Fear The Walking Dead: The Education of Travis Manawa

AMC

AMC

In my last post I said this about Cliff Curtis’ character on Fear The Walking Dead: “The biggest disappointment so far is Travis Manawa who has just ‘been there’ more than anything else. I’m hopeful his befuddlement fades as he realizes more of the gravity of what is going on around him.” Before that in a preview post prior to the show debuting, I stated the actor I was most excited to see in the show was Cliff Curtis.

Well there hasn’t been a whole lot to crow about regarding Curtis’ character, has there?

That is up until the last two episodes, “Not Fade Away” and “Cobalt.” He’s come out of his shell with these two outings. Or, rather, he’s gotten thunked on the head to the doings going on around him. That’s a much better way to put it.

Nine days in with the virus running its course and his neighborhood cordoned off to the outside, we see Travis casually taking a jog near the opening of “Not Fade Away.” He’s still oblivious in many ways, content to keep tabs with the commanding officer of the army unit assigned to his area, confident things will be straightened out soon. The methodical flashes his son has seen from their rooftop don’t faze him and he blows them off to the boy’s imagination or the sun’s reflection. His girlfriend Madison is skeptical enough for the both of them and he’s happy to let that scenario continue.

But the shit starts getting a little too close to the fan as he’s called to assist with his neighbor who has seemingly gone off the deep end. Suddenly, he’s thrust into a situation he didn’t ask for, forced to help out Lt. Moyers before the army gets rough with the uncooperative neighbor.

Later, since he’s gotten a little more buddy buddy with Moyers, he decides to confide in the lieutenant about his son’s supposed discovery outside the safe zone.

The realization, the moment the light went on above Travis’ head and he realized he wasn’t in Kansas anymore, was when Nick was taken from the house courtesy of the army late in the episode. tweet

Helpless, he could only watch. He could only stand there and listen as he got railed on by Madison. He had no words regarding Madison’s accusations about his ex-wife Liza and her meddling ways which surely led to Nick’s abduction. He could take zero action as Griselda was taken from the house without her husband, promises made he could accompany her and be at her side while she was tended to. Travis was utterly powerless to do anything at those moments. In many ways, his world was falling apart and it was clear there was more he should have done to prevent that from happening.

But … the real kicker was the episode’s conclusion: Travis on the roof, watching that house his son pointed out earlier, seeing the flash of gunshots from within. Right there, that was when it really hit. That’s when it all came tumbling down for him. That’s when his oblivious ways were no more.

And finally, that was the turning point in his character.

That turning point continued in “Cobalt” and Daniel’s abduction of the soldier, Adam’s and Daniel’s torture of the man to extract information from him. Suddenly, faced with death, Travis realizes they need to high-tail it from the neighborhood.

It’s late in the short season, but I’m glad the fog has lifted from Travis. I’m glad the man has gotten a crash course in “the way things are” right now. Perhaps now things will ramp up with Curtis’ character … and I’m happy with that possibility.

Listen: I’m not looking for Travis to ape the roll of Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead. Far from it. tweet

I simply haven’t been on board the “happy-go-lucky” attitude Travis has been sloughing around in up to this point. So I’m looking forward with great anticipation how the final episode of the season is going to play out for him … and the rest of the characters.

As a matter of fact, I’ve been thrilled with how the last two episodes have set a much different pace for the show than the first three did. The finale appears as if it’s shaping up to be a doozy.

Note Of Interest: Did anyone notice the end of “Not Fade Away” when Travis was on the roof eying the house outside the safe zone? You could barely hear any gunfire coming from that house. Then, in the “previously on Fear The Walking Dead” prior to “Cobalt” beginning you could plainly hear gunfire, leaving no doubt what Travis was witnessing. The reason I mention this? There was quite a bit of confusion as to what Travis was seeing, lots of talk on social media wondering what the lights were, questions being asked how reflections could be seen at night without the sun shining and other monkey business. The Powers That Be at AMC left no question what was being shown with that “previously on Fear The Walking Dead” spot.

I knew what I was seeing at the time. There wasn’t any question for me.

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