After last week’s uneven outing, Fear The Walking Dead had a lot to prove with “Date of Death”, this week’s entry in the sophomore season. Fortunately for us, Fear The Walking Dead delivered a great story focused on Travis and Chris as they dealt with the events on the farm from “Do Not Disturb”. The end result was one of the most powerful episodes to date in the series.
One of the big questions following the ending of “Do Not Disturb” was how the show was going to handle Chris’ downward slide to darkness. In a bold move that earned the show runners quite a bit of goodwill, it’s clear that Chris is not heading heading for redemption. At least not yet. Despite Travis’ best efforts, he was unable to talk Chris out of joining the Zombro American Douchebags (Zads). In fact, in an effort to show Chris the error of his ways, Travis found himself in a very precarious situation that almost got him killed. Fortunately though, Travis made it through this very tense encounter despite the fact that he lost his son in the process.
Travis has been the voice of morality for Fear The Walking Dead since the first episode and it’s never quite felt right. Mostly this is because his apprehension to do the right thing led to a lot of staring and awkward silences that just didn’t fit with a family on the run, trying to survive at the height of an apocalypse. Fortunately, “Date of Death” really gave Travis a moment to move past that, as he was juxtaposed against the Zads. The end result was an amazing moment that allowed Travis’ good nature to shine in the best possible ways.
Speaking of the Zads, they were really at the center of this week’s story. Their party line of “kill anyone who can’t hold their own” was put to the test as one of the Zads, James, was critically injured. This myopic outlook on life combined with Chris’ unflappable nonchalance at taking an innocent person’s life really pushed Travis to the limit. Despite Travis’ best efforts to highlight how amoral, reckless and disloyal the Zads were to their own, Chris bought into the Zads’ hype and betrayed his father at a crucial moment that cost James his life.
But what does all of this mean for Chris? Will he return to the show, or has last part of Travis’ first family finally rode off into the sunset? I really don’t know but with the Zads showing up at the hotel gates desperate for help without Chris, I certain smell a story. Which, honestly, is where Fear The Walking Dead really shines. These character moments are the main draw and have created a lovely tapestry of depth, now if they can just figure out how to up the danger element, we could see a show that would easily rival the original Walking Dead.
The Learning Curve
If this is your first time reading my write-ups of Fear The Walking Dead, let me introduce you to The Learning Curve. This is a summation of each character as they learn how to navigate in the zombie apocalypse. Each week I’ll rate the cast’s chances of survival based on their actions up until this point. Since the party has been split up, we’ll cover each group as they appear on the show.
Travis Manawa: 6 of 10. If I’m honest, Travis has had the worst apocalypse out of everyone on the show. His persistent hopefulness has been dashed time and time again. This week’s story of the Zads converting Chris into the worst kind of Zombro may push Travis one step too far. While it certainly showed us why Travis is so important to the narrative as a whole, it took a lot of pain to get here. If he can recover from the loss of Chris he may become a fan favorite alongside Alicia and Strand.
Chris Manawa: 2 of 10. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Chris is in deep trouble. The sweet, kid of the first season has been replaced by a stone cold killer. Not even the bonds of family can keep this guy in line. With his sudden departure, it’s clear that Chris’ future is in jeopardy. Will the Zads kill him when he becomes dead weight? Did he meet up with Ofelia in the desert? Or did he simply find a bigger gang to glob onto? I dunno, but I feel Chris time on this zombie riddled earth is coming to a close.