Fear the Walking Dead, Ep. 4: Martial Law and Mass Extermination

Fear the Walking Dead, Ep. 4: Martial Law and Mass Extermination

Episode 4 of Fear the Walking Dead begins nine days into the beginning of the end, and Martial Law highlights humanity’s weaknesses. Sure, people are restless- they have no electricity, they survive on rations, and they must comply with medical screenings, but many seem to be ignoring the signs imminent mass extermination.

Few characters seem concerned with the government’s intentions. Madison speculates that the government has the ability to get the phones and power going. She suspects the soldiers want to keep the people in the dark.

Christopher’s distrustful musings about Martial Law open the episode and they are quickly punctuated with a sign of life in the distance– someone seems to be using a mirror to establish contact.

Travis, Christopher’s father, dismisses the possibility of life outside of the gates; after all, the good men in green told him no one was alive outside of the safe zones. Why would they lie?

Madison is not so quick to dismiss the possibility that Lieutenant Moyers and his men are hiding the truth. She cuts through a fence and makes her way onto the abandoned, corpse littered streets. Turns out, not all of the corpses were the remains of the infected.

While she scurries for answers, armed soldiers march down the street, so she hides under a car, inches from a rotting corpse. Why would the men need to patrol or sweep the streets if the perimeter is secure?

When a disillusioned Travis climbs on to his roof, it is clear mass extermination is at hand. Travis foolishly divulged Christopher’s discovery to Moyers. The episode ends with Travis looking into the distance at the distress signal…then there is gunfire. Whoever was seeking help got more than they bargained for. Why would the troops slaughter uninfected bystanders?

Lieutenant Moyers is similar to The Walking Dead’s Governor. He patronizes people who voice their concerns and sweet talks Travis into reaching out to a noncompliant neighbor. His sarcastic arrogance is cringe worthy. While the community runs short on medical supplies and answers, he whimsically drives golf balls just outside the safe zone gates after ordering mass extermination.

The gate behind Moyers reads Rev 21:4 which states, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Did Moyers scroll this ominous allusion? Does he fancy himself a Godlike savior? It seems people would be better off fending for themselves.

Later, under the charge of Lieutenant Moyers, Dr.Exner and armed soldiers force Madison’s son, Nick, and Daniel Salazar’s wife, Griselda,  into a medical treatment facility where they are certainly going to be in grave danger. Cue the beginning of Travis’s disillusionment. It’s about time the resident optimist got in touch with reality!

Christopher’s mother (Travis’s ex-wife), Liz voluntarily joins Exner. Exner solicits her because Liz is studying to be a nurse. Does Liz join the doctor to protect Griselda, Nick, and the others she helped treat? Or does she go because she feels guilty? Did she, as Madison accused her, expose Nick’s drug abuse to the government?

Dr. Exner, like Moyers, presents herself as a person who wants to help. I’m guessing people would fair much better without her brand of assistance. Are Dr. Exner and the troops gathering the sick because they know resurrection follows everyone’s death? Do they know at this stage of the infection that everyone is already infected? Or are they culling the weak?

Fear the Walking Dead, Ep. 5 airs next Sunday at 9 PM on AMC. Will you tune in? What did you think of tonight’s episode? You can leave your predictions and insights in the comment section.We’d love to know where you think the series is heading.

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Teacher by day, pop culture consumer by night- Melissa lives for good stories and loves to share them with fellow TV, movie, graphic novel, and book enthusiasts. As Galabout Bethlehem, she blogs, too, about her local arts and culture scene for figbethlehem.com. She also blogs about pop culture's influence on everything from her world view to her relationships at undertheinfluence76.blogspot.com-- she'd love for you to join in on her journey.