The issue with poor character development isn’t necessarily that it makes for a poor episode of television. It’s that it puts a television series at a deficit, where it has to make up for lost time and reverse decisions surrounding characters that are inconsistent or messy. The second season of The Walking Dead was one that had to make up for a lot of lost time, where characters like Beth and Andrea were essentially more convoluted as a result of their time on screen. Fear the Walking Dead’s second season is no better, wasting time with scenes that don’t really communicate plot or character development.
I hate to constantly criticize a television show. It’s a waste of time to complain about the same facets of a television show over and over again, so while I’ll take some time to express my frustration, I’ll spend the majority of this trying to talk about what the show is trying to say, even if it isn’t saying it well. So yeah, characters are inconsistent, like Travis, who spend the first season hardening but still seems remarkably soft in this episode. Characters are also one-note, like Chris, who is still a tough kid willing to kill because it makes him feel good. And the character development doesn’t do much for the characters. Conversations between Travis and Chris, while necessary, don’t do nearly enough to make the characters feel important or full of depth.
But it looks as if Chris really does kill and get close to being killed because it makes him feel in control. When he and Travis are trapped by the men he stole from, he tries to regain control of the situation by emphasizing what he’s done for those men. All the while, Travis is willing to put himself at their mercy, all for the notion that the world is still together and whole. Neither is absolutely correct. Travis is deluded, sure, but some social structure still exists. Chris thinks that being hard will save him, but he fails to see the danger it puts him in. Understanding the reality behind the danger requires putting aside personal delusions, and Travis and Chris aren’t quite there yet.
The other characters aren’t there yet either. Elena is quickly drawn for a new character; she had to trap a room of infected together, letting them kill each other while the rest of the hotel was quarantined. Alicia is still kind of a mystery, void of a real personality to speak of. Alicia’s character is especially troubling, because it doesn’t even really have a direction to go. She seems jaded and angry, but that’s about it at this point. She isn’t distinct enough to have any unique qualities, and it makes it difficult to see how she compares to Elena, somebody who is simply harboring tragedy.