Friday, September 18, 2015

Fear the Walking Dead: 1:3 "The Dog" (SPOILERS)

Better late than never, right? Listen, it's draining to take two four year olds and a nine year old to Disney. Not that I'm complaining cause I'm blessed enough to be able to make that trip. But, I got home Tuesday and didn't even get to watch the episode till Wednesday. So, In my mind, I'm early!

"The Dog" oh, I wonder what that was a reference too? I remember watching a movie with my buddy Joe in high school. In the opening scene, two young boys walk into a bank and it explodes. He starts freaking out, "You don't do that! You do not kill little kids or pets in the opening scene!" Let me get an, Amen to that, and let's pour a little out for Hedwig.

But wait, this is the Walking Dead universe. In the opening scene of the pilot, Rick puts a bullet in the head of a little girl. Why would this episode be titled, "The Dog"? Even when a beloved character bites it

(Get it... Puns)

I believe this episode is an extended metaphor of the title "The Dog". Not the beloved pet that Peter decided to snack on, but the Alpha Dog. Who is going to become the leader of this group? I felt that this episode had the characters throw their hats in the ring with each vying for that leadership role. Let's meet the candidates:

The obvious choice:
Daniel Salazar. This man seems to know what it takes to get the job done. In the image above, he is looking at Maddy and Travis when they don't kill their infected neighbor. Putting the pieces together, we know that Daniel and his wife Griselda are survivors of the El Salvadorian Civil War. This was one of the most brutal civil wars ever.

He wants to keep them at an arm's length away, but he is still willing to help them:

He even takes Chris under his wing and explains to him how to use a shotgun properly.

We, of course, saw Mr. Salazar is not all talk. He was the one who took out Peter:

A little side note. I know this is a blog on zombie and all, but I try to refrain from using really gruesome images. I don't know who's reading this, so I try to keep it somewhat PG-13, and Daniel's first kill was far from PG-13. Don't forget that Daniel also told Travis to burn the body so the disease won't spread.(By the way, I called Travis by the actor's name all last post, Cliff. I went back and edited it. Where were the peeps on the comments! JK) Daniel is definitely the front runner for the group's leader. He knows what it takes to survive, and has the stomach to do what needs to be done. Looking at it's predecessor Rick also had some survival skills being a police officer. So did Shane. We all know where that ended up. 

The major complaint that I've heard so far is that the show moves too slow. Yes, it is, but this is what we wanted. We wanted to see the world fall from the beginning. After watching six seasons of The Walking Dead we have become desensitized to the violence and gore. We also watch Rick move further and further away from what he was in the pilot. The apocalypse changes people. We want our protagonists to go "full shane", but how many of you could do what they are doing on the show? Fear the Walking Dead is showing us how everyday, blue collar people, can descend into the maelstrom. I'm loving every second of it. 

Another side note: Robert Kirkman once said that he doesn't mind having characters with the same name because in the real world you're always bumping into someone with the same name. Seriously, I have three friends named Sean. When I'm talking to my wife about going somewhere she's like which Sean is that. (Oh, for those keeping track, that's my name too). 

The Frist Lady: Madison Clark

This girl gets it. She saw Nick run over his best friend/dealer (That's a paradox, no?) Then she had to take out her friend, Artie, with a fire extinguisher, nonetheless! In the scene above, she tells Liza that if she becomes infected, she needs to take her out.  She gets it, she really does. Then we see her neighbor, Susan. 

Could this be a nice little allusion to Tyrese?

She has one huge weakness though, and that brings us to our next potential candidate

The Second Lieutenant: Travis Manawa

Travis was the one who went into the church in the pilot, he was the one that went to see Cal when he had turned, he's the one that makes the decisions to save his family. He's Mr. Fix it, but as his ex-wife, Liza realized: 

Travis can go in two directions. If Fear follows the format of TWD, Travis is going to be the first main character to go. What has been the norm of that show? If you show any sort of morals, you're a goner: Tyrese, Bob, and Noah. They were some of my favorite characters, but they wanted to make the world post-zombie apocalypse a better place. Travis definitely shows some of those characteristics: 

 Maddy wants to kill Susan, she has the hammer and is ready to do it. Travis convinces her not to do it. What does he want to do with all these walkers? Put them in a barn? He is very reminiscent  of early Herschel in that respect. Where he is hopeful that there is cure.
We, of course, know better. Every time he spoke in this episode it reminded my of a Bluebeard... what ever you do, don't go in there. What does she do? Go in there.

Every time he says, I'll never leave you, or it'll be ok. I'm like, dude, shut up! Do you want to die?

Or... could Fear be using this as the ultimate character development mirroring the likes of Carol. She went from an abused, submissive woman to a woman who threatened Pete's life while holding a casserole. Is this what Travis is destined for? In season one and two of TWD, Shane was ready to do anything to make sure his group survived. By the time we got to season five, Rick was in the same place as Shane. Is Travis going to show this same transformation? I hope so. The vegas odds makers have him as 3:1 favorite on getting killed by the end of the season. (I completely made up that number... I couldn't find the Vegas odds... but if you can, hit me up!)

The Dark Horse: Nick Clark

There's something about this kid. I praised him in episode one for his acting, and again, he's good. When he starts going through withdrawal it's like he's a different character. Frank Dillane doesn't play it over the top either, there's subtle nuances that he uses to portray the withdrawal. Look at the difference between him when he's playing Monopoly and when he's sitting in the car at the end of the episode:

I don't know if you noticed, but Nick was kicking butt. I'm not sure if you can equate dominating a game of monopoly and surviving the apocalypse, but it's a start.

Nick is also quick to make a decision, and this is the case even with him going through withdrawal. 

He's got the potential. I'm always rooting for the person who's the least likely, so I go with Nick. However, Nick: Change your clothes, bro! You are in the clothes of a dead, old man!

As always, I have a few interesting scenes that I think we should share:

These crystals were hanging in the doorway at the Clark/Manawa house. I cannot pretend that I'm expert on Feng Shui, but crystals usually symbolized balance and harmony, and are hung where the person wants to try and create balance and harmony. Clearly, the mixed family of Clarks and the Manawas don't exactly blend. Ironically, the apocalypse helps bring about the harmony. Liza, Travis' ex-wife, seems to be getting along with Maddy. I guess anyone will get along with the new girlfriend if she says, kill me if I get infected. Also, Nick who must have been a constant cause of heartache in the house is part of the family again. I guess the crystals worked.

Ooops, there goes the electricity!

Always... if you get it, you get it. "Always" gets me every time!

Besides the riot, this is the first time that we see a full attack from the military on someone. This leads me to believe that the hospital is overrun. It makes sense; when we die, we turn. The hospital is going to have more people die than others. Maybe they didn't get them secured "downstairs" (Look at the first Fear blog post)
It's official... the walkers are now called "The Infected"

Here's a plane again, is it the spin off episode? I think it is. Notice the boot of the plane is all red. We'll see if that comes up again when they air it!

For some reason, the military is spray painting something on the house. This was Maddy's house, so I'm assuming this is a symbol that their house is ok.

This was the military spray painting on the Tran's house. I didn't get the screen shot of it, but he started writing a word on the bottom. I was able to make out a "C". It makes me think back good ol' Morgan:

Morgan had the word "Clear" marked all over his town. He was a survivor when Atalnta fell. I'm thinking the military started writing clear on houses that contained the dead and was cleared. Just a thought.

When the group started to pull out, the camera pans to this bloody body wrapped that is laying in the street. This was obviously from someone else. Travis put Peter's body in a garbage can. 

This is horrible. I think this is the house where the party was.

Oh,  Travis, please shut up!

Till next week!  If you get a chance, check out The Walking Dead Forums!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fear the Walking Dead: So Close, Yet so Far (1:2) SPOILERS

Most people I've talked to are loving the new series. The ones that are hesitant, complain that it's slow moving. Seriously people! It's the slow burn:

Ok, maybe that's not the slow burn I meant, but hey it's my blog I can do whatever I want!

There were a few things that struck me about this episode and what it was trying to achieve visually. If we look at the title "So Close, Yet so Far", drove home the theme of this week's episode. As a society, we are so close to civilization and but so far. It seems there are two types of people: those who know and those who don't.

Seriously though, Adam Davidson did a great job of showing the dichotomy of society:

Travis, Nick, and Maddy roll up in their beat up truck with a brand new hood emblem: is it rust? is it a new paint job? Nope, it's blood. Not just any blood, but the blood of a man who we ran over a few times because he rose from the freaking dead! Oh, but behind them, there's a birthday party, "Hey, guys we rented a bouncy house!" Woop de freaking do:

Actually, one of the symbols I did pick up on was the balloon from the party:

If you remember on The Walking Dead: "Try" there was an entire episode that used the balloon as a symbol. I argued that the balloon represented the people of Alexandria trying to hold onto civilization in a ruined world. When the balloon is let go, Rick fights Pete and shows them what the "real" world looks like. It seems Fear alludes to its parent show, and uses the balloon for the same purpose. Again, there are two types of people: those who know and those who don't.

The police officer is stocking his cruiser up with water. It doesn't seem like he is trying "to protect and to serve" He's no Rick Grimes!

 Travis and Maddy's neighbor seems to have the right idea. I wonder how he knows?

Oh, that's right cause he was bit!!!

 Just when you think people on the radio are going to talk about it...
 Nope... they are talking about football!

The real dynamics can be seen with Maddy and her daughter, Alicia. When they find her at Matt's house, we clearly see that he is bitten. Of course, Alicia doesn't see that. Matt. like the good boy friend he is, doesn't tell her what he has seen. He just sits there scowling. Wouldn't you want to say what happened?

People ignore what is truly going on and continue with their everyday lives.

No... what's scary is the guy with the baseball cap who stares at you. His hat is pulled down, hands in pockets. That guy freaks me out:

As The Walking Dead became a social commentary on society, I'm beginning to see Fear take on the same tones. 2015 pretty much is the year of "Let's get angry about something". Fear shows how minuscule those things are when the apocalypse is upon us. We already saw Nick looking at the radio and see a calimity of biblical proportions, and they were talking about a football player. Even better, is when Travis is trying to find his son and is on the phone with his ex-wife Liza:

Meanwhile, who gives a damn about your visitation rights when the zombies are coming? We need to know what Obama would do!

In the last year, we have seen multiple protests against the police; it seems that Fear is showing similarities: Art imitating life.

 Reading through transcript,  we can see that Chris is standing up for the rights of others. He is noble, he is becoming an activist. He should be making his father proud.

However, this is the apocalypse, man. We don't need to worry about the rights of the individual. We need to worry about the survival of mankind!

 That's what I think is great about this show so far. We are looking at civilization and what everyone thinks is important. In reality, water, food, shelter is what is important. The world is going down, and we are just along for the ride

Even after the crowd sees the police take down an "infected", they don't don't applaud them. They riot! (Maybe they think she was Darryl Dixon?) {Get it... they kill Darryl we riot}... ok, you know it's bad when you have to explain your pun... I should probably just delete it. Sadly, no... suck it up readers...I have bad puns.

In my writing or critiques of writing, I'm always wary of dating my work with the inclusion of things that are popular at the time. In my class, I have taught books that have included popular bands. However, after some years of publication, the bands don't have the popularity with the demographic that the book is intended for. I believe one book used Red Hot Chili Peppers. Yes, they are great, but to 13 year olds, they have no idea who they are. Fear is a little different. This is a companion series, we assumed that The Walking Dead started in present day. So, season one of The Walking Dead takes place in 2010. Since the outbreak consumed the world at the same time, we can assume that Fear also takes place in 2010. But, there is confirmation, and it is in the details that Andrew Davidson uses in the show.

When the camera pans through her bedroom, we see her acceptance letter to UC Berkley:

In proper letter format, there is a date. Let's zoom in!

April 19, 2010! This gives a much better timeframe for the show. If we look at everything in the show, things start to fall into place. First, we haven't seen one "newer" car. All the cars seem to be older models. Look at Travis' truck! Have any of you noticed the cell phones? Everyone has a different brand. I'm an apple guy, but I didn't get my first iPhone till the 4s which came out in 2011. Did you notice Alicia's phone?

My buddy, Chris, pointed this out to me. He asked me if I noticed the charger on the iPhone. It's the old charger, the 30 pin plug. Also, that is definitely the iPhone 4. Well done, Mr. Davidson. There were some other clues too. Scroll up to Chris' protest. Notice anything anachronistic (Thank you, Princeton Review for that word)? In 2015, the year of the protest: 

If you have not seen PCU, it is a classic. But, really, we know about these protests and riots because everyone has the ability to record video. Who is the only one that is recording the protest? Chris. Plus, he's not even doing it with his phone. He has a camcorder! Why? Because it's 2010 and iPhone 4 took horrible videos! Who has a camcorder these days?! I wonder if the producers, directors will continue this in upcoming episodes. (They didn't really do it in the first with the video of the guy on the Freeway, but hey we all can't be perfect)

Last post, I mentioned the parallels between Nick & Rick. I think there is another parallel that can be made: Eugene and Tobias. Tobias is just as socially awkward as Eugene:

Tobias seems to know what is going on and what is going to happen: 

Also, just like Eugene, he's pretty useless in terms of the "infected"

A steak knife doesn't really work so well when you are trying to crack the cranium. You're lucky Maddy was there to save your life. Also, why did you break into the school? 
Oh that's right, to get food. When Maddy says leave it, he runs back and gets a can that fell. But wait:

Where's the food? You left it there? You had one job to do!

As stated before: Tobias is Eugene, and they are pretty USELESS when it comes to the dead, but what their information is pretty accurate:

I'm pretty stoked for this week's episode. I will do my best to meet my Thursday deadline for the blog; however, we are taking a family vacation. I don't know if I'm going to be able to get it up as quickly as I play. However, I will have it up before air time next Sunday!

To end with, there were some pretty interesting scenes that I think should be brought up:

Nick's grand mal seizure, or was it?

There is something special about this kid. He knows pain and suffering; he will endure in the zombie apocalypse.

There was an article stating that there will be a short film about a plane crash with in The Walking Dead universe. Could this be the plane?

Then there's Matt. Poor Matt who loves Alicia: 

He tells her to leave and go with her family, his parents will be home soon. Yeah, well Matt, or at least cognitive Matt is not, and I fear his parents are no longer with us either: 

This was outside his house. The trunk is open, suitcases are out, lights are on, but no sign of anyone. As Tobias said, when things go bad, they go bad quickly. 

Life as we knew it is "So close, yet so far." 

Till next week!!