Sunday, August 30, 2015

FEAR: So Close, Yet So Far

The second episode in the first season of Fear the Walking Dead, continues right where we were left off last week as we're still getting to know the different characters. This episode titled So Close, Yet So Far begins to pick up more on the social disorder; from how some people are oblivious to what is happening around them, while other's are too wrapped up in other social causes or civil actions to realize a different perspective. There is so much involved -- why is there no Talking Dead after the show? There is so much to discuss! I'd love to see how Chris and the gang would address the "protesters" versus the "rioters", how quickly it all came crumbling down. Overall, I would say that this was a good second episode, and I look forward to the next one even though it's two weeks away.

"It's like no one is paying attention" - Nick

So Close, Yet So Far opens with the principle of the high school walking the halls (in slow motion) and using his walkie-talkie giving someone the all clear, the camera cuts to various shots of the school. The next shot is of the daughter, Alicia, walking down the middle of the street (why she's walking in the middle of the street when there are perfectly good sidewalks is beside me). She comes to Matt's house and notices his front door open. So, what does an intelligent young girl do? Of course instead of calling someone, she walks directly into the house where only God knows what's in there. She notices a vase and flowers smashed on the floor and continues to search for her boyfriend by calling out his name a few more times before she finally find something else, which by her facial expressions conveys concern; cut to commercial. 

Alicia & Matt - When their life was full of possibilities

Last week Madison, Travis, and Nick had their run-in with Walker Calvin and they pick right back up with them speeding into traffic fleeing from the scene of the crime. They're making their plans to leave town when Madison gets through to her daughter on the phone and is trying to tell her to start packing their things up, but Alicia has different plans. She tells her mom how she's at her boyfriends house and he's really sick. Those of us that are The Walking Dead fans, we know this is the Walker Virus, or whatever it is. Travis and Madison want to leave and they want Alicia to go with them, but she doesn't want to leave her boyfriend Matt. Meanwhile Nick is rummaging through Matt's house, probably looking for anything to help ease his pain of the withdraw he's experiencing. When Alicia is persistent about not leaving her boyfriend, Travis asks her to get Matt something to drink. While she's away he discovers a huge bite mark on Matt's shoulder. Yup! He's a goner! Madison tries to tell Alicia they have to go, but she isn't listening; Matt gets her to leave though, she loves him and he tells her she has to leave because of that love. When the family arrives home, the neighbors across the street are outside preparing for a birthday party. It's very eerie how much they have been through and yet some people aren't even aware yet. Another neighbor is packing his car up and as Madison makes eye contact with him, you see him better and he's not looking too good, as he cough's eerily into his hand. Yikes! Travis leaves to go find his ex-wife and son, Chris,

Travis's son Chris, camera handy for some "important" documentation

Travis and his ex, Liza, are arguing because she thinks he's trying to manipulate their visitation schedule to see their son. She too doesn't have a clue as to what is really going on. When he arrives he uses her phone to contact Chris, when he finally answers he's at a scene of a crime that is quickly escalating. Back at the homestead, Madison and Alicia are dealing with the consequences of Nick's withdraw and what should be done. The mom leaves Alicia with Nick while she has to go find some drugs to make Nick functional for their escape. When Madison arrives at school, she makes her way through the metal detectors and finds the keys in the principals office. She arrives at another office (presumably the nurses) where there is caution tape on the door and an outlined body marked off on the floor. As she's breaking into the locker to raid for medications, someone is behind her - jump scare - it's Tobias - he asks for his knife back.

Back in the city, the crowd surrounding the scene of a shooting are increasingly harassing the cops trying to contain the field. Chris has a camera in his hand filming as a cop asks him to put the camera away. The crowd continues to become more agitated, taunting the cop about civil rights, as he silently makes a call into his receiver. Back at the school Madison gives Tobias his knife back and tells him "Be careful" as they leave she gives her office one final look, knowing that they'll be leaving and probably not returning (in her mind for a while, but it'll probably be that they'll never come back once they leave). Alicia is agitated that she's having to care for her brother, it feels like she has been through this before and she doesn't think he'll change, so why bother. When Alicia tries to leave Nick yells at her and they have a confrontation, as she leaves she hears him hit the floor. When she comes back in he's having a seizure and vomiting, which is very dangerous. When Alicia is scrubbing the floors, Nick has recovered and he thanks her. She tells him that she hates him and he comments how he knows -- electric goes out. Back at the school they're discussing social collapse as Tobias starts stocking up on some food. As they are making their way through the school when they hear the metal detectors going off. They start running for it when they find "Arty" otherwise known as the principle, who's now a walker, and starts making his way toward Madison. The walker goes to attack her but attacks Tobias instead. Tobias acted like a hero coming to her aide, even though he didn't know what he was doing or how to use his knife, because it literally did nothing. As the Walker Arty continues to attack Tobias, Madison is looking around and finds an extinguisher hitting him over the head repeatedly, and doesn't phase him. She hits him a few more times before it cuts to commercial...

Madison and Tobias hear the metal detectors in the school going off

Madison and Tobias leave the school, getting in her car to leave. Chris ia at the "protest", which is the word he uses, it's definitely developing quickly to rioting; as Travis and Liza are looking for him. When they find him - shit's about to get real. Police are arriving in riot gear as another walker is on scene and is shot by a cop. People start running as the city quickly is taken over by rioters and probably and inevitably walkers too. Finally Chris listens to his parents and they are running through the rioters and looters - they find shelter with a barber (and presumably his family). Madison drops Tobias off and offers him to stay with her till this is over; "This doesn't end" Tobias informs her. They part ways. She's in her car, maybe just trying to grasp a little reality, collect her thoughts, it's almost like the calm before the storm as she sees kids in a passing car with medical masks covering their faces.

Madison after dropping Tobias off

Liza asks Travis what he knows and what he's seen, he says nothing that makes sense (background riot noises) very scary. Camera pans over LA night sky scene traffic backed up. Mom arrives home, and gives Nick some of the medicine she was able to find, and fight for. He quickly takes it from her, happy with what she was able to find. He asks how much, she informs him enough to get them to where they want to go (the desert). He's an addict, he wants the drugs, what is he going to do when they can't find what he wants? Nick tells his mom how Alicia tried to leave, she doesn't address it and goes into the bathroom and attempts to wash her coat from Arty's blood. Everything starts crashing in on her as she starts to cry, her phone rings, it's Travis. They talk about where they are, he just tells her that they're safe (even though it's not the truth, he skirts around her questions, not to worry her). She wants him to come home, but he tells her to leave, she wants to wait for him to get back - the call gets disconnected. She opens her door to leave her bathroom and Alicia sees her and asks what happened but she just walks by her. Pan to the school and the principals dead body where she left him -- the city rioting. Back at the house Alicia's shining a flashlight outside (that will attract a walker). The power's off and phone lines keep cutting in and out. They watched as their neighbor across the street is getting attacked. The mom insists that they don't intervene, she keeps her from leaving and locks the door. The wife of the barber is praying -- they're still waiting out the city riots in the barber shop -- the barber's wife blows out the candles as the screen goes black.

Next Episode: "The Dog" September 13th


Sunday, August 23, 2015

FEAR: Pilot

Fear the Walking Dead

For most of us The Walking Dead fans, this has been the anticipated event of the summer - Fear the Walking Dead on AMC. My initial thoughts are, I've never lived on the West Coast let alone LA, but I'm thinking things are quite different out there (I'll elaborate later). I figured this episode was introducing us to the family unit we'll be following. However, my initial reaction is that I don't care for the mother or daughter, I liked the boyfriend/father/parental unit, and the zombie apocalypse would suck even more as a junkie apparently. The previews for the rest of the season do look promising in Walking Dead fashion. I did watch The Talking Dead special before the premiere episode and I agree with them, that since we know a lot from watching The Walking Dead, that we can see all the mistakes and can sort of me be like "you shouldn't do that!"
**Spoilers Ahead**
If you do not want to know anymore details about the premiere episode do not continue reading

The pilot opens on the son, Nick (Frank Dillane), as the camera pans out you can collect that he's in a drug-den. He's alone and looking for the people he was with often calling out "Gloria", as he's searching the building you see it's an abandoned church. Nick finds someone who has already been the victim of a walker's appetite. Not understanding exactly what's going on, he continues to search for his friend, when he finds her she's hunched over a body feasting - but Nick doesn't realize this until she gets up, turns around, and the horror unfolds. She has a piece of long metal protruding out of her chest cavity, her eyes are turned, and she makes her way to start feasting on Nick's face as he turns and bolts out of there. In his frantic state he's not looking and it hit by a car, as pedestrians are coming to his aide, the camera pans out to show the stuffy smog filled air of the LA landscape.

Meet The Family Unit: Madison the Mom, Travis the Boyfriend, Alicia the Teenage Angst, and Nick the Addict

Next scene opens on mom and a typical family morning routine, she's gathering laundry and attempting to rush her daughter to be ready for school, as she puts the laundry in the washer she banters with the man in her life as he's fixing the kitchen sink. As they are having an intimate moment the phone rings. The rough life of an addict spans around and you can see the toll on the family as they anticipate the call. My only problem with this scene is why in the hell is their teenage daughter coming out of the bathroom in her towel while her mother's boyfriend (Travis, played by Cliff Curtis) is there? I get it, they're concerned for their family member who has been in and out of clinics to help with his addiction and this early phone call is evidently about him and they want to know what's going on, just didn't seem right to me. But, anyway - they go to the hospital where they are being informed about Nick's condition, and while I understand the mother and her concern, I just thought she could be more thankful and not such a bitch at this point. When Nick see's the boyfriend there the mixed family drama begins. He doesn't want him there and in the already stressful situation erupts. Another problem I have is why is the boyfriend staying with the son? I get it that the mom has obligations... and even later when they finally do decide to call the police about something else Travis is the one who calls, not the mother - just didn't make sense to me. Anyway - it's decided that since Travis is a teacher and the mother is a counselor at the high school and she has certain obligations that day, that she would go to work.

By the time we're at the scene with the kid explaining what's going on to Madison (the mom), we get it. Nick isn't saying anything because he would be labeled crazy and they would put him in the psych unit, which would be 100 times more difficult to escape from! And the kid talking to her didn't want to tell her at first what was going on because people would think he's crazy. A great line that literally made me chuckle out loud was when Madison states "If there's a problem we'd know about it. The authorities would tell us." Keep dreaming cookie. Meanwhile we're also introduced to the daughter (Alicia, played by Alycia Debnam-Carey), it's made very aware that she has a year left of high school and then she wants to get away to Berkeley where she'll be attending college (so she thinks). We're also introduced to her boyfriend, they seem close and later when they make plans and he doesn't show, which is about the time things are slightly escalating - I'm already thinking he's either somewhere trying to survive or he's among the walkers beginning to tear our society apart.

When Travis and Nick start a dialogue, Nick opens up about his experience and his perception of the events told through a junkie's eye. Since Travis is a nice guy and wants to get to the bottom of things, he goes to the church where it all went down. As we know, those of us that are well educated in the universe of The Walking Dead, when walkers are involved, it's best not to go into a building where said walkers were seen and start yelling "anybody here!" This made me chuckle too, thinking how different it would be. I kept anticipating that walker to come stumbling toward him, however the suspense bolts through when Travis finds a surviving junkie who's been hiding and he yells something like "don't kill me!" In the meantime the mother arrives back at the hospital and Nick is asleep. Meanwhile, the patient next to him isn't breathing too well, the whole scene unraveled in my head about the guy dying and turning. But, that would have to wait. Travis is back at the church looking around and finds a huge pile of blood and bits. This is my problem with this scene - once he found this and knew something violent happened there - why didn't anyone call the police?

Back at the hospital the family is there as Travis comes in the mom had slept there with her son, and he brought her a change of clothes. While they go and have their adult talk about how he went to verify what Nick was saying, and the mom telling him he was being manipulated by her addict son, Alicia and Nick have a nice brother-sister moment as they discuss their mom's relationship with her boyfriend (Travis, and apparently he's newly moved in with the family), and she feeds him red Jell-O. He promises to get clean and you can tell Alicia's heard it all before and definitely has her doubts.

As the day progressed and the son is now alone at the hospital, the nurse comes in to tend to his needs and he's able to turn on that charm. He had been in restraints because of the events and he was able to talker the nurse to untying one of his hands, as he's frantically trying to undo himself as she left (to give him privacy) his roommate codes blue and they rush him out. He takes this opportunity to steal the dead man's clothes and things and escapes the hospital. When Madison and Travis (the parental units) arrive back at the hospital, they're confronting the nurse about Nick and she says he's over 18, their only option right now is to call the police because they're too busy with people dying. Madison tells Travis to take her to where it had started - meaning the church Nick was talking about.

Meanwhile, they tried contacting their son's friend Calvin to see if he knew where Nick was or could be. They made it seem like he had once been an addict too, was not on the straight and narrow, but he was willing to help them look for Nick. I didn't expect Calvin to actually be Nick's supplier! When he does meet up with Nick it gets pretty interesting and their relationship is questionable. When they "take a ride" Nick seems relaxed and I knew Calvin had other plans. When they reached a secluded place and he told Nick that he would be safe there and proceeded to his trunk, I knew it! He opened Nick's door and Nick got a glimpse of the gun he was trying to hide. They fight and Calvin ends up shot in the middle of his chest. Realizing he just shot Calvin and he's dead, Nick takes off.

With nowhere else to go and no one else to confide in, Madison and Travis arrive to Nick's aide and when they go to verify what Nick was telling them was true, Calvin's dead body was nowhere to be found. His car was there and you could tell Travis noticed that there was blood on the ground. Nick's questioning his sanity and his mother is trying to help him as they get back in their truck to leave, Travis is backing up and then there's Walker Calvin coming toward them. The parental units get out to investigate, while Nick is pleading for them not to and even tells them that he'll kill them. I couldn't tell, but it looked like Calvin bit Madison's wrist, or tried to at least, she had on long sleeved apparel, so she might be safe (for now). Nick puts the truck in reverse and hits Calvin, but the walker gets back up so Nick runs him over again, slamming on the breaks he sends Calvin flying through the air and smashing down on the pavement to a twisted demise - they're all in shock and dismay when Calvin moves his head and does the walker-chomp with his jaws, no longer able to physically move his body.

Overall, sure there were some questionable things, but human nature is quite questionable. I also think, as for a pilot it was a great episode, and I'm highly anticipating the rest of the season! In the previews that they aired after the episode there is a character that explains how people can do evil things out of fear - it was a great line! The pilot was 90 minutes, which was a nice treat, but I think it could have been less. However, it did do a great job introducing us to the family unite that we'll be following. Also, we were introduced to Travis' ex-wife and his biological son and their relationship seems complicated as well. Of course in AMC and The Walking Dead fashion, there will be great character development, amazing writing, and awesome cinematic experiences leaving us thirsting for more.


Talking Dead Special

There were great commercials during The Walking Dead Marathon that aired before the premiere of Fear the Walking Dead, where they had three characters from TWD series addressing questions about their characters and what we can look forward to in the next season six! It was great to have Chris back and they were able to get out of Scott (Gimple) confirmation that Daryl will be safe. He even said he would fear for himself if anything happened to Daryl because he felt Norman would take him out - hilarious. Another confirmation was that Rick did in fact shoot Pete - there was some confusion an speculation that Rick could have shot Deanna's husband so they didn't have another walker situation. They also stated that The Walking Dead premiere will be huge and it will also be 90 minutes!! Just some goodies in case you didn't know. I heard the show was up for an award and I hope they win, I for one am a fan of Chris and what the team does!! I hope that they continue for Fear the Walking Dead too.