Fear the Walking Dead Recap: Episode 6, “The Good Man”

"The only way to survive a mad world is to embrace the madness."
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Catch up on previous episodes of Fear the Walking Dead!

Disclaimer: Spoilers ahead! Read at your own risk if you aren’t caught up on Fear the Walking Dead!

Alright friends, the first season of Fear the Walking Dead is in the books, and it was a pretty intense finale. If you’ve been reading the recaps I’ve posted this season, you’ll know I’ve not been thoroughly impressed with the show, largely because I found the dramatic irony it relied so heavily on frustrating at best, and unbelievable and stupid at worst.

In the Talking Dead special, Chris Hardwick called out how hard fans have been on the survivors, mentioning that he hoped people wouldn’t immediately decide to shoot someone in the head if they looked sick in public, which is a fair point. Of course, the actor who plays Travis, Cliff Curtis, countered by reminding Chris of the walker who was discovered eating a dog, summing up my issue with the show pretty perfectly: No, you definitely wouldn’t shoot a stranger who looked sick in public, but if you saw a clearly sick individual doing something horrific like eating a dog, you wouldn’t try to approach him and reason with him, right? If they tried to bite you or attack you, you’d protect yourself, wouldn’t you?

But that was the tough job Fear the Walking Dead had to try to tackle. How do you tell the beginning of a story to an audience who not only knows what’s really happening in the world, but they also know how to eliminate the walkers, that any quarantine efforts do not work, and how widespread the infection is. Essentially, how do you keep people interested in the beginning of a story when they already know the ending? For most of the season, I felt like Fear the Walking Dead faltered. There were good moments, but largely, it didn’t get me as excited as a solid episode of The Walking Dead, mainly because I know how it ends. I know where this storyline is headed, and watching episode after episode where survivors have to figure out that walkers are bad news was tough to get excited about.

The good news though? It looks like all of that awkward, slow-moving work of laying the foundation for a global epidemic is finally over. The finale focused largely on getting our group of survivors out of the neighborhood. After learning the truth behind cobalt, Madison and Travis decided to reinvigorate their plan to escape to ~the desert~. The basic plan being to get Nick, Liza, and Griselda (RIP, bby) from the hospital and leave their old lives in the dust. Daniel leads an entire freaking horde to the soldiers guarding the restricted zone, offering an efficient if not highly volatile diversion while they spring the rest of their people from the hospital. After a ton of heart-pounding, zombie-fighting action (seriously, they packed an entire season’s worth of zombie scares into this one episode), an abandoned rescue attempt by the government (resulting in Dr. Exeter’s implied suicide), and a super creepy fight between Chris, Alicia, and three soldiers over the family SUV,  the group is reunited—plus my new fave, Strand.

Of course, just as they’re about to peace out, Andy, the soldier who was sort of dating Ofelia and was Daniel’s prisoner last week, springs out of the shadows wielding a gun. Though Daniel’s plan had been to keep Andy as a prisoner (and ultimately kill him), Travis—in his infinite empathy and faith in his fellow man—decided to ask Andy where his family was being kept, trust him, and then let Andy go. Obviously, this did not work out as Travis had thought, because when Andy sees Daniel again, he waves the gun in Daniel’s face a bit, and ultimately ends up shooting Ofelia in the arm. Travis has seen a lot in these last few weeks, and Andy’s betrayal sort of breaks something in him. Travis snaps, jumps on Andy, and proceeds to beat the snot out of him. Ultimately, Madison pulls Travis off of him, and they escape.

Mercifully, Strand nixes Madison and Travis’ sketchy “desert” survival plans and offers instead his home on the sea—complete with supplies—as a better alternative. Strand’s seaside home, aside from being stunningly beautiful, is also powered by a backup generator and filled with supplies. Of course, Strand lets Nick know that they won’t be staying long. Instead, they’ll be heading out to his yacht to ride out the apocalypse in style on the sea (we can let Future Survivors worry about the hell it will be should one of them become sick or even worse, get bitten).

It all seems pretty rad, and just as you start wondering if walkers in the Walking Dead/Fear the Walking Dead universe can swim and/or survive in water—just as you’re wondering how much happier life will be on a merry boat on the sea, riding out the rest of your days sunbathing on a yacht and deep-sea fishing—the writers decided to remind you that this is the Walking Dead universe, and we can’t have nice things here. [MAJOR SPOILER AHEAD—If you’ve been reading because you ain’t afraid of no spoilers, TURN BACK NOW.]

Liza starts off toward the beach, Madison follows her, and Travis follows a bit behind Madison. When the two women reach the beach, Liza reveals that she had been scratched by a walker. Though Madison tries to convince Liza that she’ll be okay—after all, they did swipe a TON of medicine from the hospital before they escaped—Liza tells Madison that she’s seen enough infected individuals to know she’s a goner, medicine or not. Of course, Liza isn’t sure she can take her own life, so she asks Madison to do it and explicitly asks that Madison not ask Travis to do it, because it will break him.

So obviously, Travis is the one to shoot Liza. Because, as I mentioned previously, this is the Walking Dead-verse, and we can’t have any nice things here.

The moment prior to shooting her and Travis’ reaction after (mercifully, they didn’t show Travis shooting Liza) was gut-wrenching to watch. I haven’t been shy in stating that I haven’t been able to really care deeply about these characters, but this was one of the first episodes where I started to believe a character’s actions. Namely, this was the first time I was able to get behind Travis. I understood why Ofelia getting shot was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, and of course I understood his heartbreak when he shot Liza. For the first time, I started to see actual characters that I understood. Nick seemed more like an interesting character rather than a Johnny Depp look alike and stereotypical junkie. Chris and Alicia were a bit interesting. Daniel and Ofelia’s relationship in light of Daniel’s past is evolving in an interesting fashion. Also, true to Walking Dead form, I really started to find myself investing in Liza this episode, so of course they killed her.

Because the finale put this “slow burn” of the early days of infection behind us, the characters’ action started to make more sense. They’ve become more survival-minded rather than awkward walker n00bs. The addition of Strand will force them to make more tough choices and weigh morality and survival. Nick putting the tough days of detox behind him (or I assume he’s mostly detoxed by now; they haven’t made that clear), Travis finally understanding the severity of this new world, and Madison no longer trying to keep Alicia in the dark about the infection means that the most frustrating bits of the series are probably gone.

Am I hooked on Fear the Walking Dead? Not really, but the finale reminded me of why I was so excited about this show in the first place, and it gave me loads of hope for season two. Plus, there was a TON of fun walker action in this episode, so if nothing else, it was an incredibly exciting episode and why I love zombie stories so much. While I’m not going to be on the edge of my seat, anxiously awaiting the start of season 2, I’ll tune in and be excited to see where the survivors are since I last saw them. This isn’t a hard TV addiction like The Walking Dead, but the finale got me excited about the show and the possibilities in future seasons—and a potential future hard TV addiction, let’s be honest.

What did you think of the season finale, and the first season in general? Did the finale grab you, or was it a dud for you? Will you be watching next season, or are you done? Let me know your thoughts on the show in the comments!

(image via AMC)

Kendall is an editor and a writer. She has a geek and pop culture blog, she is a seasoned Netflix binger, a hoarder of candles, still an unabashed Hanson fan, and she takes ballet twice a week to stave off some of her clumsiness. You can find her on TwitterTumblrFacebookPinterestInstagram, and Google+ (yes, she is actually on Google+).

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Image of Kendall Ashley
Kendall Ashley
Kendall is a geek, gamer, bookworm, Netflix binger, and an awkward ballerina who still has a secret dream of becoming an ass-kicking superhero in the movies. If it has a zombie in it, she's probably interested.