This week on Fear the Walking Dead, moments after Nick, Travis, and Madison had their run-in with zombie-Calvin, the family tries to get Alicia and take her out of the city. However, Alicia is tending after her sick boyfriend Matt, who is going to become a zombie soon, since he's got a bite mark from a walker.
Meanwhile, Nick is going through withdrawal and doctors aren't returning Madison's calls, so she heads to the school to get confiscated drugs. Madison finds Tobias there, the kid with the knife in the first episode, and gets assistance from him. Tobias and Madison find that someone in the school is infected and she has to end him. Back at home, Madison stops Alicia from saving a neighbor from a walker.
While this is happening, Travis' son, Chris, heads to downtown LA to see what's happening and finds himself in the middle of a protest as tensions grow with the local police. Travis and Liza head to LA to get him out of there. Chaos erupts and the three find themselves held up in a barber shop as riots break out. They're held up there until everything calms down.
All the characters were once together, but by the end of the episode, half of them are miles away and trapped, and the others are dealing with a son going through withdrawal and a walker invading the neighborhood.
A big part of this show is the suspension of disbelief the audience needs to have going into this. The vast majority of the people watching Fear the Walking Dead have seen The Walking Dead, so everyone knows how all this ends up: badly. It's important to know that these characters are really in the dark about what's happening, so they're going to make decisions Rick Grimes and his crew would never make. This is all a learning experience for the characters in this world and it's actually done very well.
This is less about zombies and more about the breakdown of society, which zombies just happen to be the cause of. Travis and company have to be held up in a barbershop because a protest turning into people flipping over cars, lighting things on fire, and rioting. This is where that breakdown of society slowly begins. The direction is really interesting and the execution, for this episode, really works. This episode gives the show a lot more promise, as it's pretty intense because the audience is in the know and understands what's coming. It's easy to see that this show can have legs and not just become a Walking Dead spin-off, just taking place in another part of the country.
Madison's first zombie kill, and her moment cleaning off her jacket, at home, later on, is crafted extremely well. While Nick took out walker-Calvin last week, this is the first time one of the cast has taken out a zombie one-on-one. Madison really has a moment of "should I do this or should I help him" which is completely natural to the scene and makes Madison "killing" him so much harder.
A question that keeps popping up is "how much to the police know about all this?" The answer has to be "more than they're letting on." The infected homeless man was shot in the head. They obviously know more than they're letting on to. Is withholding all this information actually the downfall of the world?
One of the hard parts of the pilot episode was that the audience had this family dynamic shoved down their throats for an hour and a half, and it left many people wondering "why should I care about them?" However, as the second episode hits, there is a little bit more of an attachment to these characters and their struggles. Now, not everyone is going to be "all-in" with these characters, at this point, but they are all growing to be people the audience will care about and soon.
It's all developing pretty well, and frankly, this episode moved a lot smoother and had a lot more moments of tension than the pilot. The episode feels a lot more like an episode and less like forced introduction, which, granted, most pilots read as, but we're actually getting some pretty good story here and everything gels well together. The only thing that's working against this show is that there's a bit of character stupidity here, as the group splits up. Regardless, this was a good episode and gives a lot of hope that this series will stand on its own.