TV REVIEW: Fear the Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 2 – We All Fall Down
By Megan Wilde
Fear the Walking Dead is a very different show from The Walking Dead, obviously. It takes a much slower pace with things — which is not necessarily a bad thing. The slower pace helps us to experience the uncertainty of the characters living in that world, and we see things unfold as they do. “We All Fall Down” definitely is a slower episode, but that’s not to say it’s worthless. We get a lot of clues about things to come and also see how some others are dealing with the fall of society.
The group on The Abigail are worried about the ship following them, so in order to lose it, they decide to hide out in a cove near some islands that are part of a national park. Travis reasons that there would be a ranger station there, giving them access to radios and supplies. While they are sailing close to Catrina Island, Maddy sees a light flashing at night, purposefully, like a signal. There is a family on the island, and they’re pretty isolated. The father, George, is the ranger posted there. He seems pretty prepared for the apocalypse, as is his teenage son, Seth, who walks around toting guns and axes.
There is a fence that runs along the shore on the island, and walkers wash up on the other side of it. Seth takes Chris out there, and this is a nice scene of what is basically exposition, but it doesn’t feel like it — it feels natural. It’s early enough in the apocalypse that Chris really wouldn’t know how all this works yet. Seth says they go out there regularly and “clean them out.” He says the walkers are swimming over from the mainland, and from shipwrecks, and there are more every day. I was unclear whether that fence was there already, or was something they put in. We see George put some fencing in a different spot later on and fix a hole in existing fence, so it’s a good bet that he put it in once he sensed how things were going. George is a bit of a survivalist, so it would make sense.
While Seth and Chris are out there, Seth teaches Chris how and where to get the walkers to put them down. He gives them a pickaxe to the eye through the chain link, and explains to Chris that you have to get them there, in the head or at the base of the skull if coming from the back. It’s actually valuable information for Chris to have in this new world, but we can also understand Travis’ pain and reluctance to let him learn these hard truths. He says to George later that Chris didn’t do these things … he mowed lawns, took out the trash, did chores, and now he’s having to kill the dead. It’s one more way we see these people slowly coming to terms with this new world and what life means now. I feel like if any of us were in that situation, we’d be like Travis and would want to cling to the way things used to be for a while. But you can also sense an acceptance of it, even if he doesn’t like it and wishes it were different. That’s a very real way for a person to feel.
It also rings true when Nick and Alicia have a talk about the way things are now. He talks about the lack of noise pollution from planes and cars and things, and how you can see the stars much better now. And he is bothered for the kids when he talks about the things they’ve seen, having relatives turn and seeing the dead coming ashore and Seth taking them out. He says it’s unfair, the kind of world they face now. And obviously, it’s a theme we see again and again in regard to any kind of apocalypse.
The group gets some important information about the rest of the country from George: He tells Travis how all the national parks have “gone black” and been lost, so the mainland is lost at least halfway across the U.S., and he says cities to the north (San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver) and south (San Diego, all the way down to Mexico) are destroyed and bombed, and the border with Mexico is totally closed. Basically, it becomes clear that this is not a passing thing, that humanity is screwed, and most of the country is gone.
While all this is taking place, Daniel and Ofelia stay on the boat with Strand, since they don’t trust him not to leave everyone. And I’d say that’s with good reason — he seems pretty itchy to get going, once they lose the boat that’s been following them, and he also hasn’t slept in days, so something’s going on there. Daniel does some snooping, and it seems the Abigail might not actually be Strand’s ship after all. He says it is, but Daniel isn’t so sure. Strand makes a call to someone (phone lines are still up? Or is that a clue to his importance, like he’s on a special line or something?), saying he’ll be somewhere at a certain time … I wonder if perhaps he’s taking them to someone — for, say, possible research purposes. (Or maybe I’ve been watching too much Gotham.) I like the hints we’re getting about him, and I hope they’re going somewhere good.
We find out that George’s family isn’t all on board with his plan for them of hiding out on the island. His wife, Melissa, befriends Maddie, and asks her to take the youngest kids, Harry and Willa. She says George’s idea is for them to stay there, biding their time till the whole thing is over, and she can’t bear a future of only treading water for her kids. Maddie offers to take them all, but Melissa says George and Seth won’t leave, and she has MS, so she doesn’t want to burden them with that. And earlier, Nick was snooping around for drugs and discovered a stash of pills hidden in a globe. He was suspicious because the pills didn’t look like anything he knows about (and, as he said, he knows his pharmaceuticals — I guess it can come in handy to have an addict in your crew), and he told Maddie and Travis that he thinks George is planning on “Jonestowning” his family. He was right: Willa gets into the pills and takes one, and they can’t revive her. She turns as her mother is weeping over her and trying to revive her, and Willa bites her. George tells the group to leave, so they do, taking Harry with them. As they are on the Abigail, though, Seth comes after Harry, refusing to let him leave with the group. He threatens them with his rifle, and goes back with Harry, only to see Melissa on the dock, having turned. (She must have turned pretty fast to get all the way out there in that short a time.) It’s a sad scene as Seth has Harry turn and wave to the people on the boat, while he shoots his mother.
And so ends the episode. As I said, it’s a slow episode, but interesting, with lots of information. If viewers go into this show knowing that it’s more of a slow burn than The Walking Dead, they will be more likely to enjoy it. We’re in a completely different phase of things here, and the characters are still feeling out this world, and are still attached to the old way. But they’re learning. I like the different perspective this show offers.
FBI SCORE: 8.5 out of 10. “We All Fall Down” is an episode that’s low on action but big on information. We meet some new people and see how they are dealing with the apocalypse, we find out a lot about the state of the rest of the country at this point, and some of the main group learn some useful skills and grow up a little. In addition, I appreciate the realistic portrayal of what people would be feeling and going through in a situation like this.