Recap: Fear The Walking Dead Premiere “Slow Burn”

By in Fear the walking dead, Frank Dillane, Madison Clark, Nick Clark, the walking dead
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Fear the Walking Dead is the zombie apocalypse situated in Los Angeles. While Rick is presumably still in a coma in Georgia, Nick Clark (Frank Dillane) awakens in a dusty church full of cluttered rooms. After stumbling through the hallway for the other people that we can only assume are there, he comes across a dead guy in the bottom of a staircase with his neck chewed out. The apocalypse is here, my friends.

As scared as anyone would be, after discovering someone took a bite out of a friend, Nick finds his way downstairs to where his friend Gloria seems to be. The abandoned church foyer is the favorite hangout of a few druggies. Nick is one of them.


Before Nick can warn Gloria that someone’s taking chunks out of people, he realizes that Gloria is quietly bent over eating someone’s face. This must be our neck eater! Nick fumbles through the crowded room filled with junk, trying to escape Gloria, who has left the side face of her last meal on the floor, to track down the live one in the room. She drags her feet at –Jason from Friday the 13th– speed with a knife lodged in her side.

Nick jumps out the window, into the middle of the street, and runs like he missed the bus. Out of breath and out of energy, he stops and gets hit by a car. A crowd develops around him, and we see that Los Angeles is still crowded and busy with traffic and non-zombie civilians. This is the beginning, and not enough people have a clue that the zombies exist.

Nick’s mom, Maddie (Kim Dickens), is still at home getting ready for work, while her son is sent to a hospital.  Maddie is busy getting her overly troubled daughter, Alicia, to go to school. She also lives with her boyfriend Travis (Cliff Curtis). Travis is a teacher at the same school that Maddie is a guidance counselor, which is the same school Alicia attends.


Maddie seems like she fits into the character mold of someone who is extremely skeptical and could be transformed into the most cautious, takes-no-risk, killing machine, in the zombie apocalypse. Something along the lines of Rick and Carol. Maddie encounters a student named Tobias that tried to bring in a knife to school. Tobias is hip to the zombie movement and the increase in unexplained deaths and disappearances. He is trying to take care of himself and Maddie makes him seem like a delusional teenager that needs to get back to the books.

She is not someone that will be easily convinced of anything. A zombie is going to have to write in print and confess on tape that he is a zombie before she will even consider it. It may also have to explode twice and still be alive before she is convinced it exists.

Meanwhile, no one has a clue that the druggie son has just been in an accident. Police interrogate Nick for the details of his crash at the hospital, where he is being treated for his car accident related injuries. Why was he running or who was he running from?

I think Nick knew that they wouldn’t believe him. His Mom also doesn’t believe him because…he’s a drug addict. These are obviously the tales told by someone who had drug-induced hallucinations. I can’t even blame them.

Let’s thank the damaged family structure of Nick’s life, for allowing Travis to genuinely inquire on the details of what Nick saw at the church, in an attempt at being stepdad of the year. After hearing about Gloria eating people and all the blood, Travis pays a visit to the abandoned church. This is logical though. If this was indeed a drug-induced hallucination, then there wouldn’t be any evidence and if Gloria was eating or mutilating someone, there would be a hell of a lot of blood. Travis investigates the dusty church and stumbles upon a massive blood stain covered in brain chunks. (What I would think are brain pieces, from my expert Walking Dead experience.)

Travis runs out of the church, with the same bat out of hell speed, that Nick had taken off with. I thought that this for sure would have proved or at least helped Nick’s case. Maddie points out that the abandoned church hangout of the resident crackheads must be prone to shootouts and stabbings. Travis agrees and puts it behind him like she had said something that could explain what he saw.  At what point was Travis going to explain the amount of blood and the brain matter? It was as if he never ran out of there at all!

Now, let’s say Travis didn’t want to delve into the matter because his sweet thing shut down his theory, wouldn’t it have been wise to alert the authorities? Maddie doesn’t even want Travis to tell Nick what he found because he would be enabling him. When they visit Nick, Travis pretends that there was no evidence of the blood whatsoever, turning Travis into loser Stepdad of the year, and giving Nick the notion that he is alone.

Now that is something that they didn’t think about, right? What would Nick do if he realized that no one believed him? Would he get clean? Why would proving that what Nick saw was real be bad for him? If he had the scare of his life and they prove that it was real, he’s not going back to that abandoned church. If they prove that he was wrong, then the drugs gave him one hell of a bad trip, and maybe he should take it as a hint to drop the stuff. Either way, Nick decides to escape because no one believes him.

After dropping his bedpan, the old man next to him goes into cardiac arrest and he uses the distraction to break out the hospital, in the old man’s clothes. It wasn’t planned out that way. Nick thought he was going to get caught breaking out when the bedpan fell, but the old man’s bad luck saved the day.

Back at school

We realize the reason for the teenager rebellion in Alicia. She has a boyfriend that we see her cuddling up with, while her brother is roaming the streets looking homeless in some old man’s over-sized clothes.

Maddie and Travis hear about Nick’s escape and return to the abandoned church to look for him. It’s the first place to look because a junkie is going to go back to his favorite place to get high. Neither one of them realizes Nick’s fear of what he witnessed. None of the undead are at the church, but the blood and gore are still on the floor where Travis last saw it.

Maddie is now scared of the blood she sees on the floor and Travis is all like, “But I told you,” and she’s like, “Yea, but that’s not normal. That’s like a lot.” Frustration is the only word I can say to sum up the aggravation that these small instances made me feel. I don’t know where the writers were going with this, but at this point, we visited the church twice after Nick’s exit, for exposition that could have been dealt with in a cleaner more believable way.

Maddie and Travis then head to Nick’s friend’s house, Calvin. Cal is all formal and incredibly concerned for Nick and I liked him immediately. He tells Maddie and Travis that he will make some calls and try to find out if anyone has seen or heard from Nick, and he offers them coffee.

On their way back, they encounter traffic–long, stand still, traffic accompanied by helicopters– and you just know that it’s walker-related. Travis and Maddie take an alternate route. It’s the first smart decision they’ve made together all episode. When they get to the school, some of the school administration is watching video footage of what was at the core of the accident that caused all that traffic.

After what seems like a car accident, one of the victims turns into a walker and eats a paramedic, while the poor man is just trying to do his job. Then the walker goes for the others and doesn’t stop, even after being shot several times. The party is over when he’s shot in the head. This was the best part of the episode, thus far.

The kids are watching this video on their phones in class–and you have to realize that the same thing is going around everywhere– they’re all thinking this has to be fake. That it’s an edited video making a round on the net.  Then they release the school on half a day because shit is getting real in the outside. Maddie looks and feels like a real jackass, as Tobias glares at her with eyes that say, “you are a complete idiot,” from inside of a school bus.

Alicia’s beau has not responded to texts, meaning that he is most likely dead, gone, undead and looking for brains.

Travis and Maddie are now even more concerned about finding Nick. Nick has met up with Cal at a diner or coffee shop, and before you can sigh with relief, you realize that Cal is Nick’s drug dealer. A junkies only friend. What happened here? I loved Cal for the first 60 seconds that I saw him. Now, he’s this incredibly cold business oriented drug dealer.

Nick is trying to find out if what he saw was real or it was drug-related. Maybe everyone was right and he had a bad trip. He asks Cal if the drugs he shot up were laced with anything else. Cal is not too happy about having his merchandise criticized and Nick gets choked up with tears, trying to explain that he went through a traumatic experience and just wants to get to the bottom of it, without getting beat up.

I started hating Cal and then he WOOED ME! He let Nick cry on his shoulder and I thought, under all that tough exterior, he really is a nice guy. What a great guy– minus the whole drug dealing leach thing. They pull into a deserted area near a drain pipe or something and Cal sneakily conceals his gun. Nick sees it right away.

WHY!?!?!?!?! CAL!!! You had me!!!

It pissed me off! I like this character. Why can’t he stay and play a little? I know Nick is not going to die because he’s the main character and this is the first episode. So, it has to be Cal– Nick shoots Cal after a short scuffle. Nick then calls Travis, because now he is a murderer in addition to a junkie, and Travis is the most support he’s going to get. Travis shows up with Maddie, the voice of reason AND death in the zombie apocalypse, and Nick takes them to where he left Cal.


Cal is now a part of the walker crew and is not there. Once again, Nick looks like this disoriented junkie that is losing his grip. When they leave, they find Cal dragging his feet in the pipe. I must admit that I like Cal’s exit, although his stay was short. Maddie and Travis try to talk to Cal because the voice of reason and logic is prone to putting herself in deaths way. It LOOKS like he bit Maddie’s hand. I’m hoping he bit her hand. She’s too logical for the zombie apocalypse and it’s annoying, though I know her potential based on my previously mentioned prediction. But right now, she’s super annoying. I have no regrets if she’s bit.

Junkie Nick saves the day and runs Cal over a million times, and although handsome Cal is missing his jaw and several pieces here and there, the trio is left staring at Cal who is still twitching with life after all he has been through. Guess Maddie has no more logical explanations for whats happening.

Nick 1 Maddie 0



The spin-off started off too slow paced for THE WALKING DEAD followers. TWD is always going 250 MPH, even when we think things are dying down. We had non stop action from the beginning, starting with Rick waking up in that hospital and coming out to an already zombie-infested world. There is a little too much talk and not enough building up or action, then again this episode starts in the brink of what is going to explode, and not in the midst.

There’s this part when Maddie tries to get the attention of someone in the school named Artie and he’s hunched over without moving in a classroom. The suspense builds up to make you believe he is a walker, but he turns around and has some other excuse for not moving earlier. I hate cheap builds for attention. The ones that TWD have are backed by real possibilities. There were none for most of the episode.

I already was familiar with Frank Dillane from Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince. He played the young version of Voldemort and he was PHENOMENAL. Now he is a little older and resembles Johnny Depp. Johnny Depp circa What’s eating Gilbert Grape.

Anywho, Frank’s acting is spot on. I think that Nick is going to be the character that we most like, putting aside his drug inflicted life. Travis will probably be our Rick, our guidance when there is no one to lead. And Maddie will probably break free of her annoying stance of logic and become a highly skilled participant, as I mentioned before. I have no real feedback on Alicia.

THOUGHTS!!! What is your first thought on zombies invading Los Angeles? How about our new family [Travis, Maddie, Alicia, Nick] ? What do you think about the premiere and the season?

Comment below or reach out to me on social media –>

Email: fabulouslyentertaining [at] gmail [dot] com
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Source: AMC.COM



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