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[TV Review] “Fear the Walking Dead” S01E03 (2015): The Dog

The first season is officially half way over. Perhaps I should say the only season is halfway over, but that  would  be wishful thinking. I tried to like this show, really I did. I even thought that episode two stepped it up a bit; however, any progress made in episode two digressed majorly in episode 3 aptly titled “The Dog.” This episode certainly “dogged it” for me, as I continued  to fight the incessant urge to go on my phone to check on my fantasy football teams and sports updates. I know some of you The Walking Dead  faithful fans may be upset with my opinion. That’s OK. I’m The “Thug” and I have broad shoulders, but based on the numbers, I am guessing I have a lot of people who agree with me. Viewership has been steadily dropping, after the pilot  viewership dropped 19%. After the last episode, it has dropped another 12%. Maybe people forgot because it was two weeks since the last episode or maybe people want to forget about this show all together.

Episode three picks up where two left off inside angry Daniel’s (Reuben Blades) barbershop where he, his wife Griselda (Patricia Reyes Spindola) and daughter Ofelia (Mercedes Masohn) have taken in Travis, Liza and Chris from the riot ridden streets. There is quite a bit of tension between Travis and Daniel and I’m not quite sure why. Perhaps I missed something or maybe it has not been revealed, but Daniel is definitely not a fan of Travis. As Chris is watching the action unfold through the holes in the roll-down store-front barricade, he is frightened by a familiar set of yellowish red eyes. Meanwhile, back at the Clark homestead, Nick is crushing up pills to help with his withdrawal and Madison asks why he doesn’t just swallow them. It’s obviously so the medication absorbs into the bloodstream faster as Nick implies “I’m the expert.” I don’t know if it’s just me but this kid really irks me – come to think of it his little sister, Alisha, really annoys me too.

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The show now goes back to Daniel’s shop as the looters are breaking in to the building next door and Daniel is becoming worried. Travis actually has a funny line here when he quips “what are they going to steal, the combs?” Daniel looks intently at Travis and states there is more to steal than the combs, I kind of want to see these two brawl. Meanwhile, Chris decides to feel the wall, possibly because he’s clairvoyant. The paneling is getting bubbling hot due to a fire set by the looters next door. Finally, it’s time to make their way out to the mob filled streets. Out the door they go as looters infiltrate the shop immediately. We get to see a cop attack another officer and begin to gnaw on him and we get a gratuitous shot of the streets and rioting, fade to opening credits. I am quite underwhelmed here with my phone begging to be picked up.

Back at the Clark’s, it’s Monopoly time! Forget that moments ago (during the end of episode two) they just witnessed the neighbor attack the people across the street. There’s nothing Boardwalk and Park Place can’t fix – that is unless you go “Directly to Jail” passing “Go” without collecting $200. At this time, Travis and his group are making their way through a construction zone on the streets when a structure topples onto Griselda, crushing her foot.  They pull her out and make their way to Travis’s truck which happens to be one of the only vehicles not set on fire. Convenience is a fantastic thing. Back at the intense Monopoly game, there is a sound outside. Of course, they ignore and roll the dice (literally and figuratively). Travis and crew arrive at the hospital which is blocked off by police barricades as the cops are shooting at “patients” who refuse to stop moving despite multiple bullet holes. As Travis drives on past the hospital,  we get a nice shot of the city as the power begins to go out all over. Guess where else the lights go out: that’s right, back at the Clark residence.

Nick, in his ever cheery persona, tells Madison and Alisha they know what’s out there and even brightens the mood further by saying he thinks Travis left with his Liza and Chris and isn’t coming home. Did I mention how much this kid angers me? The sound comes again from outside and now’s the time to check if it is Mr. Dawson. Nope, we open the curtain while attempting a jump scare and it’s “The Dog.” They let him in and he has some blood on his paw that doesn’t look like his. Now, we have trained doctors in the house — such a well-rounded, talented family. There is another sound now: “uh oh,” this time it is Mr. Dawson. The Clark’s decide to flee the house and go to the neighbors for a gun. As they make their way through the yard, they get to see Mr. Dawson help himself to dinner aka “The Dog.” They arrive at the neighbors and, of course, Nick knows where the key is to get in and where the gun and shells are. I told you this is a talented family!

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About this time Travis and his crew pull into the driveway as the armed Clark clan are making their way back to the house to warn them about Mr. Dawson. Travis walks in and tries to tell Mr. Dawson he is sick and he will get help as Mr. Dawson is trying to bite at him. Daniels is having none of it! First, he shoots a part of his face off, then he proceeds to blow the top of his head off in the best scene of the night. Alisha is behind Madison and Nick because she dropped some shotgun shells back in the neighbor’s kitchen. She picks them up and sees a shadowed figure down the hallway. Alisha, frightened, darts after her family but  gets caught by her zombie-neighbor, Susan, who is looking for a meal! Chris jumps to help Alisha, attempting to pull her to safety. Startled, she decides to bloody his nose with an well placed elbow. Inside, everyone continues  staring at the bloodied corpse while  Alisha begins to  panic, saying “Matt is not like this, remember he got sick  two weeks ago.” You can tell her and Nick are related – they’re both annoying and equally  bad at acting.

Travis, helping Chris with his nose, is still in denial as he tells Chris, “these people are just sick.” As Liza is tending to Griselda’s mangled foot, an argument begins with  Madison begging to leave while  Travis wants to stay the night and leave in the morning, Travis wins, but has to dispose of Peter. Daniel suggests to burn so the infection cannot spread, but Travis who, of course knows better,  insists on just burying him. Meanwhile, Liza, who seems to be getting it, is afraid that the infection will spread to Griselda because of the  open wound on her leg combined with the lack of proper pharmaceuticals.

Alycia Debnam Carey as Alicia, Kim Dickens as Madison - Fear The Walking Dead _ Season 1, Episode 3 - Photo Credit: Justina Mintz/AMC
Alycia Debnam Carey as Alicia, Kim Dickens as Madison – Fear The Walking Dead _ Season 1, Episode 3 – Photo Credit: Justina Mintz/AMC

There are some forgettable exchanges over the next few moments before bed time; but, when everyone is awake the next morning and loading up the vehicles, Travis sees Daniel teaching Chris about guns. Tender Travis is not happy! Madison is out in the yard literally about to put the hammer down on Susan; but, of course, Travis stops her. What a sweet guy. Nick is waiting in a car and pouts because Madison gave some of his “meds” to Griselda for her pain.

Everyone except Daniel and his family are rolling out. He refuses to go with them despite Ofelia’s pleading. As Travis and his two families  are leaving, they notice Patrick – their zombie neighbor’s husband – driving up to their home. They stop, get out to try and warn him. He gets to the back yard where the hungry, growling  Susan lumbers toward him. Confused and unaware of the danger,  he thinks it’s for a sweet embrace. “BOOM”  Susan gets a sudden hole to the head courtesy of the armed forces.

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The armed forces are all over the city, questioning families as to who is with them and if there are any symptoms. They take Patrick because he is  covered by infected blood. During the questioning of Madison and Travis, an  officer notices the Peter-mound in the backyard and asks what it is. Madison replies that they just lost “The Dog.” Meanwhile, Nick is trolling neighbors houses looking for a fix. Optimistic to a fault, Travis states “the cavalry is here” suggesting things will get better while  we flash to Daniel, for the end of the episode, where he says – while looking out the window – “it’s already too late.” Very fitting for this show!

Once again, Adam Davidson did a fine job of directing with some great shots, but the story is just dragging and some of the acting is, well, offensive. The episode was written by Jack LoGiudice whose credits include Sons of Anarchy and The Walking Dead. This, however, is a swing and a miss, the story continues to drag. In the end, I fought the urge to play on my phone, do dishes, push-ups or anything to keep me from the boredom simply because I had to be fair in writing this review. I suffered and my review of this episode will reflect that suffering. Although it has been picked up for another season (allegedly, but we’ll see if ratings continue to plummet), I agree with  Daniel: it is indeed already too late for Fear The Walking Dead. I  can’t wait until October 11th, 9:00 PM on AMC. Can anyone guess why?

Fear the Walking Dead — S01E03 (2015) “The Dog” 1.5 out of 5 stars (1.5 / 5) on the Thug Meter.

 

JJ Fitt
Joe lives in the coal region of Northeastern PA with his beautiful wife Mary and their French Bulldogs Watson and Xander. He's a huge fan of all things horror and can't explain why especially since he was afraid of everything as a kid. He co-hosts the Indie Infestation podcast which gives a platform for those involved in the indie horror scene to get their name and projects out there. When he's not working he is usually watching the latest horror movie or show, at the gym with his wife or taking in a sporting event, Eagles! His all time favorite horror movie is the original Halloween, still effective to this day. Hit him up on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or drop an email, let him know what's awesome.
JJ Fitt
Joe lives in the coal region of Northeastern PA with his beautiful wife Mary and their French Bulldogs Watson and Xander. He's a huge fan of all things horror and can't explain why especially since he was afraid of everything as a kid. He co-hosts the Indie Infestation podcast which gives a platform for those involved in the indie horror scene to get their name and projects out there. When he's not working he is usually watching the latest horror movie or show, at the gym with his wife or taking in a sporting event, Eagles! His all time favorite horror movie is the original Halloween, still effective to this day. Hit him up on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or drop an email, let him know what's awesome.