“I thought we were winning?”
A totally “slight too late to take opportunity of the organic search traffic” post, but a total “I don’t care because I like to write about this show” post.
The finale of the first season of Fear the Walking Dead, did not disappoint me. It had the zombie killing action, character surprises & revelation, & societal destruction that I wanted to see.
So how far off was I with my predictions at the end of Coblat? Lets discuss shall we?
*SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE 6TH EPISODE OR THE WHOLE SEASON.
Before we get into the re-cap can we take a moment to talk about how brilliant the music was in The Good Man? I have been noticing how well the music is at setting the tone in Fear the Walking Dead, but the in the first season finale I was in love with the music. The opening & closing songs in particular were key as they acted as book-ends of the story we were seeing.
The final episode opens with a slow shot of a panoramic view of the city of L.A. burning slowly to the sound of Timbre Timbre’s “It Comes Back to Haunt Us.” And a lot of things came back to haunt our band of would be survivors. The dead, their past decisions, their past mistakes, their fears & their hopes.
In the final episode, the Manawa-Clark-Salazar gang leave the “safety” of the neighborhood behind to get their family & make a break for somewhere. Out of misplaced sense in the goodness of humanity, Travis let’s Andy go only to have that decision come back to bitch slap him in the face. Daniel the evil genius he is, uses a horde of Walkers as a distraction so they can sneak into the military compound & get their families. So what if everyone else dies?! And now we realize our heroes aren’t the nicest people on the block.
We all yell at the TV when the parents leave the kids with the car, “Don’t you know the rule is to always stay together!!” Alicia & Nick both survive the finale, probably because we all need to see teenage rebellion during an apocalypse.
We are rewarded with plenty of zombie killing, the potential of future bad-assery from our band of hero’s & everyone makes it out safe. The plan to go to the desert & die of thirst was quickly replaced with the plan to follow Strand, the man the gang just meet, to the west coast. Strand, who lives in a huge house & is someone of importance in the old world. He has a plan & Madison is open to hearing it.
We end with two cast deaths, that of Liza & Travis’s goodness. A new world is revealed to the strings of The Antlers “Kettering.”
Theme: No one is Who They Seem
Daniel is not a mild-manner latino barber. Madison is not the average suburban soccer mom. Strand is not a street hustler. Travis is not the Good Man.
From the first episode all of the characters have been revealed to not be who they seem. We saw their persona’s, the masks we put on our true selves to live in a civilized world. We hide our uncivilized selves & agree to play nice. But, what if society crumbled? Who would we be reveled to be really? This theme of no one being who they seem & the revelation of people’s true selves shall be an ongoing theme in season two, as we will see who our band of hero’s really are as their masks are slowly stripped away.
Daniel has been the character who has been revealed the most to us in the first season. We learned he was not just a barber. Nor was he just a victim of the brutality of a military regime. No, he was ONE of the perpetrators of a brutal military regime.
In the finale we got to see more of his ruthlessness & brutality. We learn his plan was to kill Andy (right decision) & then he uses a horde of zombies to break into a military compound. It was an epic move as he clearly did not doubt his ability to survive. He was not afraid of a bunch of zombies.
Predictions: Daniel stops pretending to follow orders from Travis, although he grows to respect him a bit more. There is more to Daniel, he is not just a former torturer. He definitely kills someone. He might also be the only one who can make the tough call on the boat.
We still know nothing about Strand. We know he is not an average “hustler / criminal type”. He was someone before the apocalypse, but who we have no idea. He is charming, intelligent, a survivor & ruthless but not a killer. His killing skills were not going to keep him alive in that hallway with the zombies.
He may have a big house by the beach or he may not. I don’t know if we really know it is his. What we do know is he has a plan to survive.
Predictions: Strand will continue to be mystery to us all next season. He sees the “added value” in the Manawa-Clark-Salazar gang & will use them to execute his plan. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to Daniel & what his relationship with Madison will be. He will butt heads with Travis, as Travis will undoubtedly spend a lot season 2 feeling sorry for himself & the choices he had to make.
Madison’s reaction to Dr. Exner’s euthanasia of a whole hospital ward put the character on a whole new level. As everyone else expressed some semblance of shock at what they found, Madison ignored the scene & went for the meds. She knew at soon as she entered that Dr. Exner was a lost cause & wasted no time.
Madison is not who she seems at all. She is cold, merciless & ready to deal with the whatever shit the world is about to throw at her. What will Travis do once he figures this out?
Did anyone else notice that her weapon of choice for the compound break-in was the hammer she wanted to use to kill the Zombified Susan in episode 3? I found it interesting to see the hammer put to such .. skillful use in the kitchen.
Predictions: Some of Madison’s past is going to be reveled. We will either find out she had an addiction problem that lead her into a dark place or her first husband was an asshole who beat her & maybe she killed him? Which ever, she has seen shit & so have Nick & Alice. She will continue to keep secrets from Travis. Also Madison & Stand? Was that a bit of chemistry I saw?
Theme: Weakness Kills You
Weakness kills you in the new world. Dr. Exner, wasn’t strong enough to survive the new world alone. Liza, let fear & panic over-take her at the compound & she got bitten. The people in the suburbs trust that the military is looking after them, continue to eat their dinners without a care are oblivious to the real world around them. They are naive & being naive is a weakness.
With the death of her mother & the revelation that her father was not a victim but a culprit of the military regime her parents escaped, Ofelia’s world officially crumbled in the finale.
We did learn Ofelia can kick-ass when she needs to. She is her father’s daughter & watching her beat that zombie to death with the wrench was an enjoyable holy shit moment for me.
Predictions: Ofelia is still on my weak-side of the survivors list. She’s shown spunk but I feel she is at risk of having a late in life rebellion against her over protective daddy & doing something stupid. On the flip side, if her dad decided she can handle the truth, he might teach her a thing or two about how he survives.
Theme: The Good Man Dies
Travis the Good Man died in the finale. All throughout the season we saw Travis battle to hold onto the goodness of humanity. But, in the finale episode of season 1, we saw nature win out & with it Travis’ “goodness” died. Travis learned that you cannot trust people & you cannot let people who you tortured go as they will come back to kill you. Travis also finally came to accept that everything has changed. That there is no cure for the virus & everyone who dies comes back & tries to kill you.
Seeing Travis go Rick Grimes on Andy & almost beat him to death was a big surprise. I honestly didn’t think Travis had it in him. This is the man who couldn’t shot a zombie with a high-powered rifle in Cobalt. Surprise! Travis totally has a violent streak & is not that wimpy nice guy. Daniel’s respect for Travis just went up a notch.
Just when you thought we Travis couldn’t go through more in this finale, he then had to kill Liza, his-ex wife & the mother of his son. Pretty fucked up stuff happened to Travis in the finale & there is no way he will be the same next season.
Predictions: Travis is going to be dealing with the fall out of having to kill Liza. Chris might react badly, since he is a spoiled brat. Travis will have to deal with family drama at the expense of things like survival? His relationship with Madison? I don’t know if I see these two together forever. She’s got secrets, he’s got a son who hates her & Strand has a voice that will melt butter.
Will they make it to the boat?
Strands master plan is to get to a boat off the coast of California & I guess go somewhere. Except the boat is not that close & it is not going to be that easy for the gang to get there. We might spend much of season 2 seeing how the gang tries to get to the boat, rather than seeing them on the boat.
We will see Travis suffer with his guilt & conscious & try to hold civilization together. He is not going to change completely overnight. He is ready to kill zombies, not humans.
We will probably encounter other groups of survivors, some of who will not be that nice. Maybe the military? Alice & Chris will get up something interesting or die. One or the other has to happen.
I think our three key themes of Fear the Walking Dead, emerged in the first season:
What defines a family? The Manawa-Clark-Salazar gang are slowly becoming a family post-apocalyptic family unit just as the TWD group has become a family unit.
No one is who they seem they are. Nature always wins. The real nature of the characters will be revealed as they navigate life & death moments. Lot of secrets will be revealed.
Adapt or Die. Weakness kills & to survive you have to embrace the madness.