Fear the Walking Dead - S02E01 Monster (2016)

Sex :   Violence : 

Director Adam Davidson
Writers Dave Erickson
Starring Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Lorenzo James, Mercedes Mason, Rubén Blades, Colman Domingo
Genre Zombie
Tagline No Safe Harbour
Fear the Walking Dead - S02E01 Monster (2016)


"I filled my mercy quota. Seven people saved to date. Be thankful." - Victor Strand

Our band of survivors are forced to take to the ocean aboard Strand's boat, the Abigail, following the final fall of Los Angeles. Naturally the military decide bombing the City would also be a good idea cause of stuff. Anyways having to deal with the apocalypse isn't enough for Madison and Travis, they also have to deal with teenage angst. Chris blames Travis for the death of his mother, well Travis did shoot her after she became infected and Alicia is turning into quite the chatty Cathy with person unknown on the ship's mobile radio. About the only people rocking to the new world order are Strand, who refuses to other help to other survivors on the seas, Daniel Salazar who nothing seems to phase, and Nick who is thriving in the decaying carnal house of the Dead.

Alicia's conversations haven't gone unnoticed and a faster boat is trawling for the Abigail, a shot up yacht might be testimony to the intentions of our unseen trackers. Naturally Chris attempts death by drowning, Nick to the rescue, and we discover aquatic undead dangers. Society is on the way out folks and the strong are beginning to prey on the weak, Strand is going to ensure his group aren't in the second category. And just when you think Madison might have enough on her plate she discovers Strand is harbouring a secret and has a firm destination in mind, apparently San Diego.

Great to see Fear the Walking Dead (FTWD) back on our screens for a second season after the very solid first one won some fans and looks to be keeping them, okay early days but good tune in for the first episode of the new season. To be honest I didn't think season one really found its voice but have my fingers crossed that we'll start to get the show rocking on during this season. We have been introduced to our major characters, can expect to lose a few along the way, and will no doubt have the odd new one making the scene. I guess if last year we rocked to society falling to the undead plague, this season will be about finding solid ground for the survivors to settle down and take a break.

I was actually more than excited about FTWD taking to the water, which reminds me somewhat of World War Z, and definitely shows a divergence from the themes and storylines of the parent show The Walking Dead. As usual we quickly learn that the walking dead aren't going to be the major danger facing Travis and crew, with the removal of order the predators come out to play, though this does seem to be happening a tad too quickly for me to truly suspend my belief. But still the action being set on the water should be a chance to bring some different aspects of the apocalypse into play. Nailing this down is Victor Strand, who seems to have a destination in mind, and I believe this isn't going to be San Diego, which is where his current course is being set to go.

Good to see the show back, but the first episode seems to be more introduction

For those wanting undead action you get some very solid action going down with the recently deceased. Madison and Travis battle the undead on the beach at Los Angeles while waiting for Nick to pick them up in a zodiac. Later in the episode Nick swims headlong into a water logged undead crowd as he confronts a yacht that has been shot up and sunk. Okay this might seem slightly light on undead action, but first episode of the season and we are reconnecting with the major characters who have yet to become warriors of the wasteland ala The Walking Dead. I thought the makeup and effects on the undead was cool, though the explosions in Los Angeles were showing the seams and were clearly very tightly controlled practical effects with the larger explosions being CGI. SO passable action scenes and a high standard on the makeup and prosthetics front. I'm more than happy to sign off on this aspect of the show.

There seems to be a widely held opinion amongst sometime show drop ins that the major characters haven't generated any sympathy yet, the argument being that this group of people don't deserve our backing. Once again I would put this down to low attention spans and shallow analysis that the internet allows to happen. Madison is all about her kids, she has already proven to have the ability to do what needs to be done in order to protect them, witness the soldier in season one. Travis is the pacifist who is increasingly finding this aspect of his nature isn't conducive to long life in the post-apocalyptic world. Add in his Maori warrior culture and the dude's going to rocking it Rick Grimes style by the end of the season. Victor Strand for his part has an agenda he isn't sharing with anyone else yet, and hey who doesn't dig Daniel Salazar. Which leaves the four teenagers in the pack, who range from hitting it hard time or being typical teens, characters are evolving people so don't write them off just yet. I'm okay with the characters, seems some people are finding anything they can to run down this franchise cause that's the new trend for wannabee trendoids.

So basically the episode just gets our cast on the open water, introduces a potential opponent, and updates the conflicts between the various characters. Naturally the undead are pretty much reduced to plot devices at this stage, FTWD has never really got into the whole walking dead thing with there being a constantly danger of one or more lead characters being eaten alive. To be honest I'm not too sure how long they can spin the water born part of the season, but guess we'll have some pirates and shore leave breaking up the fishing. Thinking Victor's plans may come into play sometime near mid-season which will add some additional spice to tensions.

I was more than pleased this spin off from The Walking Dead got a second season, if only to tie up the plot strands from season one, and have to say while the first episode of the new season isn't likely to send people into raptures it was still surprisingly solid. Saying surprisingly here because not a lot happens outside establishing the season plot arcs and highlighting the tension amongst the characters, which will no doubt establish the plot flow through the new season. We also get some pretty solid plot foreshadowing with a menace out there that our survivors are yet to face. Still think you need to catch up with season one of FTWD before tackling this episode, there are surprisingly already a high number of characters to keep track of, but for those of us who have been following the show solid enough start to version 2. Recommended, though FTWD is a little like that old lady driving ultra-slow in the fast lane compared to The Walking Dead's pedal to the metal. Equally I'm still not really engaging with any of the characters other than Nick. Expecting the season to pick up once we get into more meat in future episodes story wise.

ScaryMinds Rates this episode as ...

And the fun don't done, or started really, okay episode for fans of the show.