Over the summer, AMC’s zombie thriller The Walking Dead finally debuted its highly anticipated spinoff, Fear The Walking Dead. While the title could still use some work, the series itself has proven to be a solid compliment to the original.
This weekend, Fear wrapped its brief 6-episode freshman run and left its characters in peril, just as we expected. While we have a long wait ahead of us for the show’s second season in 2016, these first six episodes have provided us more than enough big moments to tide us over.
Here’s our list of the 12 Best Fear The Walking Dead Moments From Season 1
Take Me To Church
The concept for Fear The Walking Dead had to have presented some problems for the show’s creators, especially in figuring out a starting point. Walking creator Robert Kirkman was adamant neither series reveal the origins of the virus that brings about the end of society, but that still begs the question, if not there, where do you start a prequel?
For Fear the answer was church.
The opening scene, featuring Nick (Frank Dillane) waking up in church and coming face-to-face with a zombie, was meant to do a few things for the series. The first was to make the audience think they are already in the Walking world. But the producers then reveal that the apocalypse hasn’t happen yet, but the seeds are in place. The sequence was also designed to build anxiety about what’s ultimately to come.
The idea of starting the series in a church, which is often portrayed as a safe place of sanctuary, was very clever and that wasn’t lost on audiences. The scene was also creepy, fast-paced and full of action, which are all specialties of The Walking Dead universe.
The bulk of the first episode was a slow burn designed to get us to the death of Calvin (Keith Powers). It’s his demise that really gets our main characters to believe that something is very wrong.
From that initial scene in the church, to when Nick brings his stepfather Travis (Cliff Curtis) and mother Madison (Kim Dickens) to the place where he killed Calvin, just to discover that the body is missing, Nick is constantly questioning his own reality. We, as the audience, know he’s an addict and unhinged, but we also know he hasn’t lost his mind.
The irony and perfection of this last scene in the pilot is that while Travis and Madison are trying to talk to a long-gone Calvin, it’s actually Nick who is the one thinking clearly. It’s Nick who comes to the rescue and tries to take down zombie Calvin. It’s only after Calvin gets run over by Nick’s car and pulls himself back up that the realization about their current situation sets in for the trio.
During Fear’s second episode we get a little more insight in Travis’ ex-wife Liza (Elizabeth Rodriguez) and son Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie). We see from the on-set that Chris is very much his father’ son. He’s a protector and he wants to fight for his beliefs, which is why he’s run off to join the city’s other protestors.
The scene is also important though because it continues to show the deterioration of society and the breakdown of civil authority. Cops are shooting “the infected” and while viewers understand the reason, the characters don’t have a clue. They think its police brutality.
The rule of law is about to go out the window, as you’d expect in a zombie apocalypse, but it won’t be an easy transition. It is also clear that the writers are attempting to bring some real-world relevance to the series, as the string of police shootings reflect the ongoing concerns about police conduct in the United States’ 24/7 news cycle.
It was basically a matter of when, not if, that Madison’s friend and boss Artie (Scott Lawrence) was going to become one of “the infected.” The school principal’s demise is equally as heartbreaking as it is terrifying, and it offers insight into Madison’s character.
Madison is a reasonable woman and her natural instinct is to believe everything will be alright. It is human nature to think that way, but human nature has never come face-to-face with zombies before
When infected Artie attacks Tobias (Lincoln A. Castellanos), who has proven to be the smartest kid in the room in just two brief scenes, Madison springs into action. She takes matters in her own hands and clocks Artie with the fire extinguisher, eventually putting him down for good.
This shows us that Madison, while optimistic, will be capable of adapting to the apocalypse, even if she doesn’t realize it yet. It will eventually put her at odds with Travis, who can’t quite flip the switch in his mind that this zombie thing can’t be fixed.
This scene caught a little bit of flak when it first aired.
People criticized it because they couldn’t imagine a scenario when, in the middle of everything they’ve been through, Madison and her kids would sit down for a rousing game of Monopoly. However, the scene plays bigger when you realize the undertones.
A significant part of the first few episodes is setting up that Travis is now a part of this family, and that this news hasn’t been completely well received by Madison’s kids. We eventually learn Madison’s first husband died in an accident and, while waiting on him to come home, the family was playing Monopoly. Now, fast-forward in the narrative and here they are again, but now waiting on Travis (who we know is stuck in the barbershop because of the riot).
The scene is all about Madison, Nick and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) trying to break the tension and get a sense of normalcy. It’s the same thing for the audience, the scene was meant to be a break in the action for them as well, but not everyone picked up on it.
There Goes The Neighborhood
The introduction of Madison’s neighbors (Mr. Dawson and the Trans) helped to jump-start the action. Slowly the entire cast begins to realize this situation is only going to get worse because of these supporting characters. But it sets up a moral question: how much are we obligated to help the dead or non-living living so to speak?
While Madison and Travis waver, both Daniel (Ruben Blades) and Nick are steadfast in their beliefs: Nick says its best to kill the deceased Mrs. Tran, “she’s not sick, she’s dead.” Madison, trying to follow Daniel’s lead, looks to mercifully end her neighbor’s suffering but is stopped by Travis.
It’s a constant battle in the series that’s been weird for the audience. While we know there is no hope for a cure, these characters don’t and it forces them to ask themselves when is it time to change course? When is it time to realize it is now not about the greater good, but instead their own survival?
The introduction of the National Guard at the end of episode 3 happens quickly and you can see why it would be jarring to the characters. But what happens in episode 4 creates a new level of intensity.
All of sudden, the troops are pulling the sick and infirm from their homes, and while they say it is in the name of their own well-being, it’s not. We see this military vs. family dynamic unfolding and it pushes Madison further and further towards the brink when Nick is taken with the sick.
Liza knows Nick being pulled into this is partly her fault. While it is Travis who is now part of Madison’s family, Liza has become an extension of that family and she feels guilty. It is that guilt that drives her to volunteer to go along with the medics to help care of the sick and keep an eye on Nick.
A large part of the appeal of a series like Fear The Walking Dead is seeing a situation we are familiar with, but through the eyes of new characters. Just like in the original, however, we don’t meet all of these characters at once and that can lead to interesting reveals down the road.
Take Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) for example. We first meet Victor in episode 5 and already we can tell he’s smarter than most of the cast. Strand is a wheeler and dealer who knows how to trade in currency beyond money. He’s also a fixer, and that will carry a deeper purpose and value in this ever-changing world.
Strand’s savvy, he know the soldiers aren’t going to be here for the long haul and he needs allies. He sees Nick and realizes that this is a person who can be useful to his future plans. It’s safe to say Victor will be more of a focus on season 2 and it will be interesting to see how he interacts with the other characters.
Initially this scene seemed a little out of place when it first aired, but afterwards it began to make a lot of sense in the overall narrative. Chris and Alicia are two characters we never really saw together until this point. They are both the youngest children in their families and they’ve both been very sheltered and protected until now.
The pair are still processing what is going on and it understandably is causing a lot of internal tension. Seeing them cut loose in the abandoned house of a one-time neighbor was like them hitting the release valve.
It was also interesting how that scene ends, as Chris is wearing a suit jacket and tie and Alicia’s in a fancy dress, which is a reminder they are going to have to grow up quickly. The silent awkward look between the pair when Chris sees Alicia trying on clothes also speaks volumes and will likely come back into play down the line.
It may not be a “Soylent Green is people” type reveal, but the impact of Cobalt and the process in which the cast learns about it is a major turning point.
Until this point Travis has been very careful not to take a life no matter the circumstances (R.I.P. Kim from the doughnut store). On the other hand, you have Daniel, who has been down this road and while we don’t know the specifics, we know it wasn’t a pleasant experience for him.
Daniel’s been very vocal that when the danger comes, it will happen quickly and everyone must be prepared. It’s because of that he’s been so decisive and calculating throughout the series. Watching him torture National Guardsman Andrew (Shawn Hatosy) for info in such a cold emotionless way is a wakeup call to his daughter Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) as well as Madison and eventually Travis.
They are losing this battle and to make matters worse they are slowly losing their humanity. The entire fifth episode has been about betrayal and survival, but they also learn about Cobalt’s actual meaning; the military’s code name for its plan to abandon and possibly eliminate them.
The Parking Garage
This entire sequence may be the single most important scene we’ve seen so far. After the dizzying escape from the military facility, the characters are drained, but relieved to again all be reunited. Yet that reunion is cut short when National Guardsman Andrew (Shawn Hatosy) makes his return.
Andrew, who is only alive because of Travis’s steadfast optimism in humanity, wants payback and while Daniel, Ofelia and everyone else try to talk Andrew down, Travis remains uncharacteristically silent. That is, until Andrew decides to shoot Ofelia instead of Daniel. It was a brilliant decision by the writers for Andrew to shoot his former love interest. He feels betrayed, hurt and ticked off. In his mind, he can make Daniel feel the same pain by taking away his only child. Yet it serves another purpose.
Following his parking garage breakdown, Travis has a new perspective on their situation and a new perspective on life. The one thing he doesn’t have is the answers we as the audience have had all along. We know there’s no cure, we know when a person is infected there’s no hope and we know that’s a hard truth. After Liza reveals to Madison (and eventually Travis) she’s been infected, she knows what must happen. Conversely Travis doesn’t have a clue, but quickly learns and, as Liza says, “it will break him.”
Travis will be a completely different character in Season 2. Series-wise, this was an emotional moment that needed to happen. Next to Griselda (Patricia Reyes Spíndola), whose death happened away from the main cast, this is the first time this situation is hitting home. We expected a major character to not survive the hour, but it was a well-designed death that gave us hope for the rest of the series
All of these moments have helped make Season 1 of the series a success and set the stage for Sunday’s finale and then an expanded 15 episode Season 2 in 2016. It also pumped up Walking fans for the new season of the flagship next weekend.
What do you think about the first season of Fear The Walking Dead? Are you excited for the finale? Did we miss any of your favorite moments? Hit the comments and let us know.