The world of The Walking Dead is splattered with some unique, ridiculous and disgusting ways of dispatching zombies, but Fear The Walking Dead may have just outdone them all. In the third episode of season 5, Fear The Walking Dead's main group are on the hunt for Al (Maggie Grace), one of their number who has mysteriously disappeared, and have split into groups to cover more ground. This week's offering focuses on the duo of John Dorie and June, two romantically involved survivors who are very much still in their sickeningly sweet honeymoon period.
John and June find themselves pursued by an unknown attacker and battered by a severe storm, and so opt to take shelter and restock in a Wild West-style theme park similar to a place John used to work as a trick shooter. Here, they discover that their pursuer in none other than The Walking Dead's turncoat Savior, Dwight. Still hunting for his wife Sherry, Dwight has chased down the couple because they were driving a vehicle he thought once belonged to his absent spouse, but after some initial misunderstandings are cleared up, the three survivors team up to escape the park and find both Al and Sherry together.
Typically, the trio's escape is a daring one, involving plenty of gore-filled walker bashing and cheek-clenching close calls, but by far the closest shave comes when an injured Dwight is pinned down by a lifeless zombie husk. There are two undead opponents vying for the right to eat Dwight's brains and John only has a single bullet left. "That's enough," John says heroically, as the audience wonder what the marksman has up his sleeve. As it turns out, the San Antonio Split is up John's sleeve, as he asks Dwight to raise his ax straight into the air and then shoots at the blade, causing the bullet to split and hit both of the remaining zombies in the head.
Without a doubt, this is one of the most absurd kills witnessed in The Walking Dead's entire history. Ever since John Dorie was first introduced, his keen marksmanship has been a key character trait, meaning this ability hasn't arrived entirely out of the blue. The San Antonio Split scene would've been infinitely more ridiculous if someone else had been pulling the trigger. However, even if the audience accepts that John can carry off the shot (and the man himself later admits he only managed it once before), there remains the issue of whether this feat actually adheres to the laws of physics.
Clearly, no one should rush outside to try for themselves, but even if John's aim was perfect, would an ax blade split a bullet? Would Dwight's weakened arm not have been thrown back by the force of the shot, deflecting the bullet into parts unknown. Would it not have been easier to shoot one zombie while June ran over to stab the other? All of these questions, and likely many more, are perhaps valid but arguably rendered moot by the impact of the scene, both in terms of visual spectacle and providing a feel good, fist-in-the-air moment to tie off another struggle-filled episode.
There is a constant debate in the world of TV and film as to whether it makes sense to criticize a show like Fear The Walking Dead, which is by its nature completely unrealistic, for apparent acts of fantasy. While some argue that once a series brings the dead back to life, minor details such as the laws of physics are fair game, others suggest that fantasy stories are still bound by their own rulebook and must otherwise retain a sense of realism in order for viewers to successfully suspend their disbelief and the San Antonio Split certainly falls foul of this advice. Still, it was a pretty cool shot.
Fear The Walking Dead season 5 continues June 23rd on AMC.