Why I’m Dropping… Fear the Walking Dead season 2
by Thom Yee
Truth be told, I’d been thinking about it for a while. Or more precisely, I’d thought about dropping Fear the Walking Dead once before and then once again now, and those two passing thoughts were easily enough to convince me to drop the show, because, really, who’s thinking that much about Fear the Walking Dead anyway? To be honest, even I, someone who’s reviewed every episode of the show since it debuted late last summer, had almost completely forgotten about it and was actually kind of taken off guard when I saw that it was coming back to finish the back half of its second season this past weekend.
What made me enjoy Fear in the first place was that it was a version of the Walking Dead concept that had a chance to get things right, it was a second pass to avoid some of the moments of sheer stupidity the parent show had gotten so, so wrong (highly uneven pacing, the whole mess they made of Andrea’s character, anything having to do with Beth, etc.), and for a while it did just that. We got some new angles on old ideas, some of the more gut wrenching moments felt more natural and less melodramatic… other things (I guess, it’s hard to remember anymore). Not everybody loved it, but I at least appreciated Fear in its first season, but as we got further into the second, that appreciation faded quickly. Really quickly. Crazy quickly. All of a sudden, what was an admittedly slower but at least more realistic take on the zombie apocalypse devolved into slow, weary, tortured, symbolically heavy ruminations on the nature of existence and man’s place in the world. And it sucked. And blew. It both sucked and blew.
In trying to be different from The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead has seems to have chosen the path of slower and dumber and worse rather than intriguing or original or notable or better (or at least comparable), and as that became clear as the season wore on, it became inessential viewing, something that hurt even more when it went up against the return of Game of Thrones in the last few episodes before the midseason break. It became something easy to ignore, not care about, and it turned into something that didn’t even feel connected to its much more fun (but flawed) parent show and its much, much more fun comicbook origins, and thus the fun was gone, the hope was gone, and even the hook was gone. I just don’t care about these people anymore, and it only took seven episodes of this season to get me here.
But I did watch last night’s episode, “Grotesque”, just to make sure I was making the right choice. It actually wasn’t bad. It extended the back story of an important character (one who’s also just about the only one left who’s even remotely likable) with poignance and unusual grace, set up a new part of this world to explore, and even shed new light on something we may have taken for granted and probably had forgotten about from the series’ very first scene. To be clear, I don’t hate the show, I may even keep watching it, and our reviews of The Walking Dead aren’t going anywhere, but I just can’t stand to think about Fear the Walking Dead, at least not enough to review it anymore.
That new girl with the binoculars was pretty cute though.