Fear the Walking Dead – Season 2, Episode 8: “Grotesque”

Fear the Walking Dead – Season 2, Episode 8: “Grotesque”
Grade: A

“Grotesque” starts off the second half of the second season of Fear the Walking Dead, following the character of Nick as he journeys on his own after refusing to leave the blazing Abigail compound with his family and return to the yacht.

Nick’s journey starts off with a mother and her son, sending Nick on his way through the desert toward the highway to Tijuana. On the way, he camps out in a thought-to-be-abandoned house and his attacked, forced to flee, losing his water; confronted by men with guns who kill Walkers—and anyone living; becomes desperately thirsty, attempting to drink from/eat a cactus only to become sick; is forced to drink his own urine; is attacked by two wild dogs; and continues on to Tijuana covered in Walker blood, limping with a pack of the living dead. He’s later saved by a group, led by a woman named Luciana, and is taken to their camp to be treated. There, he finds that they are not only a group of survivors but a—seemingly—thriving community. All the while, there are flashbacks to his time in rehab and the emotional scene of Madison visiting to tell him that his father—who paid Nick little attention, always tired—was killed in a car accident.

While an excellently done episode—I’d say the show’s best—it came at a time that I wouldn’t have expected it to. I’d rather have followed the main group (Madison, Alicia, Ofelia, and Strand) in this episode, leaving Nick’s whereabouts a mystery for a little while, or at least for the first episode returning. Either way, this episode was fantastic and brilliantly acted by Nick’s Frank Dillane.


HIGHLIGHTS

Frank Dillane
is an incredible actor and I love the character of Nick. His journey in this episode is rough, putting Nick through a lot—especially the emotional scenes of him talking about his father in rehab and finding out that he’d been killed in an accident.

Survival
is shown in the Walking Dead universe a lot, but it doesn’t show the truly hard things—somehow they always find water, they always find something and rarely show the harder moments. In this episode, Nick travels through the desert, desperate for water, and he tries to get water from a cactus, only to get sick from it and eventually drinks his own urine. It finally felt like theses shows were showing the rough stuff, not just talking about how rough it’s been.

LOWLIGHTS

The episode
should’ve been later in the season. Even if it was the next episode, it would have felt right in place. Since the group/family split up in the mid-season finale, I wanted to know what happened to all of the characters, not just Nick. If this first episode returning from break had been about Madison, Strand, Alicia, and Ofelia, leaving some mystery to where Nick has been, I would have appreciated this episode more. The pace of the episode was too slow after a break. When a show returns after a break, I want an exciting episode to start it off again. I want something to keep my attention to bring me back the following week (which of course I’ll still watch, I just wanted a more exciting first episode.)

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