After a vastly improved showing last week, Fear the Walking Dead brings us an episode that features no zombies, a little sex, and a lot of guns. Is it good?

New Normal

The episode opens with Travis taking a jog through his neighborhood, which has been locked down by the military into a quarantine/safe zone. He runs through the desolate/decimated streets with his headphones on and a big stupid grin across his face. I haven’t been a fan of the character work on this show, but this might be the most spot on metaphor in the history of television.

Meanwhile, Travis’ son, Chris, is pretending he’s a student filmmaker. Right as his monologue about how the world has changed reaches its unbearable zenith, he notices someone flashing a signal from the city, which is supposed to be empty.

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When Travis comes back inside, Maddie starts giving him grief about how he’s always trying to help people (?). Turns out that in the nine days since the military took over, Travis has become the town’s liaison (proving that even during the zombie apocalypse, the stupidest people end up in government). Her complaints then shift to Liza, which causes poor Travis’ head to almost explode. Alicia responds to all this by screaming at them to stop pretending things are normal. It’s a valid point, but it’s also being made by Alicia, which makes it sound obnoxious and whiny.

Thankfully, Ofelia takes one for the team and asks Alicia to go somewhere with her.

Cruisin’ and Abusin’

Nick finally changes out of his stolen old man clothes and into some swimwear. When Maddie finds him lounging in the dirty backyard pool, she asks why he isn’t taking his meds. Nick claims it’s because he’s kicked his drug addiction… which totally makes sense in a high-stress, isolated situation like the one they’re in!

Not only is Nick still using, but he’s stealing morphine from people who actually need it. Congratulations, Nick, you just made Alicia look like the less terrible sibling. Speaking of Alicia, where did she go?

Doodle Cut

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I must have missed what Alicia was doing with Ofelia, but she ends up at her deceased boyfriend’s place. I was expecting… okay, I was HOPING that he would appear as a zombie and eat her. Instead, we see Alicia break down while surrounded by things that reminded her of him. It’s a genuinely touching scenes that almost made me not hate her. Then she started doing a prison tattoo job on the drawing he’d put on her arm in the first episode. I hope she gets an infection.

Ofelia Against Me

It seems Ofelia ditched Alicia to go spend some quality make out time with her new soldier boyfriend. The poor guy doesn’t even seem to realize that she’s using him to try and get medicine for her mother.

Ofelia doesn’t seem to realize that Alicia is missing, either.

Sergeant Stereotype

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The man in charge of the military is one Lt. Moyers, who is infected with every single inhumane-military-leader trope you can think of:

  • Shows little to no concern for citizen’s welfare? Check.
  • Makes jokes about shooting citizens while telling the new laws for their town? Check.
  • Refuse to give information that might help calm or reassure people? Check.
  • Plays golf while casually dismissing something terrible that happened? Check.

The closet he comes to compassion is asking Travis to go talk to Doug, a man who refuses to leave his house because he’s having a (completely understandable) nervous breakdown. The meeting seems to go well, most because Travis tells him everything is going to be okay. I gotta admit, Travis actually sounded convincing—probably because he actually believes it himself.

No one seems to notice that Alicia is missing.

Car Talk

That night, Travis and Maddie get it on in their car. Once they’re done, Maddie uses her seductive hold over him to say that he should listen to Chris about the lights he’s seeing in the city. She thinks the kid might be onto something —- and that he should spend more time with his son and less trying to be the town’s de facto leader.

A few second later, Doug’s family shows up. His wife is freaking out because Doug and his car are gone. Travis reassures her that everything will be fine.

No one seems to notice that Alicia is missing.

Everything is Not Fine

Travis learns from Moyers that they found Doug (along with his car) and shipped him off somewhere else so he wouldn’t cause problems — without telling the man’s family. He also dismisses Travis’ report about his son seeing the lights.

He does all this while hitting golf balls (as I mentioned earlier), just in case you needed to be reminded how callous the lieutenant is.

No one seems to notice that Alicia is missing.

Look, I completely get that people might be glad she’s not around, but wouldn’t someone have noticed her absence by this point? It’s not like people would have a lot a lot of alone time in a heavily militarized quarantine zone…unless it was being run by the most inept fictional military force on earth…

Maddie Mission

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Maddie sees the lights herself and decides that gosh darn it, she’s going to check things out for herself. Thankfully, her only obstacle is the most poorly guarded perimeter in modern military history. No cameras, no motion detectors, no drones. Yep, this place is pretty much wide open to any walker or soccer mom who wants to come and go as they please. Nice work, Moyers.

Maddie sneaks through, sees a bunch of dead bodies (who look they were shot), almost pukes, and makes it back. She also did all of this unarmed and without coming across a single zombie, which is impressive(ly ridiculous).

Liza, Lies, and Left Hooks

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Liza has been doing an awesome job taking care of everyone. Then a doctor shows up, commends her for her work, and reveals that she knows Liza isn’t a real nurse (?). Good to see they’re still keeping up with medical records as the world crumbles.

Fortunately, the doctor doesn’t seem to mind Liza’s fib. In fact, she invites her to help in a more official capacity. One of their first stops is a check up on our old drug addict friend Nick, who the doc totally suspects of still being a junkie.

Later, Maddie finds Nick searching for drugs and beats the hell out of him. Let’s hope she’s got an ass whooping for Travis saved up, too.

Farewells and Fights

That night, Nick cries about getting the crap kicked out of him. Even worse, he’s forced to find comfort via Alicia… who actually comes through and acts like a human being this time.

Unfortunately, the military busts up the hug fest by taking him (along with Griselda) to the extermination medical facility. Travis pleads with everyone to be reasonable, which goes about as well as you’d expect. Maddie gets pissed and blames Liza while pointing at Travis (which I guess means no more visits to the car for a while).

Crestfallen and defeated, Travis heads up to the roof and finally sees the lights his son has been talking about. In one of the few great scenes of the series, the lights are accompanied by gunshots, killing the signal along with a large part of Travis’ adorable naivety about their situation.

Is It Good?

So despite the shift in setting, this series is still very dependent upon people doing really stupid things. Not stupid in the way that people who are panicking or scared act, but stupid in ways that are convenient to the plot. Couple that with a complete lack of likable characters, and we’ve got a problem.

The closet things we have to someone to root for is Daniel Salazar, who didn’t even get a mention in this recap. His role in the series has basically been reduced to one sequence:

  • Look angry.
  • Mutter something about how bad things were in El Salvador when he was a boy.
  • Indirectly point out how stupid Travis is.

And can we talk about Lt. Moyers for a minute? I know it’s common to make the military the bad guy in these situations, but it would have been really cool if they made him into something more than just the stock ‘unfeeling commander’ role.

Unfortunately, he is now just one of many two dimensional characters who have me desperately hoping for an undead horde to swarm across the perimeter… which they totally could since no one seems to be watching it.

Fear the Walking Dead: Season 1, Episode 4 "Not Fade Away" Review/Recap
The setting changed, which could have been interesting. Maddie beats the crap out of Nick.The last scene is truly haunting--worth an entire point on the scale by itself.
The characters are painfully two-dimensional.The plot is dependent upon the characters making astoundingly stupid decisions.Lt. Moyers is a walking military trope
4Meh
Reader Rating 4 Votes
4.0
  • Eponymous

    Alicia and Ofelia were getting supplies from the military. Alicia didn’t go to her dead boyfriend’s place, she went to her neighbor Susan’s place.


    The poor guy doesn’t even seem to realize that she’s using him to try and get medicine for her mother.

    doesn’t realize, or doesn’t care