After initial resistance, because I’m generally not a fan of the zombie genre, I became one of the biggest fans of the show “The Walking Dead.” It’s not because I’ve suddenly become a zombie fan, but because the show portrays in very gritty, realistic detail how various personalities deal with an apocalyptic event. What I previously wrote about the original, I strongly echo in the AMC spinoff “Fear the Walking Dead.”
“The Walking Dead” is one of the best written shows out there. It injects gritty realism into what is an otherwise unlikely scenario about zombies stumbling around the countryside and feasting on flesh. Yes, children would die. Yes, a mother could conceivably be forced to deliver a child via Cesarian section with no anesthesia. Yes, that mother would die in the process, and her son could very well be forced to put a bullet in her head to prevent reanimation. Yes, there would be people who turn to cannibalism to survive. And yes, there could be individuals – youngsters even – who cannot comprehend the danger the dead represent when they reanimate, and without thought or malice kill their younger sister to “prove” that zombies represent no danger. And yes, there would be individuals strong enough to have to take out the threat – whether it’s a non-comprehending child murderer or an individual infected with the flu.
Even more realistic are the characters and their disparate ways of dealing with the situation.
“Fear the Walking Dead” deals with the tribulations of one family on the West Coast at the start of the outbreak. There’s the bratty, annoying, whining teenage daughter (Alicia). There’s the heroin addicted son (Nick). There’s the widowed mom (Madison) and her divorced boyfriend (Travis), who has an ex wife(Liza) and an annoying SJW caricature of a son (Chris).
They’re joined by an immigrant from El Salvador (Daniel) and his family (Griselda and Ofelia), who initially provide shelter for Travis and his ex and their son in their barber shop during LA riots where savages start destroying property due to what they claim to be a bogus police shooting. Mix the rioting savages with some already reanimated walkers, and you have chaos.
It is quite obvious that Daniel has come from some nasty shit in El Salvador. He knows and understands what needs to be done, and doesn’t hesitate to do it. While Travis tries to reason with his zombie neighbor, after seeing what should have been obvious to anyone with half a brain when he finds him chowing down on a dog, Daniel simply takes a shotgun and pulls the trigger, killing the walker. Griselda seems a very much old fashioned type of wife, who is all “Anything my husband says, I will do, because I trust him.” I don’t think it’s just the cultural subservience of women, but I think she’s definitely seen some trauma, and Daniel has been able to protect her in the past.
Madison has potential. She appears willing to do what needs to be done to protect her family. When their neighbor and close friend Susan turns and tries to eat Alicia (I really wish she had. That whining teenage angst drama got old after five minutes into the pilot episode), Madison fully intends to take out the zombie threat – this after she took out the principal of the school where she worked, her friend Arnie. You’ve got to have some intestinal fortitude to take out your friends, and more than that to tell your boyfriend’s ex wife that if you ever become a zombie, you want her to take you out and not Travis, because it would destroy him. That’s some grit right there. I think if there’s one criticism I would make of Madison is that she’s too much of a protective mom. Geeze, just be honest with your kids and tell them what is going on! It’s not like they’re too young to hear it, and maybe it will actually wake them up. Maybe Nick will find survival much more important than his drugs – and he’s already showing potential and understanding of the situation much more than the whining bitch of a boyfriend. And maybe Alicia will stop with the teenage drama queen act and actually contribute to the defense of her family. Madison is a typical mama bear, I think. She’s willing to do what it takes to survive.
Surprisingly, it’s Travis that whines that she shouldn’t. It’s Travis that refuses to neutralize the threat despite having seen it almost destroy his family. It’s Travis that whines, “You know how I feel about guns!” in protest when he finds Daniel teaching his commie kid Chris how to use a shotgun to defend himself. It’s Travis that prevents Madison from taking a hammer to Zombie Susan’s head, choosing instead to allow her to be trapped in her garden where her unsuspecting husband who returns from a business trip finds her and nearly becomes dinner until the military steps in.
Is Travis the kind of person you want on your team in the event of a zombie apocalypse? A panty-soiling coward, whose emotions prevent him from neutralizing obvious threats to his loved ones, and worse yet… whose hoplophobia is so severe, he does not see the utility of having firearms during a zombie apocalypse?
Sorry, but in any realistic world, Travis would be the first one to be come a Scooby snack for the Walkers. He’s such a pathetic hipster douche, that Daniel refuses to go with the family, because he’s so weak! How much of a clueless prog do you have to be that a guy would rather stay and defend his injured wife against zombies himself, rather than accompany you on a jaunt out of the city to avoid the chaos?
I realize that on the left coast, the realistic scenario would show all types of people – from the most clueless leftist, to the most hardened conservative – dealing with the chaos. But I also realize that in a realistic scenario, those whose political views prevent them from doing what it takes to protect themselves and their families, will be the first to be eliminated. So Travis had better man up and grow a pair, because right now, this dude is too stupid to live and will become a liability right quick. He needs to get over his intense dislike of those evil guns and learn how to use them right quick, if he wants to survive in this new reality. And he’d better quickly get it through his thick skull that there’s no reasoning with zombies.