Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fear The Walking Dead - 1:1 Pilot SPOILERS

Imagine the possibilities, The Walking Dead will be on from October till April, then we can have Fear the Walking Dead from May till September. That's a year's worth of zombies... I mean, not zombies, they don't call them zombies: Walkers, biters, lurkers, geeks, and of course our newly minted Infected

For the series premier, I thought they would hand the reigns to Greg Nicotero, but they strayed from the success of seasons past, and went with a new (to the world of the Walking Dead) director. Adam Davidson, you have stepped up your game, sir. 

For anyone who is new to my blog, I'm not going to recap the show. You watched it, I expect you to have watched it, and if you haven't GO WATCH IT NOW. My blog will have spoilers galore from the episode. For the first time, we won't have the foreknowledge of the comics! I love it. So, without further ado:

We know from The Walking Dead's Scott M. Gimple, that the small things set the Walking Dead universe apart from others, and to be honest, it's what I love about the show. I mean, I'm not going to write and essay on short stories any more. I'm not a college professor, and I'm not publishing a Marxist view of Paradise Lost. Yet, these shows give me an opportunity to pursue what I love: analysis. In Fear the Walking Dead, we can tell showrunner Dave Erickson is going to have all his directors put in these subtle clues that will help us unravel the mysteries of the show and what happens. Davidson and Erickson didn't disappoint. To me, there were four major symbols that helps us understand where the show is going. 
If you've read my other blogs, you cannot deny the influence of the bible in The Walking Dead. I would argue, that Fear will follow suit. It all started about half way into the show when Matt () drew a Spiral Heart on Alicia's () forearm. My buddy, Mike P, recognized it right away. He said, "That's Marilyn Manson's tattoo!" A quick google search confirmed it. What would life be without google?

The top tattoo is the one that Matt drew on Alicia's arm, and you can see Marilyn Manson's spiral heart on the bottom.

What's does this have to do with A: Fear... and B: The Bible. The answer comes in the title of the album the tattoo is the logo for: Eat me, Drink Me.  Wait, what? Eat me, Drink me!!! First, that could simply be a nod to what the infected are doing, but to me, it's a nod to the Last Supper. Jesus says, "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life..." In Catholicism this has become the Holy Communion. If you combine this image with the fact that the opening of the show is in a run down church, you can see the influences of the Bible.

Later in the episode, Nick (), who, in my opinion, stole the show, describes the process in which he would score heroin. After he scores it, they shoot in the church, Nick called it:

I'm not going to go so far as to say that Nick is Christian Allegorical figure...yet. Or, maybe I'm completely wrong and the spiral heart is just a reference to Alice in Wonderland. The Queen of Hearts would make one hell of a zombie hunter:

Maybe she'd be another Governor!

I'm down with it. New Ship name: Governarts. Ok, maybe not. 

The question, "why" was something that popped up in this episode. First, we see it spray painted on the wall in the church when Travis went to find out if Nicky's story was true: 
I know it's hard to see, but you can clearly see the question mark. Right before it the words "Why" are spray painted. In the scene below, Travis draws a question mark on the board while he is teaching. 

This scene feels like a complete metaphor for the arch of Fear. The scene in which Travis () was talking to his student Russell ( ... You know, Andre from Victorious! Can we get a Victoria Justice walker? They are in Hollywood!) In the conversation, Travis is trying to discuss why the story "To Build a Fire," by Jack London is important: 

This is why having Fear set in Los Angeles is so intriguing. We are not dealing with a cop, a redneck survivalist, and a farm owning vet. (Say a prayer for the departed.)  We are talking about an English teacher, a drug addict, and a guidance counselor. Russell's reaction perfectly sums up urban society. 

Most of us don't care how the heat in the house works, as long as it works. We don't know how to cut up a cow, as long as we get our steak. Shoot, must of us cannot even maintain a garden of vegetables.

Another aspect of London's story is that the protagonist is extremely arrogant; he feels like surviving in fifty below weather isn't a big deal. Some people in American society simply don't know how to live on their own, and they expect food be in the super market; they expect electricity to be in their outlets; and they expect the internet to always work. As we have seen in The Walking Dead, arrogance usually leads to death.

The rest of the London's story also shows the naiveté of a post zombie apocalyptic world.

 The main character realizes that he cannot move his fingers nimbly enough to start a fire, so he has the idea to cut a dog open. Once the dog is open, he was going to put his hands inside the dog to warm himself up. Fortunately, for the dog, the man can not move fast enough to catch him. Russell, Travis' student, is repulsed by the thought of guts. Guts can save you, man!

You do what you have to do to survive. Ultimately, Russell and the class come to this conclusion.

That's what it is all about, both series: Man versus Nature. Davidson did something that was pretty cool. This entire conversation was literally, to the minute, the midpoint of the show. Everything up to it was a slow burn. Yes, we had a great opening scene with Nick, but after that it kind of dragged until this conversation. Then the fit hits the shan and people get a little nutty:

But, really it does. If you go back and watch the episode, you'll see and hear sirens or helicopters in almost every scene after Travis has this discussion. Travis goes on to say:

What do they say about Man versus Nature? Nature always wins. So, we have a nice piece of foreshadowing working here.

 If the dog is nature, and nature always wins. That would mean there is a chance for something to overcome the disease. I think the hero to the zombie apocolypse is going to come in a form that we are not expecting. Wait for it...wait for it...:

 Nicky. What? You don't think he has the chops are meets the dog criteria? Were you expecting:

Seriously. I think that Nicky is going to become our main protagonist; he is going to become the leader of the group. Right after the scene in which Travis tells Russell that the dog is nature and nature always wins, Fear cuts to the hospital where the nurse tells Nicky that he has to go to the bathroom: 

 Hmmmm. Yeah, I know:

 I have a little more on Nick being the leader of the group, but first we need some more hidden treasures. In the scene where Alicia is trying to find her boyfriend, Matt, (Face it, he's gone) the teacher in the classroom is talking about Chaos Theory. Now, I've heard of it, but there was no way that I could recite it off the top of my head:

There was a whole litany of things that she was using to describe this. I said, Sean, do your due diligence. Research Chaos Theory. Well, what do you know, in my research. I found this website ( 

 The first two sentences are literally what the teacher says, word for word! It has to hold some insight into the show, right? Once we learn how to expect the unexpected and navigate a world where there are creatures that are out to destroy us, we can avoid things that could be detrimental to our long-term well-being, like death and your friendly neighborhood walker!

Another element of Chaos Theory is to take two situations that are similar, but with slight variations a completely different outcome is possible. For example, if we look at the start of The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead, we see how two different parts of the country react to walkers. Does the similarity just end there? No, I don't think so. Let's go back to Nicky being the leader of the group on Fear the Walking Dead.  There are some startling similarities between Nicky and Rick. (Eh hem, Nick and Rick... Will be soon under a Nicktatorship?)

Both main characters end up in the hospital in the beginning of the series:

Was I the only one saying, great, this kid is going to end up in a coma!

Before the initial outbreak kicks in, both end up in the hospital, but Chaos Theroy is the unpredictable. We cannot predict that Rick goes into a coma and the drug addled teen, Nick, does not.

Next point: Rick wakes to see a room locked away with walkers:

This will take some 'plaining.  How did a hospital get all these walkers into a boarded up room in a hospital? This is early on the apocalypse, the military didn't know how to herd and corral them. My assumption is that all these walkers were thrown in there before they turned. Let's look at some doctor shananigans in Fear that can shed some light on the situation. 

This is the scene when Nicky drops his bedpan no the floor and the old man (who you simply knew was going to die. Seriously, I thought Nicky was going to be tied up to his bed while the old man tried to eat him. Thankfully, that didn't happen.)This man has died. He flatlined, but they rush him out of there like he has a heart transplant waiting. Why? Simple. The doctors knew something was going on,(this initial idea was brought up to me by my friend Cindy. Huge fan... she is the coordinator for The Walking Dead of Long Island group on Facebook. If you live on the Island, and are not part of the group, join it!) The doctors are taking the infected and locking them away when they turn. Maybe like a special barn? (Disregard if you haven't watched Season Two of TWD!)

When Maddy and Travis try to find out where Nicky went, this is the nurses reaction:

A second death? Hmmm... how did that happen?  So, just like in The Walking Dead the hospital seems to be housing the recently departed "downstairs".

Third Point: Even when Nick takes off from the hospital, both are wearing their gowns:

If you notice in this picture, you can see that Rick's wound is to his left ribcage. Scroll up a bit, and you can see that is where Nick's injury is as well.  

Maybe its all coincidental that the beginnings of both characters are similar. Maybe it leads to the idea that Nicky is going to be the leader of this group eventually. Or, maybe, the similarities were done on purpose but because of Chaos Theory, Nick is going to bite it. 

I think one final similarity is that both 'icks have to kill a walker that they wouldn't expect to: 

Rick has to kill a little girl walker and Nick has to kill his best friend/dealer. Maybe the fact that Cal sells him heroin and tries to shoot Nick might mean that he isn't quite best friend material. 

Let's see how Chaos Theory plays out, and let's see if I'm right about Nicky. It does seem like he was bit in the foot in the previews.. so I could be wrong. Another interesting point, the third episode of the season is called "The Dog". So, maybe i'm not. 

I feel like this blog post is extremely long already, and I found some pretty interesting parts of the show. I'll post them with much less narration: 

The book that Nicky hid his junk in was called Winesburg, Ohio

Shortly after Maddy and Travis find this, the scenes cut to Alicia waiting for Matt to show up at Venice Beach. When he doesn't show, the camera pans away and pauses on an old Volkswagen Bus and it clearly says "Awaken"

There is a chapter in the book titled "The Awakening". It's basically about a young boy who has an epiphany that he needs to become part of society; that he must "give and swing and work with life, with the law." By the end of the chapter he gets humiliated and the girl he likes rejects him. He realizes that his epiphany was useless. There is no real society, and no one works for the common good. Sounds like The Walking Dead to me!

When Nicky is escaping the hospital, he hides behind the security cameras. you can see the doctors run by with someone on a gurney. Presumably it was the old man that just died. 

Finally, Fear paid a little homage to the last season of The Walking Dead. I even have a blog post written about it (Episode 5:13 Forget). The tricky letter "A"

While in my blogpost I argued that they the letter "A"s stood for various sins. Here, I think it is a little different. Earlier, I discussed two different scenes that used a question mark question. In both scenes with the A, questions were answered. One, Nicky realizes that what he saw was true, and the heroin was laced with anything. Second, that the dead can rise!

Also, hat's off to Frank Dillane. His acting was on point, and stole the show. He also had one of the best lines to anyone who has dealt with any form of addiction, "I always mean it."  Can't wait to see more of this kid!

That's all I have for this week. I'm excited to write be sure to write week's blog; hopefully it won't be quite as long. Please, spread the word, tweet it, post it, let the world know (or just Chris Hardwick, that'd be cool too. C'mon Yvette Nicole Brown has retweeted me once :) If you don't know who she is, find out! She is brilliant with her mind, and brilliant on the screen/tube). You can always follow my page as well. I'll be pretty much posting from now until April! Every week we'll have a new episode of Fear the Walking Dead and in October we start season six of The Walking Dead!

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