Well, it was a bit of an uneven maiden voyage for this spinoff series. I thought things started off well, with a great sense of world and character building as this very serious epidemic started, but too soon it all fell apart. And not only did the story go south halfway through the season, but there was little to glean from the characters as well, leaving one to wonder “Why am I still tuning in?”
I think the downfall began with the fourth episode, after a nine-day time jump. Once the military moved in, and the crisis settled down, it felt as though the writers didn’t really know what to do next. Too much of that episode focused on Chris seeing a light in the danger zone, which he interpreted as someone in trouble, even causing Madison to compromise the security fence around the safe zone to look into things herself. The episode even closes with naysayer Travis seeing the light, then not another word about it for the rest of the season. So the episodes started to become random filler to make what little plot they had stretch to a full hour (or more). That plan dragged on for two episodes and then they suddenly realized they had to wrap things up quickly. Too quickly, unfortunately, which led to a lot of writing themselves into corners then skipping explanatory scenes to achieve impossible plot points during the finale. If I felt so inclined, I’d do a compare and contrast to see if the show shares any writers with its parent show, The Walking Dead, which has not suffered such lazy writing, in my opinion, but ironically, I’m too lazy to put forth the effort.
But I guess it wasn’t all terrible, so I did my best to cobble together the highlights below, following the same formula as my TWD season wrap-ups.
Favorite Episode: Pilot
Even though the finale had the most action, I still say it had too many plot contrivances to claim this spot, so I’m going with the pilot. Like I’ve stated, I enjoy seeing the beginning of an outbreak, how everyone just assumes people are out sick with something simple like the flu. At first it was nice taking the time to get to know the characters and their difficult family dynamic before they had to run for their lives, plus their reactions once they do encounter a Walker. It may not have been a great episode, but it’s definitely better than what followed.
Favorite Character: Strand
Since the main characters were getting dumber or more boring as the episodes dragged on, Strand came in during the penultimate episode with no explanation or backstory and stole the show. I hope I don’t lose interest in him next season when, or if, more is revealed. Of course I have no idea why he would think someone like Nick would be an asset when escaping a military compound during a zombie apocalypse. Oh right, convenience, like the rest of plot and dialogue in the back half of the season. However, I love how he just kept totally cool through everything, even with a surge of Walkers closing in on him at a dead end. He’s a pretty cool dude, suit and all.
Saddest Death: Liza Ortiz
Only by default, really. The only other death to choose from would be Griselda, and she was barely a character. I had nothing against Travis’s ex-wife, but she was expendable. And it’s very sad they wrote her that way, because they could have had a great dynamic with Liza and Madison facing off over a number of things in the future. Even worse, I’m not terribly interested in what her death means for the other survivors.
Most Memorable Walker: Susan Tran
We didn’t meet Susan before she turned, so she counts as a full on Walker, just one with a real name. I find Susan interesting because of what she meant to the main characters. By the time Susan was snarling through their shared backyard privacy fence, everyone had encountered a Walker, but hadn’t had time to really process what they were. It was just killing and running. Watching Susan really showed Madison that there was no hope for those who turn, which has to be the hardest thing to accept in such a world.