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Fear The Walking Dead S1.02 "So Close, Yet So Far" Review

Well that escalated quickly.

After the slow burn of last week's premiere, we're in a state of full-on streets-on-fire anarchy by the end of “So Close, Yet So Far”. The power is failing and there are riots breaking out. Oh yeah, and a few zombies bimbling about too.

Good, because the first 20 minutes of this episode are drearily static. Nick has gone into cold turkey and Chris is ignoring his dad's phone calls – which puts a stop to Travis's sensible plans to get the family out of LA.

The upside is that we get to know Alicia better. She was under-served last week but here we get more of a handle on her relationships with zombie-to-be Matt and her junkie brother. We're also properly introduced to Travis's other family – Liza and her son Chris. But the inevitable downside is that these things are handled clumsily. Inexplicably, no one tells Alicia what's going on (fairly useful information in a crisis). Likewise Travis, who is otherwise proactive and competent, is cagey with Liza instead of just explaining things over the phone. It's dumb TV logic designed to put the characters in peril, and the sort of thing that the main show has mostly avoided in its last couple of seasons.

As with last week, however, there is good stuff too. We don't see much of the riots, but they're effectively and atmospherically conveyed. The recurrent motif of the doomed birthday party is clichéd, but it's still a powerful moment when it becomes the site of bouncy carnage. And there's something naggingly believable about the silence of the government and military so far. They're about, they're struggling to maintain civil order, but they're not talking to anyone. This show is doing good creeping dread... it's just a shame that it's currently mixed in with some dodgy characterisation and weird pacing.

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Art(ie) Attack!

After the fake-out with the school's principal last week he goes full walker here. That's a nicely staged attack – and it's refreshing to see people struggling to fight zombies, after years of watching Michonne slice and dice them with ease.

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Nooo, Don't Go...

Tobias – the kid who patiently explains to Madison that the life she knew is over – is the best character on this show. A blatant audience surrogate he may be, but his plain-speaking makes him a refreshing antidote to the rest of the gang. At the end he's taking off somewhere. Come back soon – we need you!

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Hey You, What's That Sound

The mournful tune playing while everything descended into carnage at the end was “Wait For Me” by Moby, from his album of the same name. It has really terrible cover art.

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Best Line

Nick: “It's like no one is paying attention. It's like it's not real”

Fear The Walking Dead airs on AMC in the US on Sundays, and on AMC (exclusive to BT) in the UK from Monday 31 August.

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WriterMarco Ramirez
DirectorAdam Davidson
The One WhereAlicia finds Matt, Nick goes cold turkey, there's panic on the streets of LA and Madison prepares for the worst...

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Available platformsTV