‘Fear the Walking Dead’ S2: E08 ‘Grotesque’ Review

Photo Credit: AMC
2.5


Nick (Frank Dillane) strikes out on his own after the events of the midseason finale, not willing to trust his mother (Kim Dickens). Several new characters are introduced as we also get a window into Nick’s past.

 

**Spoiler Alert**

This review contains spoilers for S2:E08 of Fear the Walking Dead. If you haven’t yet watched, read at your own risk.

 

The Good

Nick’s journey starts off paralleling Rick’s. The shots of Nick walking solo down the highway remind me so much of Rick’s original journey on The Walking Dead to find his family. He’s got limited supplies, and he’s trying to find his way in a crazy new world. The difference, of course, is that Nick is leaving his family behind, so it makes for an interesting nod to the mothership series.

Nick knows some survivalist information. In a scene that will leave you cringing, Nick does his best to get water from a cactus. We all heard that information about a cactus being able to survive in the desert because it holds water, right? Nick doesn’t have much success, and even vomits the meat of the cactus after trying to eat it to keep himself hydrated. He has to take matters in hand in a different way - by drinking his own urine. This is a survival tactic that can keep you alive for a limited amount of time, so credit to the writers for having Nick knowing that particular bit of information. It’s not something I can ever remember seeing done on The Walking Dead, but that series does spend most of its time in the woods on the East Coast where there is typically plenty of water.

AMC

We get some backstory on Nick and his dad. In flashbacks to his time in a rehab center, we find out that Nick had some animosity toward his dad who was “tired all the time” and wasn’t really listening anymore. Reading between the lines, it sounds like his father was depressed and the family didn’t really know what to do about it. Maybe he wasn’t so far off from his son, the kind of guy who has been willing to try anything once to escape his own reality.

Luciana knows how to make the tough decisions. We don’t know much about her yet, but I already like her. In her first scene, she watches the horde Nick is in and spots that he isn’t a zombie. She also makes the decision to not help him. The zombie apocalypse is a tough place to be, and it’s hard to know who’s worth your time, right? Of course, when Nick gets a little rain, he’s refreshed and ends up running into Luciana and her people anyway.

 

The Bad

The episodes kicks off, and moves, so very slowly. I’ve gotten used to the series having slow moving parts in most of the episodes, but those are usually balanced by faster pacing in other parts of the story. By centering this episode on Nick and his movement through the desert, the episode really suffers. Nick just doesn’t have a sense of urgency about him, no matter what the situation, which means even when he’s being chased by men on the highway, I don’t really feel like the episode is moving; instead, I’m just waiting for whatever is coming next.

Nick eats a little dog. Look, they did something similar on The Walking Dead, and I get that in the zombie apocalypse, food is tough to come by, especially in the desert. Nick doesn’t just eat some dog meat though - he eats meat from a dog that has just been gnawed to death by a horde of zombies. Am I supposed to believe that there’s no way he ends up infected as a result? What if he got some zombie blood with his dog?

This episode really needed other characters in more of it. We get a brief look at Luciana and her people near the end of the episode, but watching just Nick for nearly an entire hour is pretty rough. The episode wasn’t just slow moving, but it was also (mostly) boring.

AMC

 

The Questions

How long will this settlement last? If there’s one thing we know about the world of zombies, places where people gather in a large number are dangerous. They nearly always get overrun.

What is happening with everyone else? Given that this entire episode centered on Nick, I imagine we’ll find out what everyone else is up to next week.

 

Grading the episode: I wanted to be excited about the midseason premiere, but this episode just didn’t pull me right back into the world and it moved so incredibly slowly that I was basically hoping for Nick to meet a sticky end. The episode leaves me very apprehensive about what’s next.