TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead (Season 2, Episode 7)

Season 2, Episode 7: Shiva

PLOT: The characters have arrived at a safe haven in Mexico, but their choices could ruin their chances of remaining safe for very long.

REVIEW: Midseason finales are always a chance for the powers-that-be behind a show to tear things asunder, shocking the audience and leaving viewers desperate to see the show's return. Tonight was Fear the Walking Dead's chance to do that with their season two midseason finale. How successful were they? Personally, I thought they handled the episode pretty well, especially given this show's track record of squandering its potential.

Speaking of squandered potential, we have Victor Strand (Colman Domingo), whose choice of how to handle the death of his boyfriend - and I believe he made the correct choice - has jeopardized the main characters' chances of remaining at their walled-in Mexico safe haven for very much longer. The shaky ground they're on is not completely Strand's fault, though. Some viewers have expressed the opinion that the leads on Fear are actually the villains of their own series, and... wow, the events of this episode go a long way toward proving their point. In fact, after this I think maybe we can all agree that we are following the bad guys on this show. 

Not only do we have Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) going nuts and running off to take a small child hostage while his father Travis (Cliff Curtis) pursues him, and not only do we have Daniel (Ruben Blades) having a mental breakdown over lifelong guilt and the season one loss of his wife, we also have Madison (Kim Dickens) brewing a dangerous dislike toward Celia (Marlene Forte) because she doesn't like the way she interacts with Nick (Frank Dillane).

Celia has welcomed these people into her home, given them food and shelter. The place is walled in, they are safe here, even if they do disagree with Celia over how she views the walking dead. And yet, because of their own guilt and paranoia, they turn against their protectors. They become violent toward the people who are helping them. It's an interesting approach to center a show on the villains, and the realization that these are the bad guys makes it clear why the characters have been so tough to connect with. It's because several of them are not good people. At least some of them, like Chris, know how crappy they are and will admit it.

Daniel's storyline was the most interesting to me, while also being the most frustrating, because he's been one of the best characters from the start and I don't like seeing him crumble. I didn't like thinking that he might be making an exit from the show. I don't want him to be ruined like Strand was. We see flashbacks to one of Daniel's earliest memories, a very traumatic experience, and there was some incredible imagery there. 

The episode built up to some shocking acts and decisions. One of the events would have me in mourning if showrunner Dave Erickson hadn't already blunted it by assuring viewers in an interview that we will see that certain character again. Not in the back end of season two, but they'll return in season three. The climax does set things up to be quite different in the remaining episodes of this season. Our one group is now divided into multiple groups, and it will be interesting to see how each of them finds their own way to survive.

Fear the Walking Dead's midseason finale was more low-key than the average miseason finale on The Walking Dead, like the show is more low-key than its companion series across the board, but it did deal some blows and shake things up. While I'm not desperate to see the show return in August, I will be tuning in when it comes back to see what happens next.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: The image of the zombies moving through the dark countryside, shrouded in fog and smoke, fire burning in the background, and Nick walking among them.

GORY GLORY: That shot of Travis's foot was pretty gnarly. That's the best I can come up with for this one.

FAVORITE SCENE: Without giving too much away - the way the ignition of the fire was presented.


Extra Tidbit: What did you think of Shiva?



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