TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 3 “The Dog” (USA, 2015)

If you had seen what Madison has seen over the course of Fear the Walking Dead‘s first two episodes would you gather your two kids for a good ol’ game of Monopoly before following them out into the night to find a shotgun, while leaving a barking dog in your house, with the damn back door still open? If the answer is no, then congratulations, you most likely relate to Daniel (Rubén Blades) and would more than willingly deal some buckshot to anyone who was trying to bite you after chowing down on your neighbour’s dog.

The Dog was full of frustrating – but necessarily frustrating – decisions from pretty much all characters involved as they came together at Madison’s house to ride out what they still don’t understand is the freakin’ zombie apocalypse. Granted, what we know as viewers surpasses the characters in the show, and having that knowledge can amplify the cringe-worthy moments and make it look like any ol’ teen horror flick that we’re watching unfold. However, “The Dog” did well at establishing each character and placing them into various roles in the schematic of survival horror. For example, Daniel is a potential pack-leader who will butt heads every now and then with Travis, who, while capable, is letting his perspective as a parent soften him (remind you of Rick versus Shane?); it also doesn’t help that his son, Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) still shows signs of a trope-d up angsty teen, making Alicia and Nick look good as comparisons.

The first few minutes of “The Dog” had a really effective moment on the back of a pickup truck, driving slowly through L.A with the camera staying right with Travis and co. for added effect. This accompanied by a low rumbling score was classic disaster, nailing the thick sense of dread as the city goes dark. Though, it was quite awkward having an untouched truck right in the middle of the L.A rioters just waiting for our group as they decided to get the hell out of the barbershop before they were overwhelmed by people far more dangerous than the few zombies on the streets.

Although Travis, Madison, Daniel and to a lesser extent, Nick, have shown the most potential as characters so far, it seems like Liza is starting to emerge as a distinctive personality in a group we still barely know anything about. Her reasonable, realistic approach is much more assuring than that of the others, demonstrated in her peace-offering speech to Madison, who coldly rubbed Travis back in her face, and advice on an injured, practically walker-bait Ofelia. Although the characters are still taking shape at a pace similar to everything else in the show, scenes like this are written so concisely as to tell us a lot about a character even with so little to go by. That in itself is worthy of praise.

With the wild card that is the army showing up at last minute, it seems like next week – the beginning of the seasons second half – is when the real show is going to begin. Inevitably the army isn’t going to succeed in controlling this walker outbreak and when that happens we’ll stop getting the understandable but frustrating refusal to accept reality that has held these characters back for the first three episodes. Maybe we’ll even get that stupid “we’ll go the desert and then everything will be a-ok” idea away from Madison.

I also really liked the wobbly plane reference as Nick looked up to see a commercial flight almost lost it. Those who have been paying attention to AMC related news know that the showrunners are planning a mini-show about a walker attack on a plane, with at least one survivor who will join the Fear the Walking Dead cast in season 2. This was unmistakably a big nod to that project.


Fear the Walking Dead screens every Monday at 1:30pm on FX, Foxtel.


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.