, she walks inside his house to find that something is very wrong with him.

Cue credits.

Bad Communication

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Maddie, Travis, and Nick speed away from the Calvin-walker crime scene we ended on last week. Maddie decides calls Alicia and tells her to pack some things because they are getting the hell out of dodge (smart). She doesn’t give her already sullen daughter a single reason why they are doing this (dumb), but it doesn’t matter—Alicia isn’t going anywhere while Matt is sick.

When they finally get to her, she is curled up next to Matt, who looks like hell warmed over. Maddie tells Alicia to get away from him because he might be contagious. Alicia’s response: “If he has it, I have it.” Awwwww yeah!

Ahem… sorry. Anyway, Alicia eventually listens to her mom about Matt being potentially contagious. Once she’s out of the room, Travis walks over and sits down right next to him. He then pulls down Matt’s shirt to reveal a nasty looking bite. After asking “Is that a bite?” and receiving and affirmative response, Maddie and Travis follow that up with… nothing. Morbid curiosity could have (and should have) led to any number of questions at this point:

  • Who bit you?
  • WHAT bit you?
  • When did this happen?
  • Did our daughter give you the mother of all hickeys?

Instead, the family just freaks out even more. Matt then cements himself as the show’s only likable character by insisting that Alicia listen to her parents and go with them.

Later, Travis decides calls his ex-wife, Liza, and tells her to take their son and get somewhere safe (smart). When she asks why, he says he’ll explain later (DUMB).

Seriously Travis? You’ll explain it later? Are you running low on anytime minutes or something? Neither she nor Chris have time for his crap, so they both refuse to take any more of his calls, forcing him to drive out and explain everything in person.

Stupid runs in the family

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Meanwhile, Travis’ son Chris is on a bus to go see his dad (and ignoring his calls). When the bus stops, a random dude jumps on and yells that the police just shot a homeless guy a bunch of times in the middle of the street. This must have been a secret code for “Everybody run off the bus toward the danger,” because that’s exactly what Chris and all of the other passengers do.

He arrives to find that the police have cordoned off the crime scene, which is now surrounded by very angry people. Chris begins to film what’s happening. The police tell him to stop. The angry protestors bust out some constitutional knowledge about his right to film them. Chris decides he is now officially a protestor, too. When his dad calls (and gets through) to tell him to get away from downtown, he yells back that he’s “part of this” and hangs up.

Chasing the Purple Dragon

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Remember that heroin addiction thing Nick had? Well, the withdrawal has started kicking in pretty hard. And wouldn’t ya know it, Maddie doesn’t have any drugs at the house to help her son deal with it. Since the pharmacy is closed due to the coming apocalypse, she decides to head over to the high school and steal them from her employer.

Before leaving, Maddie makes Alicia promise she won’t go anywhere, which a sure fire way to make sure a sullen, bratty teen does anything but stay put. But just after Alicia tries to leave the house, Nick has a seizure and starts puking like Bishop in the last scene from Aliens. She runs back inside, yells at her brother for having the audacity to almost die, and stays with him until the seizure passes.

Later, we see Alicia scrubbing vomit out of the hardwood floor… which is kind of weird. I could understand vomit creating a stain on carpet, but it should just mop right up off a wood floor. The fact that I’m thinking about this should probably tell you how bored I am at this point, but I digress…

Nick turns and thanks Alicia for being there for him. She responds by saying that she hates him. Alicia is the worst.

School Security

Maddie digs around the empty school looking for drugs. She’s surprised to find Tobias there, who greets her by asking if he can have his knife back.

Okay, we’re going to stop the tape right here for a minute. My first thought was Tobias showed up at the school just to get his knife, which would have been impressively stupid. Turns out he was actually there to stock up on cafeteria food for the coming apocalypse, which is actually pretty smart. But the dude still didn’t take a knife with him. You’re telling me Mr. Zombie Survival 101 didn’t bring a weapon with him on a scavenging mission because his guidance counselor took it? Was there a knife shortage in LA when all of this happened?

Anyway, she gives him the knife back (ugh), he tells her about what’s going to happen during the zombie apocalypse, and they both get attacked by a zombified principal Costa.

I’d like to point out that three of the four zombies we’ve seen so far have been black. At best, that makes this plague a really bad horror-movie cliché…and at worst, a little racist.

Maddie tries to reason with Zombie Costa by saying they’ll get him help. Zombie Costa attacks. Tobias shows that all the knowledge in the world won’t help him when his main method of self-defense is ‘scream, flail your arms, and fall down the stairs.’ Maddie rescues him (barely) and they flee outside. She then offers Tobias shelter with her family.

“I’ll be okay,” he replies.

Dude is so dead.

All Hell Breaks Loose

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Chris convinces his ex to head into downtown with him to look for Chris. After some needless slow mo shots, a zombiefied girl dressed like a Hot Topic employee gets gunned down by the police. People get angry and start to riot. Travis, Liza, and Chris find refuge in a barbershop.

At one point, Chris stares out the window to watch the chaos unfolding outside. Travis yells at him to get away from the window because it’s not safe…then proceeds to stand and gape out the window himself. Like father, like son.

Travis calls Maddie, who finally made it home. They’ve barricaded themselves inside, as well, leaving her stuck with Nick and Alicia. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather deal with a heroin addict going through withdrawal than the girl. Either way, everyone looks to be in for a long night.

Is It Good?

This episode was definitely better than the first, but it still wasn’t good.

The only character who was remotely likable (Matt) died. Travis continues to be stupid. Alicia somehow got even worse. The rest just haven’t really made me want to root for them.

And then there are the plot issues.

Wouldn’t you at least consider asking Matt “Hey man, who or what bit the hell out of your shoulder?”

Why couldn’t Travis tell Liza over the phone about something…ANYTHING…that he’d seen in the last 24 hours?

Why is Tobias so smart about survival, but also willing to venture out into the world—which he knows is collapsing—without any sort of weapon?

And what’s the deal with the slow mo?

The show’s production values are good, but the storytelling and characters are barely passable. Maybe now that our main characters are in confined spaces, they won’t be able to do anything too stupid… or maybe it’ll get even worse.

Fear the Walking Dead: Season 1, Episode 2 "So Close, Yet So Far" Review/Recap
The tension and pacing was better this episode
Even without the foresight that the audience has about the zombie apocalypse, the characters continue to make incredibly dumb decisions. Alicia is the worst.What's the deal with the slow-mo?
3.5Overall Score
Reader Rating 13 Votes
5.0
  • I was confused by the school scene. I was wondering how the principal got infected. His back had blood on it, but he had been walking around the school in one piece at the start of the episode. Was that bite so toxic that he died from the wound in less than a day?

    Somebody set off the metal detector, but the principal was on the second floor.

    The principal didn’t label his eavesdropping system so that he would know which classroom he was listening to? Tobias and Madison weren’t able to figure out to run in the opposite direction of the zombie noise?

    • RamblingBeachCat

      Another good point. This show is killing me…and I don’t see any chance of future reanimation.

  • DoinksRUs

    Stop being a doinkberry.

    • RamblingBeachCat

      NEVER!

      • DoinksRUs

        Doink4Life!

  • Olerud_4_Life

    GOod article. Theyre trying to bring the slow drawl (which is also somewhat adversely affecting the walking dead now) into a city atmosphere. THis show should be more like 28 days panic, and i understand its the first two episodes, but the naivety and lack of panic by the characters if unbelievable. Even if the cops and govt are keeping the zombiepocalypse a secret, the mom who has witnessed two zombies dead (or two things dead; they may not realize theyre zombies now) and isnt panicking and is cool headed even though she doesnt really kknow whats going on seems too fake. The show needs to be more 28 days later and dawn of the dead than walking dead, as this is taking place in a packed city, where panic and spread of knowledge are accelerated, not the walking dead, where you can take a slow drawl approach.

    • RamblingBeachCat

      Now that’s a show I would watch.

      I will say, however, that I’m okay with the premise of FTWD. It’s the poor execution that’s making it so hard to watch.

      • Olerud_4_Life

        100% like the premise but youre right the execution is poor.

  • Thank you for this. SERIOUSLY, thank you. I’m giving this show up and just reading your re-caps from now on because as much as I love The Walking Dead show and comic…I couldn’t deal with how bad this was.

    • RamblingBeachCat

      Thanks 🙂 Sometimes I read all the positive reviews its getting and wonder if I’m watching the same show…although the latest episode was much better.

      • That just happened to me with Remender’s Tokyo Ghost I was supposed to review for this site. I couldn’t take how much I hated it and now I’m seeing positive reviews everywhere. It’s crazy. But at least you know you’re not alone.