Things are rattling along at an unstoppable pace now and “The Good Man” ends on an intriguing enough note – but it’s a bumpy ride before we get to that final shot of the sea.
So, the family try to rescue Nick from the National Guard. They do so by making use of the zombie horde that the soldier boys have locked up in the arena (there’s heavily telegraphed irony for ya). It all leads to the show’s biggest action scene to date, with a mass walker onslaught that's reasonably exciting but, as with a lot of this show, very familiar. The season needed a big set piece in its finale, and this satisfies that, but feels too routine to truly thrill.
Still, it set up some interesting character beats. Daniel is clearly no longer playing by anyone’s rules but his own, which should make for some interesting conflict further down the line. When the injured Adams states that Salazar Senior will murder him when his usefulness has expired, you believe him. He’s the sort of man you want on your side in the apocalypse, but can he be trusted to keep his rage in line now that the rest of his family is either dead or injured?
But the episode belongs to Travis – the good man of the title. There's a direct contrast between him and Strand, with the former releasing the prisoners that the latter blithely ignores, and helping Adams. The kicker here is that his nobility comes back to bite him when Adam (slightly bizarrely) shoots Ofelia. The point seems clear and brutal: in this new world, mercy gets you killed.
Travis gets another wake up call at the end of the episode, when he is ‘forced’ to kill the infected Liza. It should be the emotional lynchpin of the episode, but it’s impact is lessened by the fact that Liza has been so marginalised and also by its sheer improbability. Travis goes from refusing to accept the situation to shooting his ex-wife dead in the space of a couple of minutes. Yes, we've seen that he’s finally coming to accept the harsh realities of the new world, but this still felt like a step too far. Madison doing the deed would have been more believable – and had even been foreshadowed in the previous episode.
On the plus side, we got a lot more of Strand who has firmly become this writer’s favourite character in the space of two episodes. He’s a born survivor with a tongue as sharp as his suit and he’s got “season two nemesis” written all over him.
And so, to the future. Season one ends with the family looking to the sea for their survival. That's interesting, and something the main show hasn't yet explored (mainly because of geography, presumably). But the same old problems remain. The cast is too large, Nick's addiction is a thing only when it suits the plot (and let’s not get started on his big speech about the rest of the world catching up with him, which sounds significant, but makes no sense whatsoever). We've still no idea what Alicia is about, apart from sulking, and now there's a whopping 15 episodes to fill, not just six. Still, the main show endured some ropey years before finding its voice. Let’s hope this spin-off gets the retooling it requires...
Fear The Walking Dead airs on AMC in the US on Sundays, and on AMC (exclusive to BT) in the UK.
For more on top sci-fi TV shows like Fear The Walking Dead, subscribe to SFX (opens in new tab)
|Writers||Robert Kirkman & Dave Erickson|
|The One Where||The family try to rescue Nick before making a break for the West and face an uncertain future.|