Fear The Walking Dead S02E03: We All Fall Down

We begin tonight’s episode with a peek of the Geary children playing at the edge of the family's safe haven, preparing a bouquet of sorts for our undead friends, as children are wont to do. We are presented with a classic fake out as the shambling Walkers are stopped by a sturdy fence. Their bodies pressing hopelessly against it in search of a meal, the children run in fear not of the dead but of “getting in trouble”.

Flash back to the boat and my worry that, even during the apocalypse, parents will still yell at you while you’re trying to bathe is confirmed, as Madison scolds Nick for his ocean dive. With Nick claiming he heard a cry for help and Madison arguing you have to help people, you actually see this moment works to tell us again that the family still wants to help others whenever possible, we’ll see how Strand feels about that. Nick’s ocean swim did give us one good thing: the sunken boats' logs, which warns our survivors that San Diego has already fallen; after a bit of arguing Travis convinces Strand that the best option is to change course and lay low at the nearby wildlife refuge and its “abandoned” ranger station.

They soon find that the station is anything but abandoned, they are drawn to the flickering lights of a house and decide to leave Strand and the Salazar’s on the boat while the family makes their way closer where they meet the Geary family. With the Geary’s is where we finally start to see what this episode is reaching for; the Geary Matriarch and Patriarch stand for two arguably opposing sides of surviving the apocalypse, Melissa is fearful of what’s to come but also has hope (for her children) to escape to something better that may or may not exist outside their sight. George on the other hand represents a more content view: he intends to hold his ground come hell or high water and would rather die on his land with his family than risk, and in his summation, fail at finding safety outside and dying apart from each other or away from home. You can see this in Melissa during her first conversation with Madison, obviously trying to gauge if this is a person with whom she could entrust her children, and with George discussing his interest in anthropology and Maori traditions with Travis.

We cut to the Ofelia and Daniel on the boat talking about their own plans of survival and Ofelia shows some lingering resentment about Daniel’s admissions in season 1. The next scene is actually a tad chilling; the Geary’s son Harry brings Nick to his room to show off his toys, a line of action figures named presumably after people the family knew, each with marks on their heads to signify bullet wounds. This scene stood strongly enough as a symbol of children being forced to grow up in the age of the walking dead for me, but it was made even more striking when Harry mentioned his “Power Pills” that would “keep the family together”, an obvious hint at suicide pills for the audience and Nick.

We cut again to the boat and another sign of Daniel’s distrust in Strand.

The Geary’s elder son Seth spots Chris, possibly seeing the aimlessness in him and takes him to the fence to help kill off the walkers, where he mentions how his dad taught him to kill and survive, how they’d been “preparing forever” and talks about “deliberate living”.  Travis seems worried at the almost perverse enjoyment his son seems to get from killing the walkers and goes to George where he unloads his stress about the change in their lot. This also works to express more of George’s mentality as they work on reinforcing the perimeter only miles away from a horde of hundred’s of walkers George shows again his intent to die where he stands rather than keep running to survive.

We finally reach the crux of the episode when Melissa admits that she purposely signaled their boat after seeing Madison on the deck through binoculars and convinces her to take Willa and Harry away from the house and with them on their trip. The family is finally ready to make their way back to the boat, Melissa has the children packed, George and Seth are away from the house and things seem to be going her way. Of course this means that all will fall apart, Harry stands at the foot of the steps with a blank, haunted stare he tells them that Willa decided now is the time to take her “Super Pills” and isn’t responsive. Melissa runs to her and holds her lifeless body. We all know what happens when you die, by any means in this world.
Melissa is turned and George gets home and locks himself in the room with them as the family returns to the boat with Harry in tow. Strand is against taking the child along saying they’ll be “deadweight”. Luckily for him the choice is taken out of their hands when Seth returns with a gun and forces them to give back Harry. Like his father he’d rather the family dies together on their land, and it appears that they do.

Final thoughts:
The acting and direction this episode were generally good, I didn’t particularly care about the cuts back to the boat but they served their purpose and appear to set up a string of distrust that will permeate throughout the season. I was surprised that Willa was the one to take her pill and not Harry, though that may just have been that we didn’t quite hear as much from her (bit of side-eye there). I’m wondering what is going on with Strand and his mysterious phone call, but not all involved in it, not sure if that’s on me or the writers. Why did Harry get a PSP AND action figures when Willa was stuck with a crappy old doll ? Playing favorites there George!?

Harvey Thornton is an avid alliterating autodidact. He is currently considering continental conquest while watching too much TV in the progressive Mecca that is Ohio.