Even before any external crisis, such as the zombie apocalypse, became apparent, the central family in Fear the Walking Dead was being pulled in many different directions.
Travis tells his son Chris that “We’re all building a family, OK, all of us,” but Chris isn’t interested in this new project. He’s uwilling to stay with his father, even though it is Travis’ weekend. He’s not interested in being in a family with Madison or her children, Nick and Alicia. These two aren’t all that family oriented either. Nick sleeps in the drug den and Alicia is pursuing a romantic relationship with Matt and neither is making Travis feel very welcome. The family is broken, even when they are together.
In this episode, as the undead begin to make their presence felt, the family already divided emotionally, fragments physically. Travis leaves the family to go find Chris in the city. Madison takes off to the school to find “medicine” for Nick. Alicia tries to abandon Nick, despite her promises to stay, in order to be with Matt. At the end of the episode the family has coalesced into two locations. Travis is with Chris and his ex-wife, Lizi, in the city, and Madison waits with her two children, Nick and Alicia in the suburbs.
Human beings need to be in social groupings; we are made that way, but modern life separates us from each other. We usually live in single family dwellings and spend a lot of time in technological isolation–where we used to go out with friends, we now chat and text. Zombies are analogous to modern human beings in our isolation from each other–we are attracted to them because they embody our fear of separation from others.
It seems as if Fear the Walking Dead will explore the forces that bring us together and those that force us apart.
If you want to resist the forces of fragmentation, try a few of these to escape becoming too insular:
- newspaper reading;
- TV news watching;
- attending political meetings;
- petition signing;
- running for public office;
- attending public meetings;
- serving as an officer or committee member in any local clubs or organizations;
- writing letters to the editor;
- participating in local meetings of national organizations;
- attending religious services;
- socializing informally with friends,
- relatives or neighbors;
- attending club meetings;
- joining unions;
- entertaining friends at home;
- participating in picnics;
- eating the evening meal with the whole family;
- going out to bars, nightclubs, discos or taverns;
- playing cards;
- sending greeting cards;
- attending parties;
- playing sports;
- donating money as a percentage of income;
- working on community projects;
- giving blood.