TV Show Review

TV Review: FEAR THE WALKING DEAD: Season 2, Episode 8: Grotesque [AMC]

Frank Dillane Fear the Walking Dead Grotesque

AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead Grotesque TV Show Review. Fear the Walking Dead, Season 2, Episode 8: ‘Grotesque,’ took the momentum from the mid-season finale, handed it off to Nick (Frank Dillane)… and Nick sat on the ball. With only pre-Z flashbacks, for relatively pointless context, the entire episode was spent on Nick doubling down on his defection to Celia’s Walker World view.

Given the level of true-believer crazy, hardwired into the residents of the Villa, I guess it made sense that it would be the one place Nick hadn’t worn out his welcome at, after the fhit hit the san. Well, the Dead-Heads were scattering, anyway, now that the stage had burned down; but there was one more tender Stockholm moment, between Nick & Sofia (Diana Lein), before they each set out into harm’s way, by different course headings. So with a fresh coat of not-so-fresh ‘paint’ (which didn’t seem to last), Nick set off on the show’s next apocalypse genre tip-o-the-hat: The Road.

Quick aside: at the risk of sounding like a dick (don’t all pitch in at once), Zombieland rules do kinda leave Sofia’s kid with low prospects. The upside is that if he makes it to adulthood, it’d be an orphan-runt-grows-up-to-be-Conan moment.

Now, Nick hasn’t given me any reason to think he’s ever read/ seen The Road – and there’s my long-standing gripe about characters being clueless, about the genres their predicaments align with – but he has demonstrated a fearlessness that leans a bit towards the foolish side (to be generous – and I appreciated that someone said as much, to his face). This was my rationalizing his staying on roads – and out in the open, in general – even after Sofia warned him about the paths he’d be crossing, and then having crossed them. The outcome to the squatter scene, however, was a frustrating reminder of just how unprepared Nick remained, for Walker World, and the notion that so many FTWD characters still didn’t deserve to have made it this far.

This time around, I’m throwing a shady eye at the writing. Even dogs gone Dingo have more sense than the script suggested they do; so, yeah, we get it. Dog-eat-dog kinda world, and desperation excuses everything – thanks for laying it on so thick; but stupid, for the sake of plot, is still stupid.

Kind of a shame, too. The gas-guzzling gunmen were meant to provide us with some satisfaction, when their time came; but between the convenient lapses in the Pistolero’s proficiency, and a baffling inability to avoid a slow moving meat-lover’s mob, there was too much head shaking to appreciate his moment with Walking Alive Nick.

‘Grotesque’ went a long way to prove that, for some, it’s better to be lucky, than good. Settling for the three gunmen & a feral mom, as the embodiments of Sophia’s warning, the episode left Nick in better hands (‘cause there had to be). So FTWD has, in the span of a single episode, traded in one safe haven for another (oh, look – another Hilltop commune). So, not really The Road at all (I understand it’s only an hour of filler to resolve – he still got off easy). Maybe the rest of the cast will have worse luck (which, of course, would be better for us), when the season actually starts up again – because a Nick filler is no way to premier (mid-season, or otherwise).

If the Showrunners insist on shoving Nick down our throats, they should at least make him more than just a lucky loser. It’s bad enough that the episode went nowhere (plot-wise), after a literal barn burner of a mid-season end; but the flashback element didn’t accomplish much else – other than showing us more of what he’s been leaving behind him, while running into one predicament-to-be-saved-from, after another. The bittersweet irony, to seeing his girlfriend on the right side of his addiction issues, wasn’t enough to offset thoughts that he has yet to earn the kind of positive reinforcement he’s been getting (and now there may be a new strong female for him to lean on. Bleh).

After pirates, Dead-Heads, and a possible cliffhanger (regarding the fate of a more popular character), ‘Grotesque’ was a let down in far too many ways. Worse, it was a double-down on Nick in too many ways. As relatively light as his ordeal was, there’s usually a lesson learned by the far end. I don’t think Nick learned anything other than him having job security, no matter what he does.

At this point, all I can do is hope this to be a new low-point, before the bounce, and that there will be something down the road to mitigate the experience. I don’t care if he stumbled onto the season/ series last stand station, or if I should start a countdown to commune doomsday clock – I, and anyone left watching, after this, deserve something to show for this episode.

Hell, people, at least do it for the franchise.

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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