Monday, May 7, 2018

Fear the Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 3: Good Out Here

Fear the Walking Dead is doing the whole past and present melded together for big meaningful moments with extra artisticness involving blue flowers. It’s well done but a pain in the arse to recap

The main lessons in the past is Nick being all devastated at having to destroy the infested crops he worked so hard over and finally going out with Madison. Madison has embraced a whole new level of shiny happiness and seeing the good which you know will get her killed. But out and about looking for supplies they find that one of the Vultures have got there before them with lots of taunting. Nick nearly attacks him but Madison stops him - not least of which because Charlie is watching and they still want the little girl to join them

This is why Nick doesn’t like being out the walls - because it turns him into this angry, dangerous person. He’s afraid of what the outside world will turn him into

And I can’t help but think again of early days Alexandria and how this group haven’t realised that having a settlement doesn’t mean you’re free from making the hard choices and you’re just one Negan, one Governor away from the same kill or be killed narrative

Which brings us to the present with Alicia, Nick, Luciana and Victor all holding Althea, John and Morgan captive in Althea’s big SWAT truck until Nick gets too close to Althea and there’s violence, a car crash and in the end result the truck is stuck in a ditch and now Alicia, Nick, Luciana and Victor are captives and John, Morgan and Althea are free. How things turn

But Althea is still an altruist, as Victor notes. She does want something from them and she doesn’t have any dodgy motives. She wants their stories. In return she’ll tell them where they got the Vulture flag (I don’t know if the Vultures have taken something the gang wants - Madison maybe? Charlie? Or if we’re just on a revenge kick). There’s a lot of back and forth but a deal is struck to winch the truck back onto the road getting equipment with most the group while Nick and Morgan stay with the truck - Nick as hostage

Morgan doesn’t feel the need to tie Nick up - as proven when Nick tries to jump Morgan and gets poked and prodded by Morgan’s supreme skills. Nick does find Morgan’s tape he made for Althea and tries to poke him about his past - but Morgan isn’t a sharing sort. Things seem peaceful until a hideous blue car drives past which nick clearly recognises as one of the Vulture’s and he squabbles with Morgan to go follow - in doing so he knocks the horn on the truck which won’t turn off. Nick chases after the Vulture and Morgan follows because the noise is going to attract lots of walkers

Which means Morgan is on hand to save Nick from being eaten and can now follow him on his vengeance quest. And when Morgan realises it is a vengeance quest he does everything he can to dissuade Nick from it. He even tells him some of his past, that he used to kill, the people he lost and that he ended up in exactly the same vengeance fuelled place Nick is in now. He even tries to give him the book he took to learn Akido and value life again - peace and love and all that. After all he has the same struggles Nick has had - afraid of what he will become

When Nick finds the Vulture - the same Vulture from the flashbacks, he goes into a complete rage and won’t be restrained by Morgan (at least not without Morgan resorting to violence) and he attacks… there’s lots of struggling and the Vulture dies almost accidentally, impaling himself on a sharp hunting trophy when he falls

Nick is covered in blood, Morgan all disapproving… and we see Charlie with a gun. The little girl (who hasn’t aged much at all) shoots Nick and runs off

After winching the truck out of the mud (and making a deal for future co-operation) everyone catches up with Morgan and Nick in time to fret over Nick’s body… and watch him die

Ok, I’m going to say I’m very surprised with Nick dying - not least of which because it sets Fear the Walking Dead apart very much from The Walking Dead. These series play “anyone can die” but we know that’s not true. Oh we get surprises like Carl, but Rick? Rick is immortal. Ultimately The Walking Dead is the story of Rick. But Fear seems to have avoided that. Originally I thought it was the story of Madison, but she’s not around. Alicia is prominent but, let’s face it, Nick has always been the darling of the show. I felt sure he was edging into the protagonist spot… and now he’s dead. Alicia? Maybe she could (Victor has never been treated as that important) but I think we’re seeing a whole different theme here. Not the story of one person, but a group, where literally no-one is safe. But also where no one person’s story is the defining element here - where, maybe to run with Althea’s raison d’etre, everyone’s story matters.

I also have to say I’m also glad that these frees Morgan. Seeing Morgan becoming the mentor and guiding light for Nick worried me. Because Black man with zen-like almost quasi-mystical quality dishing out wise advice and guidance to a white guy is a trope which needs to be avoided. And I don’t buy Morgan running away from all he knew to start becoming a mentor and teacher