The Mid-Season premiere of ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ Ep. 208, “Grotesque,” plods into the back eight with an all Nick episode.
Last the audience saw Nick, he was walking away from his mother and sister. The mid-season premiere highlights his solo quest to reunite with his family along with flashbacks to Nick’s time in rehab and the loss of his father.
While viewers gain perspective on Nick, the first half hour of the episode lacked tension. It isn’t until Nick is accosted by wild dogs and a herd of zombies that the episode escalates. Sure the highwaymen and their grizzly tactics are off-putting, but fans of the ‘Walking Dead’ franchise may yawn through the predictable encounter.
During one of the flashbacks, Nick debuts his daddy issues. His father was one of the walking dead long before the zombie apocalypse and Nick confesses his father never taught him how to be a man.
Just as the audience is tempted to cast judgement on Nick’s dad, another flashback reveals that his father was killed in a car accident.
Nick never had the opportunity to confront his dad and likely feels guilty for harboring resentment for his father. Nick’s inability to let go of those things is toxic and likely contribute to his continued drug use.
Alone in Mexico, struggling to survive, Nick proves himself a survivor. But he also proves to be his own worst enemy as he scrambles through an abandoned pharmacy in search of drugs.
Luckily, Nick is discovered by Luciana and her merciful scouts. Nick, the young man with nine lives, finds himself in the safety of a thriving community, seemingly untouched by the horrors he faced in the desert.
In the desert, he was confronted by a small herd of zombies and a trio of gun-toting brutes. And he walked away unscathed. Is it his self-loathing or arrogance that makes him seemingly indestructible?
In any case, the premiere did little to build excitement for the next seven episodes of ‘Fear The Walking Dead,’ Season 2. There was some gore, but it seemed somehow gratuitous.
The addition of Paul Calderon (Alejandro) and Danay Garcia (Luciana) injects the series with exciting new blood, but the remainder of the season may recycle some of the tried and true ‘Walking Dead’ themes.
By the close of Nick’s existential journey, fans are left with a few questions. Are the three men who attacked him on the road from Alejandro’s community?
Will Nick evolve as a result of his quest? He managed to shirk promises of death brought to him by dehydration, the gun-wielding highwaymen, the herd of zombies, the hungry wild dogs, and again with the armed men who shot walkers to his left and right.
But will surviving the journey reinforce his belief that he “cannot die”? Even Mother Nature came to his rescue with some thirst-quenching rain.
Will his sense of invincibility be a detriment to him and everyone around him? And will he attempt to bring Madison and his sister to the new community after Madison (and his other former companions) destroyed his last refuge?
All in all, Nick is a compelling character and fans will appreciate the cerebral, character-centric exploration, but it may be ill- placed. When it comes to a season premiere, audience members may crave more oomph. And a more dynamic lens of the ‘Fear’ universe.
What did you think of tonight’s episode of ‘Fear The Walking Dead’? You can leave your questions, predictions, and insights in the comment section.