The way they glowered and snarled and attacked without warning… Yeah, I’m gonna have nightmares for weeks about the bratty teenagers in the premiere of Fear the Walking Dead. And the not-yet-rotting zombies in the L.A.-set Walking Dead prequel were pretty scary, too. The question is, were you creeped out enough to tune back in next week? Let’s review the gory details of the pilot, then discuss, shall we?
ALL IN THE FAMILY | Pretty much as soon as we met high school guidance counselor Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) and her significant other, English teacher Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis), I felt bad for them. How could you not? They seemed like a nice couple, right? Yet her daughter, Alicia, and his son, Chris, were so resentful of their families being blended that they found it impossible to utter a syllable without rolling their eyes. As a result, I kinda liked Maddie’s older kid, 18-year-old Nick (Frank Dillane, a total star). Sure, he’s a heroin addict, but at least he has a sense of humor about it. For instance, when the cops asked what he was on when he was hit by a car while fleeing from a drug den barefoot, he replied, “Runner’s high.”
APOCALYPSE SOON | While Travis remained at the hospital with Nick, Maddie reported to work and was scarcely through the door when her quick thinking kept the principal from realizing that a student named Tobias — possibly the oldest-looking adolescent since Stockard Channing attended Rydell High — had set off the metal detector with a knife, not pocket change. If he wasn’t being bullied, why did he need protection? Because he believed that all of the outbreaks of illness — five states and spreading — were connected and that basically doomsday was upon them. (Don’t feel bad, kid. Nobody ever took Andrea Zuckerman seriously, either.)
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CRAZY TALK | Back at the hospital, Nick confided in Travis that he had been raving about blood and guts when he was brought in after his accident because, when he’d awakened in the church where he’d shot up, he’d discovered that fellow junkie Gloria had bypassed Denny’s breakfast buffet to instead chow down on a coupla guys. Hoping to prove that Nick had just been hallucinating, Travis broke into the derelict church — and found enough blood to shoot a slasher flick. Meanwhile, just as eager as his would-be stepfather to prove that he isn’t crazy, Nick took advantage of his elderly hospital roommate’s code blue to steal the geezer’s Bad Grandpa costume, sneak out and make an appointment with his drug dealer.
BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS | While Alicia’s whining somehow inspired boyfriend Matt (Suburgatory’s Malik!) to ask her out for a romantic evening, Maddie searched for Nick, first by getting Travis to take her to her son’s unholy hangout, then by paying a house call to his clean-cut pal, Calvin. No dice. On their way home, the pair happened upon a police roadblock and heard gunfire — which the following day a viral video revealed to have been an unbelievable standoff between the authorities and a not-yet-called-a-walker. Now everyone was starting to worry — Alicia, about Matt, who had been a no-show for their date; Maddie, about Nick, so much so that she decided to call the police to look for him; and the rest of L.A., about the possibility of people who get shot down not staying down.
RAW DEAL | When Nick finally met up with his dealer, it turned out to be… Calvin! (Apparently, he only wore his halo around people’s moms.) Though pissed about being asked whether he’d laced Nick’s score with PCP — and concerned that the junkie had been loose-lipped about his supplier’s business — he agreed to give his client a fix. But as soon as they had gotten away from any potential witnesses, Nick noticed that Calvin had a gun, they fought for it, and boom! Down, Calvin went. Of course, by the time Maddie and Travis arrived on the scene, the body was gone. Wait, no — not gone, there it was after all. It had just moved. How odd. And it was still moving. Imagine that. And biting?!? Yes, biting! Heck, even after Nick backed into the not-yet-called-a-walker with Travis’ pick-up, it still kept coming for them. Which leads me to ask…
Will you be coming back for more? How do you think Fear compares to its predecessor? Hit the comments!