Fear The Walking Dead goes into the past as well as the future for one intriguing character

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Question: As writers, where do you go now on Fear The Walking Dead?

All the main characters are scattered to the four winds. The compound they were at has burnt to the ground, forcing abandonment. One regular, who started the conflagration, may be dead. (Deep down we know he isn’t, though.) Several have gone on various missions – one to find his son, the other on an unknown quest. Others have flown the coop because they have to go somewhere, presumably back to the Abigail which is the only familiar safe haven they have left.

You can’t very well wrap up everyone’s story tidily in a mere hour’s time, can you? (You could … but it would probably do a grave disservice to the overall story.)

Answer? You target one of the most intriguing characters (if not the most intriguing character) of the show, Nick, and you focus your efforts on not only his situation but you highlight the hour with his backstory.

That being said, what did we get out of “Grotesque,” the eighth chapter of the second season? Pretty much what we’ve already come to know about Nick. That he’s a resourceful, often savvy survivor whose past has come to define him as much as it haunts him.

The kid is a mess. But he’s got nine lives, most of which haven’t even been touched. Remember when he told Madison in the mid-season finale months ago he wouldn’t die, not as a result of being in cahoots with walkers, meandering about alongside them? Thus far that’s been true. And it will continue to be true. He’s that good, that lucky, that wily.

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Via the flashbacks we discovered more of Nick’s addled, drug-fueled past, filled with stupidity and paranoia. But it’s his past that’s central to his character – it’s come to explain a lot of what he does given the decline of civilization and everything that’s come with it. (At this point in FTWD we’re about two months in from the introduction of whatever turns the dead reanimated.) Those flashbacks – centered on his time with his former girlfriend Gloria (who was the first of the walking dead we laid eyes on in the series opener) along with hints about a father who failed him – have revealed the mess of a life Nick’s led to date. Put some of the pieces together and you can easily see the method to some of his seeming madness and why he does some of the cavalier things he’s done like coaching Chris, going on the hunt for Celia’s son and why he’s walked among the dead.

Like I said, the kid’s a mess. But, at the same time, he’s smart beyond his companions’ comprehension. All that conflict and misunderstanding combined with a drug addict’s pain and regret and overwhelming need makes for a character who’s come a long way in a short amount of time.

Remember when we thought he was nothing but a royal clusterfuck of a dope fiend back in season one? Since, he’s taken the greatest leaps forward in character development in the young series’ history. He’s definitely become the go-to player in the cast.

And putting his story first and foremost as the lead in to the back half of the season is a nice touch.

Going forward, we’ll see more tales that will certainly reveal the mindset of other characters and why they do what they do and who they really are. We’ve already seen a lot of Daniel’s and Victor’s pasts. Just not in quite the same manner as we’ve seen Nick’s.

Nick’s days-long journey has led him to yet another safe house community to be discovered. But is it just another facade he’ll have to escape from once he finds out what secrets it holds?

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Notes

  • Walking down the road, we see Nick pass a “Tijuana 100” marker. And the end of the episode he’s at the colony. Are we expected to believe that with him battered and bruised and bitten and delirious he’s walked on foot 100 miles? There’s no possible way. Then, I remembered Mexico calculates measurement in kilometers. So that chops the distance down considerably into something a little more viable.
  • All the graffiti and signage we saw throughout the episode? Did you notice there wasn’t a whole lot of it in Spanish? I did.
  • Don’t you find it a little bit funny the way karma comes back to bite people in the ass on shows like this? Case in point the renegades who came upon Nick the second time while he was shuffling along with the dead. Two of the three didn’t make it out of the episode alive.

What did you think of this episode? Start a conversation in the comments section below!

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