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TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead (Season 2, Episode 15)

Season 2, Episode 15: North

PLOT: Communities cease to exist and characters are set adrift in the season two finale.

REVIEW: Damn these characters. This show gives them opportunity after opportunity to redeem themselves. They make great progress and do some cool things, and yet eventually they always manage to destroy everything they touch.

Madison (Kim Dickens), Strand (Colman Domingo), Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), they had a good thing going. A very promising thing. They helped take over the Rosarito Beach Hotel, which could have been a great setting for future episodes. They were building a community, establishing rules, welcoming in new people. There were some uneasy relationships within this community that could have made for some interesting dramatic storylines. But then Madison's boyfriend Travis (Cliff Curtis) shows up and an act of vengeance sends everything spiralling out of control. Our "heroes" cannot keep their true villainous nature buried for long. Suddenly they're hurting and killing people left and right, and the woman who decreed "If anyone raises a hand to another, they're out" - a top-notch rule to have in such a scenario - is getting herself banished. It's all smooth sailing until your boyfriend crushes a skull under his boot heel.

They dangled the promise of the Rosarito Beach Hotel in front of me just to snatch it away after a couple episodes. I feel like Deputy Winston in CABIN FEVER: "You just f*cked up the whole party, you f*cking idiot!"

I have to say, after watching the actions of his family in this episode, you really do start to develop some posthumous sympathy for Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie). Sure, that kid was awful, he was way too willing to murder innocent people. But the things his family gave him so much grief over, they're on par with the things they do themselves in this episode. Why does Fear the Walking Dead insist on making its lead characters so horrible? Why should viewers want to continue following these people? Is redemption even possible for them at this point? 

There's no question about it now, he has no competition: Nick (Frank Dillane) is the hero of this show. The ratty-haired drug supplier may be a bit of a pain and/or an annoyance at times, but he's the only one who can find some peace with the people he interacts with, and who often commits noble acts. While the ailing Alejandro (Paul Calderon) is willing to let his people die in a futile fight for the doomed Colonia el Porvenir, Nick steps up with a plan to save them. And yeah, it involves something that this show does way too often (if you missed the "zombie guts" trick in the previous episode, rest assured that it comes back big time here), but at least he's trying to save people.

Fear the Walking Dead... The showrunners on this series make some strange choices. This is a baffling, frustrating show. It's one that can get you emotionally involved not because you care about the characters but because it repeatedly sends you reeling with thoughts of "What is this show doing, and why?" It builds you up to let you down again and again. Watching it is almost a masochistic endeavor. 

Apparently I am a television masochist, because I am on board to see this show through to the sure-to-be bitter end. I will continue subjecting myself to these characters and their awful actions. I want to see what happens to them as they continue down the road. And if what happens to them should happen to be that they all die, I won't be shedding any tears. I don't think this show would suffer from killing off some of its main characters. In fact, it would probably be a blessing.

Season three is a guarantee, and here's hoping that they'll take some time to re-think their approach and their characters during the hiatus between seasons. If they want to, they could still turn this show around and make it a lot more enjoyable and satisfying.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: We didn't get a bloody feast out of it, but the scene in which Alejandro sets the walker horde loose on the people invading the Colonia was nice. If only the Colonia zombies had proceeded to eat Madison and Travis when they showed up.

GORY GLORY: There's an emergency brain surgery in this episode that was definitely designed to gross you out.

FAVORITE SCENE: Nick trying to be a hero and leading the gut-coated people of the Colonia north.

FINAL VERDICT

Extra Tidbit: What did you think of North?

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