TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead – Series 1 Episode 2: ‘So Close, Yet So Far’

The dead are beginning to rise and Los Angeles is none the wiser, says

★★★★☆

Image: Justina Mintz/AMC

Image: Justina Mintz/AMC

Things are beginning to fall apart in Los Angeles and in true horror drama fashion, our group becomes separated from one another. Travis and Liza’s search for their son Chris results in the trio taking refuge in an El Salvadorian family’s barber shop, whilst Madison returns to the school to get medication to ease Nick’s withdrawals. The world is slowly falling down around them and as the oddly well-informed Tobias says: “when civilisation ends, it ends fast.”

After the terrifying ordeal of fighting off a zombified Calvin, it is no wonder that Nick is amazed at how nobody is aware of what is going on around them. He describes the situation as one where “no one is paying attention”, where the signs of what is to come are readily available if people would just open their eyes. Since he has experienced a walker first-hand it is immediately obvious what is going on, but for everyone else the thought doesn’t even cross their mind. Last week Madison criticised Tobias’ fears, saying that he shouldn’t spend so much time on the internet, but after the encounter with Calvin, she now trusts in what he has to say. As unfortunate as it may be, what this week’s episode shows is that it takes a close encounter to draw people out of their own little world and to make them realise what is about to come.

The rest of society’s unawareness is exemplified this week through the birthday party occurring right across the street from the Clark’s house. They’re going about their day as if nothing has changed and all that they find “scary” is the fact that their little girl is getting older. Throughout the episode, the sounds of this party appear in the background, reminding us that behind all of the intense scenes we are witnessing, there still is a blissful ignorance among the general population. Of course, in the end this peace is broken as one of the neighbours-turned-walker attacks the poor, unaware family whilst the Clark’s watch on. To an extent, the fate of this family expresses how Madison is still caught up in her own world too. She’s too busy running around doing her own thing to even go over and warn her neighbours about what she knows is coming, resulting in the loss of their lives. Maybe her silence was out of fear of sounding crazy, but that is just a selfish excuse for being complacent.

Speaking of lack of communication, this is probably one of the few things that has frustrated me about Fear the Walking Dead so far. Instead of just biting the bullet and outright telling people what they know, the adult characters in the show have just been relying on the ‘you’ve got to trust’ me’ cliché. Like when Travis is trying to get in touch with Chris, instead of telling his son or his ex-wife about his experiences, he just insists that it is urgent for them to meet him. The same thing happens between Madison and Alicia and after a point it just becomes frustrating. Had Madison told Alicia what had happened with Calvin, she wouldn’t have tried to go back to see her sick boyfriend and she wouldn’t have tried to run out into the street when the family across the road were attacked. It’s going to cost somebody their life at some point and it will have been frustratingly avoidable had there been just a bit of communication!

‘So Close, Yet So Far’ takes us up to the point where things are starting to fall apart and riots are breaking out in the street. The majority of people may not know that is the zombie apocalypse yet, but the seed of fear has now well and truly been planted. It won’t be very long now until the walkers begin to be more of a regular occurrence onscreen and the living population starts to be dwindled down. Our protagonists’ lives are becoming increasingly more endangered and now they must try and traverse this dangerous world in an attempt to bring the two separate groups back together.

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