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Review: Fear the Walking Dead S01 E03 – The Dog

FTWDS01E03-1

“Good people are the first ones to die.” – Daniel Salazar

The Hamlet Struggle
To kill or not to kill? That is the question in this week’s episode titled “The Dog”. Whether it is nobler to the mind to suffer the future consequences of not taking action…of not being…of not killing. Shakespeare wasn’t writing about the zombie apocalypse in Hamlet, but his words remain relevant to the inner turmoil faced by Fear the Walking Dead characters.To be or not to be. To kill or not to kill. Hesitation is death. Hesitation is weakness in the Rick Grimes School of Walkerology.

After watching the third episode, it’s starting to feel like our Lord of the Flies character study is starting to take shape. Each character travels down the same unsuspecting road until they reach the two way split at the end of it. What path do I take? To kill or not to kill. Every human being has a parasympathetic nervous system that governs their “fight or flight” response. The main characters, Madison Clark and Travis Manawa, are now carving out their paths. The latter appears to still hold on to the humanity of the infected while the former is more likely not to hesitate. The writers revisit this deadly formula made famous by Carl’s inaction in Season 2 of The Walking Dead (TWD), which led to RV-driving Dale’s demise.

The Family Drama
The zombie apocalypse Brady Bunch continues to develop as Travis’ two families learn to coexist. The tension most likely will occur as Alicia Clark (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Chris Manawa (Lorenzo James Henrie) spend more time around each other. A bloody nose was already the result of their first scene together. This push / pull of Travis by both of his families is going to be interesting to watch as it unfolds before our eyes…especially if he has to choose between either side in a life or death situation. I’m confident that the Fear show runners will go there.

Best Performance
There were no standout performances outside of what we’re already seeing from our Johnny Depp doppelgänger – Frank Dillane. Collectively, the cast was brilliant in staying within the natural progressions of their characters. If I had to give an acting nod for “The Dog”, it’s only due to the writing. Ruben Blades who portrays Daniel Salazar adds a much needed toughness to the survivor group that’s being formed here early on. He’s stubborn. He’s old school. He knows his way around a gun. Blades does a good job of commanding the respect and trust of the viewers. He’s the guy you need on your side when the stinky body parts hit the fan…or he could be the guy that’s so stubborn he gets his wife killed.

Best Moment in the Episode
The exit from the barbershop was the big action piece of this third episode. Running through downtown L.A. during the civil unrest, then driving by the hospital and the citywide blackout provided some very effective visuals. It will be a scene that sticks with audiences. It’s a chilling reminder that the path ahead is dark, dangerous, and unpredictable. That memorable scene alone was worth the price of admission.

Looking Ahead
We have 3 more episodes left and Fear is really starting to anchor itself down as a standalone story. The decision to use Los Angeles at the outbreak of the apocalypse is really coming to fruition in an awesome piece of television. What’s definitely a win for the writers is that audiences are starting to latch on to the characters. It only took three episodes. The acting performances are solid…and the zombie bodies are starting to hit the floor (and get back up again). This one earns a higher score than the first two episodes.

Score: A

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Image Source: AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead website

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