Fear the Walking Dead 2×12 ‘Pillar of Salt’: Enemy on the horizon

Source: AMC

At this point, there’s clearly only one reason to keep watching Fear the Walking Dead.  The show could certainly manufacture other reasons to continue watching the show, but as of right now, pretty much everything falls flat.  Madison and the hotel drama isn’t particularly riveting.  Travis and Chris have a potentially interesting story, but Chris’s character development isn’t quite there, and we don’t really have a nuanced understanding of Chris’s anger.  Most of the stories on this show just aren’t that interesting or complex.

Source: AMC

Source: AMC

But the reason to watch this show, of course, is Nick.  Now Nick isn’t a perfect character; he’s a decent, functioning character with motivation, a backstory, emotional attachments to other characters, and a sense of humanity.  He’s essentially a character that you can watch and not be bored with, somebody whose storyline at least makes sense, or at least exists.  It’s not a high bar, but it’s hen at we have on Fear the Walking Dead.  If a character functions normally, or has an arc that you can follow, then it’s pretty good for this show.

Source: AMC

Source: AMC

All things considered, “Pillar of Salt” is standard fare for this show, pushing the hotel situation and the settlement situation towards a breaking point that will be the climactic moment for the season.  The settlement situation is the most interesting of the two right now, courtesy of Nick, who is trying to protect his community in the face of bandits trying to break in.  The show nicely sets up Nick as having a stake in the fate of the community, as he has a romantic relationship with Luciana and cares about the children there, but the bandits need to soon become more than a nameless presence.  Something has to become personal about the conflict.

Source: AMC

Source: AMC

The hotel situation is awfully bland, nothing we haven’t seen before from The Walking Dead.  At least The Walking Dead had enough difference between locations for each one to have a sort of importance.  Each location also had a unique conflict in the form of a Big Bad.  The prison was defined by The Governor, Hershel’s Farm was defined by Shane, and Alexandria is being defined by Negan.  The hotel, however, doesn’t have a real “bad guy” to speak of, only a couple small conflicts that don’t amount to much.  It’s likely that Travis’s appearance at the end points to some confrontation with Chris at the end of the season, which could be interesting in that we could actually get a character death, but as of right now, the hotel is painfully dull.

Unless Fear the Walking Dead gets a massive revitalization next season, it’s unlikely this show is going to make it past three seasons.  Viewership is down, the plotting and characters are relatively stagnant, and the stakes aren’t really that high.  Nick is a good character, to be sure, but the show is a lot more than Nick, and it needs to be better than just him if it’s going to get anywhere.

What did you think of the episode?  Who do you think is going to die in the finale?  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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