Fear the Walking Dead 2×11 ‘Pablo and Jessica’: Golden boy

Source: AMC

I’ll give Fear the Walking Dead some credit where it’s due. It’s at least exploiting the current storyline to capacity, the way it cuts back and forth between Madison’s perspective, Alicia’s perspective, Nick’s perspective, and Travis’s perspective. The different perspectives give it the ability to remain relatively fresh while it looks for new storylines to exploit, whereas the first half of the season didn’t have enough story and didn’t have the multiple perspectives to at least diversify what was there. This kind of approach worked brilliantly for The Leftovers in its second season, as there wasn’t a ton of story to go around, but the ten episodes of the season soared because of the different perspectives coming from the rich, multifaceted characters.

Source: AMC

Source: AMC

The same can’t necessarily be said about the characters on Fear the Walking Dead. The characters have never really gotten to the point where they feel like people, and the scenes where two of them are talking never really add any new information about them. Nick is still easily the richest of the characters in the way that he distances himself from social conventions but can’t help but care for individual people who are helpless like himself. It’s interesting how he’s owning the identity of being a “junkie”, even though it feels strange to see him put that word to it. What is great, though, is how that identity hurts him as much as it helps him. He identifies so much as a victim that he can’t help but victimize himself.

Source: AMC

Source: AMC

The business at the hotel isn’t necessarily that interesting either, if only for how any secondary characters who enters the storyline are completely void of character. They’re angry at Elena, but that anger doesn’t really feel personal as much as it feels like another thing that happens in the story. We don’t really know how Elena feels about her impossible situation aside from feeling like she had “no choice”. Fear the Walking Dead feels to operate at a level that keeps us at arm’s length from the characters, enough to never really become attached to them. Elena and Oscar don’t feel like real people, and until the show can really dig into their characters, it’s going to feel like a spinoff without a real purpose.

Source: AMC

Source: AMC

But looking back at Nick, he’s definitely the character to watch as this goes forward. The show gives him room to breathe, isolating him from the other characters so that his personality is able to shine. The writers clearly understand him much better than the others, none of which have a real story arc to speak of. At the very least, Nick’s relationship with Luciana and his desire to be a part of a community provides an interesting contrast from his distance around family. It shows that Nick feels things, that he looks at some people differently than others, and that the way he looks at people is informed somehow by the life he’s led. I find myself nearly sleeping through scenes at the hotel, but scenes with Nick always keep my attention. The writers of the show would do well to analyze what they’re doing with Nick and apply that to the other characters on the show.

Fear the Walking Dead is one of those shows that doesn’t really know what to do with its characters. Nick may have an interesting storyline, but Madison, Alicia, and Strand feel aimless, like they don’t really have a personality or a purpose in anything they do. Sure, they want to survive, but beyond survival, what is the purpose of this show? It doesn’t necessarily excel at diving into moral quandaries, nor does it have storylines unlike the kind of thing you see on The Walking Dead. Fear the Walking Dead needs to find its voice, but it still doesn’t necessarily understand what that voice is yet. Hopefully, as we get closer to the end of the season, we’ll begin to hear that voice speak.

What did you think of the episode? Do you think Travis’s storyline will be more interesting when we get to see more of him? Let me know in the comments!

Michael St. Charles

is just a Michigan State University grad who loves a good story. If he’s not off teaching the young ones how to solve quadratic functions or to write an expository essay, he’s watching old-school HBO shows, indie horror movies, or he’s playing Resident Evil 4.

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