Fear the Walking Dead's latest episode was a tribute to George A. Romero's iconic Dawn of the Dead movie - on a macro level - but despite the good intentions of the writers and producers, the story felt like a shadow of what made Romero's film special, and it was a total waste in the end. Continuing their quest to help anyone and everyone, Morgan, Grace, and Dwight make a pit stop at a local mall to stock up on supplies and kill the person who radioed them, because he was bitten.
Coming on the heels of last week's documentary-style episode (which focused almost equally on every main character in the series), Fear the Walking Dead's "210 Words Per Minute" forgets about everyone that came before and follows the two character transplants from The Walking Dead - Morgan and Dwight - as well as the group's newest member, Grace. On the surface, "210 Words Per Minute" contained a decent storyline, one that delved into Grace's backstory and Morgan's future, but it was done at the wrong time and in the wrong way.
Just like with superhero blockbusters and horror films, zombie movies and TV shows routinely try to pay tribute to the properties that got them here, and in this case, that's 1978's Dawn of the Dead. But instead of actually recreating the film on a small scale, in any way whatsoever, the only thing that "210 Words Per Minute" has in common with the iconic movie is that it takes place inside a mall. Thematically, even Grace's recklessness doesn't align with even the most daring characters in the film.
It's certainly possible that the producers weren't entirely aware of the tribute they were doing with this episode, or that the mall was supposed to be the only element used in order to resemble Dawn of the Dead. But regardless of what the original idea was, it wasn't properly followed through. Completely ignoring the series' original characters to unnecessarily develop the crossover people - not to mention spend time on the difference between jelly beans and "candy beansies" - is arduous for longtime fans who were hoping to find something new in Fear the Walking Dead, not retread the arguably tougher aspects of AMC's flagship series.
Ultimately, Fear the Walking Dead should've done its Dawn of the Dead tribute way back in season 1 - when it actually would've made sense, with a fully-stocked mall in pristine condition and a generator that still works - not this late in season 5. But then again, "210 Words Per Minute" fits right into Fear the Walking Dead's recent theme of pure absurdity. Except now, the series managed to loop in Dawn of the Dead.