I’ve already commented on the opening scene of Fear the Walking Dead, but the whole of the pilot is worth some discussion.
The pilot follows a family living in L.A. In every description of Fear that I came across, the word dysfunctional was used to characterise the family at the center of this zombie narrative. I suppose it is dysfunctional, but it does have a few things going for it. Travis and Madison, whose relationship the family revolves around–the mom and dad, if you will–are at the hospital dealing with the results of their son, Nick’s, drug problem.
Madison says to Travis, “You didn’t sign up for this.”
Travis answers, “Yes I did. I signed up for exactly this.”
This response gets at an important truth about marriage that we seem to be losing–it is not based on feelings or circumstances, but on s commitment regardless of the momentary feelings or circumstances. Now, I’m not sure why Travis is no longer with the parent of his son, but he’s got the right idea now. And I am guessing his commitment will be tested when circumstances get even more extreme. Relationships aren’t easy when armies of zombies are not trying to eat your dysfunctional family; when they are . . .
I love it that Travis is an English teacher. I’m an English teacher! As he discussed Jack London’s To Build a Fire in his senior English class, he drew out the theme “Nature Always Wins.” This association of the walking dead with nature is an interesting one, and I look forward to the exploration of this idea in the series.
While we are on the literary references–Nick’s book, the one Madison found in the drug den, was entitled Winesburg, Ohio. This is a collection of short stories explores the lives of the residents of the small town of Winesburg, Ohio through the eyes of young George Willard. This quaint little town is stifling for Willard who seeks to escape the isolation of the town. How this relates to Nick and LA, I do not know, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Nick is somehow more successful in the new world than he was in the old. It seems clear that his sister, Alicia, is well adapted to the “normal” world, and Nick is not. Given that Nick was the savior at the end of the episode, it seems as if these roles will be reversed.