TV REVIEW: Fear the Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 1 – Monster | FanboysInc

TV REVIEW: Fear the Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 1 – Monster

By Megan Wilde

TV REVIEW: Fear the Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 1 - Monster

Fear the Walking Dead starts its second season a little slowly, which is par for the course with this show. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but much of “Monster” finds the group at sea on the Abigail, Strand’s yacht, so there isn’t a lot of big action; it sets up a possible threat and shows how some characters have changed.

When we left them, the group consisted of Madison and her kids, Tom Riddle — I mean Nick — and Alicia; Travis and his son, Chris, whose mother, Liza, was bitten and was given the mercy of death by Travis; Daniel and his daughter, Ofelia; and the mysterious Strand, whose house they went to and whose yacht they board in this episode.

TV REVIEW: Fear the Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 1 - Monster

Boats and Walkers

 

We seem to have jumped ahead at least a few hours, because Strand is taking Nick and some others out to the yacht in the cover of night. Maddy, Travis and Chris wait on the shore, watching fires burning and Los Angeles being bombed. Chris won’t leave his mother’s body and insists on taking her with them. Nick comes back for them, and we see a walker following their small motorboat. Nick seems to be learning the ways of the apocalypse, because he takes the motor and gets the walker in the head with the spinning blade. It’s a more effective method than the primitive rocks Maddy and Travis employ on the beach when walkers come after them. I trust they will acquire better weapons soon.

TV REVIEW: Fear the Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 1 - Monster

Well, I guess that solves LA’s traffic problem.

They escape LA and arrive on the Abigail, looking out at the burning city as they sail away. Bombs are being dropped, and the whole city is burning, in the hopes of stemming the infection. (Spoiler: It doesn’t work!) It’s a sobering way to open the episode.

TV REVIEW: Fear the Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 1 - Monster

Victor Domingo, Sea Captain

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They are sailing toward San Diego, Strand says. He is ever alert, and he already seems to be at the point where he trusts almost no one; as Daniel says to Maddy later, it’s almost as if he knew something, because he was prepared: He had the boat ready to go, out on the water, and he knew they couldn’t stay at his house. He’s an intriguing character; I’m curious to see what he knew and who he really is. He certainly seems like one of the few on board who are really equipped to handle themselves in this situation — the others being Daniel and possibly Travis, as he’s now showing signs of what passes for wisdom in the apocalypse. They see a raft with people waving, trying to get them to take them aboard, and these three men all think it unwise, in varying degrees. Strand all but laughs in Maddy’s face when she tells him to stop for them; Daniel gives Travis a look but says nothing, and Travis tells Alicia they can’t stop for them, it’s too dangerous. So already, before the zombie apocalypse has reached its zenith, people are learning.

Maybe the kids will learn eventually too, but right now they all seem to be fairly clueless, with the possible exception of Nick. Chris is petulant and whiny, and sits with his mother’s body, stroking her hair. They give her a burial at sea, although Chris is again petulant about having “strangers” at the funeral, and also is mad at Travis because he shot her, while Chris insists he could have “said something to her” — and what? Talked the virus out of her? Then he puts himself and others in danger when he impulsively decides to go for a swim. In the open sea. Without letting anyone know what he’s doing. While the boat is speeding along toward San Diego. So they all think he jumped or fell, and Nick dives in after him, but since Chris says he just wanted to go for a swim, Nick decides to spend a really long time way under the water for some reason. He looks up and sees someone, who turns out to be undead. He and Chris see an overturned lifeboat with bodies all around, so Chris turns tail and gets back on the Abigail as fast as he can, while Nick goes over to investigate. It looks like the boat is riddled with bullet holes, and he finds a bag with a “yacht log” and other documents inside, so it looks like these people were in a similar situation before being met with violence.

TV REVIEW: Fear the Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 1 - Monster

Travis being the hero.

And now it turns out those same people who did that might be headed for the Abigail, since Alicia, listening to the ship’s radio earlier trying to hear news, made contact with a person named Jack, who said he was on a small boat. He lured her in with “Five Years,” by David Bowie. He talks to her over at least a day, or the better part of a day, and slowly gets her to reveal certain information about them. He feigns an emergency and she says they can come get them, asking where he is and saying she can see certain landmarks, and from this he learns where they are. Then he says: “Alicia, gotcha. See you soon.” Meaning she messed up and led them to their boat. So now an unknown threat is speeding toward them, and Strand is NOT happy.

So, this episode sets up the scope of the apocalypse, with the total bombing and razing of Los Angeles, and gives us some new information about walkers: They can swim. So that really makes things interesting, if truly nowhere is safe. We see how Travis has grown as a character, going from someone who couldn’t kill even as a mercy to someone who would turn away a raft full of people because they could be a threat and his priority is looking out for himself and his own. And one thing Alicia hears on the radio is the Coast Guard saying there’s no help on sea, on land or by air — there’s no help at all; they are sorry. Talk about feeling punched in the gut. That bit right there really brings home the hopelessness of a situation like that and what that would feel like. That’s one thing I like about this show: It does a good job of building the dread that would come with something like this. The confusion and panic, and the rising fear of both the dead and the living. It can be a little slow at times, but not everything has to be action all the time. I’m excited for what this sets up: Who is Jack, and what does he want? Will the group make it to San Diego, and if so, what waits for them there? What does Strand know? Will Chris ever grow up and stop whining?

FBI SCORE: 8 out of 10. “Monster” has some good elements, like the bombing of Los Angeles and the introduction of a human threat to come, but it does move pretty slowly at times and feels like a little bit of a letdown for a first episode of the season. But Strand’s general awesomeness does a lot to elevate the score, and we do learn a lot about the apocalypse and some more about walkers, so it has interest even if it doesn’t have a lot of action.

Megan Wilde

I'm an editor, wife and mom of two. I love to read and watch good TV and good (OK, and bad) movies. I like pop culture, sci-fi, zombies, comics, Neil Gaiman, Miyazaki movies, Star Wars, '80s nostalgia and all things geeky.

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