Fear the Walking Dead has been lulled into a false sense of security.
In the closing moments of “The Dog,” Travis and Madison look upon “the cavalry” — the U.S. National Guard, moving in and checking houses like Moses with lamb’s blood during the plague. This can’t last, because The Walking Dead has to happen. The downtown riots that started this episode will be a drizzle compared to the coming storm that looms over Fear the Walking Dead.
The families are all together, so it’s time to take stock: Travis, ex-wife Liza, their son Chris, Travis’ girlfriend Madison, and her children Alycia and Nick. All six are now with the Salazars — Daniel, Griselda, daughter Ofelia — people who sought the American dream only to see it crushed by looters and rioters.
Salazar patriarch Daniel, informed by his refugee past, distrusts anyone who isn’t family. He butts heads with Travis and refuses to owe anyone a favor. His family-only preoccupation resonates with Fear’s larger ethos that the apocalypse can rage all it wants so long as family is nearby. When the series inevitably comes to its conclusion, Daniel will likely accept Travis and these strangers as one of his own. But if Fear the Walking Dead, as I’ve previously argued, is about family tearing apart, then what place does Daniel’s arc have?
Underneath the tension-laced terrors of this week’s episode (of which there are quite a few, even for a horror series) is a sense of movement borne out of urgency. Travis, his family, and the Salazars move out of the riot, Madison and hers want to move out, period. Regrouping at the Clark home, which isn’t entirely safe from danger, they’re forced to stay put as the National Guard moves in.
Fear the Walking Dead’s identity against big brother The Walking Dead is a show about about restless settlement. With the army in town to reorganize and the dramatic irony that it’s all going to crumble down anyway, Fear the Walking Dead is on a collision course that’s going to leave a trail of blood in its path. And it won’t be walkers.