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TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead - Season 4, Episode 7

06.03.2018by: Cody Hamman

Season 4, Episode 7: The Wrong Side of Where You Are Now

PLOT: A confrontation with The Vultures precedes a flashback to the beginning of the fall of the stadium.

REVIEW: The fourth season of AMC's Fear the Walking Dead has been quite interesting and entertaining so far, but what I would like to see happen at some point in the future is a linear recut of the season. With just a couple exceptions, each episode in this first half of the season has cut back and forth between events unfolding in two timelines - one at some point in the past, when Madison Clark (Kim Dickens), her children Nick and Alicia (Frank Dillane and Alycia Debnam-Carey), Nick's girlfriend Luciana (Danay Garcia), and their troubled pal Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) were living in a baseball stadium and being threatened by outside forces, and the other in the present, when Madison is nowhere to be found, Nick is now dead, and Alicia, Luciana, and Strand are on a mission to get revenge on the people who destroyed their peace at the stadium, a group referred to as The Vultures. I don't think it's likely that there will be a linear option on the home video release of the season, so I'm wanting to see a fan with editing skills reassemble the scenes of these episodes into chronological order. I want this to happen, because while the back-and-forth approach has made the season an intriguing and mysterious experience as we've wondered what the hell happened at the stadium, I'd like to find out what it would be like to watch a proper "set-up and pay-off" version of the season.

This idea came to mind while watching this latest episode because now we're starting to see what the hell happened at the stadium, and we're finding out that the Vulture named Ennis (Evan Gamble) was directly responsible for the bad things that went down. Now we have a greater reason to hate Ennis than we ever did before, we understand while Nick and co. were upset with him... but there's not a cathartic comeuppance coming down the line. We've already seen how Ennis's story ends, because we saw him get killed by Nick way back in the third episode of the season. So now we're learning reasons to hate a guy who's already dead.

Next week is the midseason finale, so The Wrong Side of Where You Are Now is largely a "calm before the storm" episode, showing the build-up to that dreaded moment when the stadium is going to become uninhabitable for our main characters. It's a creepy calm, though, especially since the plan Ennis has concocted to ruin life at the stadium involves unleashing hundreds of zombies on the stadium property. The sequence where we watch The Vultures bring a bunch of box trucks and horse trailers packed with the living dead into the stadium parking lot, pulling in and lining up on a dark night while an excellent horror score plays on the soundtrack, was effectively unnerving.

While next week is when we'll (I assume, unless there's more time jump trickery ahead) get to see things get really bad at the stadium, thanks to the back-and-forth two timeline structure we didn't have to wait until the midseason finale to see all of the action. This episode kicked off with a scene set in the present, when Alicia, Luciana, and Strand get their revenge on The Vultures with a lengthy shootout. Yeah, we see the revenge before we see the event the characters are getting revenge for. Again, this is why I want to watch a linear cut someday.

Watching this shootout, I could only think... Poor Morgan (Lennie James). The crossover character from Fear's companion series The Walking Dead just endured that show's eighth season, which was packed with gun battles fought between communities, a war that drove him off one show and onto the other, and now he has to witness yet another gun battle between members of different communities. He had to be feeling some major déjà vu while watching this happen, and was probably wishing he had just kept living in a junkyard by himself.

Just because a bunch of people are firing guns at each other doesn't mean an action sequence is exciting, though. I found most of the shootouts in The Walking Dead season 8 to be a totally uninvolving waste of time, and while I'm enjoying Fear the Walking Dead season 4 much more than I enjoyed the other show's eighth season, I have to say that I didn't get much more out of this gunfight than I got out of any of the ones on The Walking Dead. Characters were pointing weapons at each other and pulling the trigger, we heard the sound effects of the guns firing, but there was little sense that there were dangerous projectiles flying through the air. People were taking cover behind vehicles, but any bullet hits weren't all that damaging, and the windows of the cars weren't getting shattered... It was pretty underwhelming.

What wasn't underwhelming was what happened to Vulture leader / Ennis's brother Mel (Kevin Zegers) at the end of that shootout. I was very glad to see that.

While leading us into the assault on the stadium, this episode also set up other situations I'm looking forward to seeing explored further: the desperate attempt to save the life of John Dorie (Garret Dillahunt), which needs to happen so he can truly be reunited with Laura/Naomi (Jenna Elfman - who also had a great moment with Mel in this episode, where he was unsuccessful at threatening her); Morgan taking in the Vulture child Charlie (Alexa Nisenson); and especially Dorie, Naomi, Morgan, Charlie, and Althea (Maggie Grace) entering the abandoned stadium and finding what the Vultures left behind.

The first half of this season has been a fun ride so far, and even though I wasn't impressed by that gunfight I still found The Wrong Side of Where You Are Now to be a really good episode overall.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: Zombies had bigger moments than this in the episode, but I really liked the scene where we see that a zombie has gotten crushed between a bus and a semi truck in a smash-up and is now trapped there, able to do nothing but paw at the windshield of the bus.

GORY GLORY: There were some awesome zombie designs glimpsed here, especially in the moment when characters enter the abandoned baseball stadium and find it full of zombies in advanced stages of decomposition.

FAVORITE SCENE: The vehicle a prominent Vulture tries to escape from the opening shootout in is destroyed, but we don't immediately see the person's body. If the showrunners wanted to, they could have brought this Vulture back in a later episode. Instead, we get closure in this one. This was my favorite scene in the episode because it means we're not going to be suffering through an overly drawn out situation with this character like we've had with Negan on The Walking Dead.

FINAL VERDICT

Extra Tidbit: What did you think of The Wrong Side of Where You Are Now?

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