AMC‘s Fear The Walking Dead So Close, Yet So Far TV Show Review. Fear the Walking Dead, Season 1, Episode 2: ‘So Close, Yet So Far,’ picks up in the moments immediately following the end of last week’s episode. After Madison (Kim Dickens), Travis (Cliff Curtis) and Nick (Frank Dillane) experience the dead comming back to life first hand, they turn their efforts toward uniting each of their families and escaping Los Angeles before the epidemic gets worse.
Compared to last week’s extended 1- hour episode, So Close, Yet So Far came in at a relatively svelte 42-minutes. Even with roughly a quarter hour less screen time, So Close, Yet So Far maintains the same deliberate pace as last week’s cleverly titled pilot episode, Pilot. Similar to last week’s storytelling approach, this episode of Fear the Walking Dead keeps the apocalypse on the back-burner while the series establishes its core characters and their relationships between one another. Those who enjoyed the plot and pacing of Pilot are in for more of the same. So Close, Yet So Far provides the main cast of characters only bits and pieces of what’s in store for those unlucky enough to last through the outbreak, and then creates conflict by forcing them to interact with others that are far less tuned in to the severity of the viral threat.
Right now, the most frustrating part of the show is sitting back and watching characters slowly come to terms with the same rules of the zombie apocalypse that we learned alongside Rick Grimes 5 seasons ago on The Walking Dead. Viewers have wait to patiently as the characters on the show get on the same page as the audience. At times this phenomenon came across to faithful viewers as frustrating communication barriers. By the end of the first episode, Madison and Travis had already been face to face with the undead, yet they were not very good at articulating that point to the people they came into contact with. After the show’s characters witness dead corpses reanimating and attacking the living, it becomes hard to swallow that they don’t run to the first person that will look them in the eye, drape them up by the collar and scream, “Holy $#!T man! The dead have risen. It’s the end of days I tell you, the end of days!”
The announcement of Fear the Walking Dead left The Walking Dead viewer’s with many questions about the spin off show. Two questions that jumped out were would the focus of the show remain in Los Angeles and how much time would it take the outbreak to spread? The Walking Dead is essentially about a band of nomads that don’t stay in any one place too long. One of the first lessons that the inhabitants of The Walking Dead’s world passed on to Rick was, don’t go into the city. One of the major questions going forward is will Fear the Walking Dead be able to continue spinning compelling stories without resorting to increasingly difficult to believe reasons for the cast to not escape the city? Travis, Madison and their families can only stay in the city for so long before the series becomes a twisted version of Gilligan’s Island.
If this series acts as a prequel, how long could the show realistically go on before breaking out the full on zombie apocalypse? Well as the eerily well informed, Tobias (Lincoln A. Castellanos) stated to Madison, “When civilization ends, it ends fast.” While Pilot hinted that the viral breakout may slowly unravel over the entire 6-episode first season run, by the end of So Close, Yet So Far, the episode gave viewer’s ample reason to believe that a fresh wave of zombies will be lumbering through the streets of Los Angeles before the morning sun comes up. Leading up to nightfall, the downtown core, the local high-school and even the home directly across the street from the Clarks were all overrun with zombies — yes we only saw one zombie inside the high school and on the neighbour’s lawn, but let a zombie walk through the halls of your cafeteria or across your porch and then you tell me that the place isn’t over run.
So Close, Yet So Far hinted at delving into the type of intriguing subject matter that only a show about the implosion of society could explore. It was chilling to see a naive mother prepare for something as ultimately frivolous as her child’s birthday party while at the same time her neighbour packed his car with supplies to escape the city. I would like the show to explore peoples denial in the face of inevitable mayhem, or why people hold on to the belief that societal institutions will inevitably come to the rescue. With the level of all out carnage hitting the sunny streets of L.A. there’s no telling how much of a window the series will be provided to tell unsettling tales about civilization’s gears grinding to a halt. Either way, the series has managed to tell end of the world stories that feel distinctly different from its sister show. Only two episodes into Fear the Walking Dead’s run, the series has successfully established itself as a companion show to The Walking Dead and not just more of the same.
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