A Closer Look: Fear The Walking Dead – “The Dog”

Last week we saw LA teetering on the edge of chaos; but this week gave that final push as the world has officially ended. Sadly, most of our heroes just don’t know – or accept it – yet. With even more family friends turning, our heroes are being pushed to the brink of what they can comprehend. There’s a big space between what you know and what you accept, and this episode showed that divide beautifully not only with the blurred lines between rioter and walker, but also the personal lines between friend and foe.

Is there hope or only despair awaiting our heroes? Let’s take a closer look at Fear The Walking Dead “The Dog” to find out.

“The Dog” Episode Meaning & Implications:

As always, we have to pay attention to what the episode title’s could mean for the episode. So what would “The Dog” mean for this episode? Madison commented on how Nick could “howl at the moon”, so perhaps this episode could have some metaphorical meanings. This ‘wolf metaphor’ grew a bit as we saw rioters and walkers working together, much like “The Wolves” currently in The Walking Dead. THIS COULD BE IT… or the episode could simply be pointing to the stray dog. Yah, it’s the dog. But as I said, there’s got to be more purpose here so WHY so much focus on a dog?

Well you see the dog was simultaneously a liability and a saving grace for our heroes. Much like babies, dogs aren’t exactly a good idea in the apocalypse as their barking can attract walkers. We’ve kind of seen this before in The Walking Dead when Darryl and Beth were staying at the funeral home. It was the dogs barking that began to attract their neighbor towards the house – although it was their own stupidity for leaving the door open. Additionally, the dog brought them in direct physical contact with contaminated blood. Although despite all these mistakes, “the dog” actually saved them all.

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This goes beyond the dig distracting the neighbor so that he didn’t attack Travis immediately when they came in. When the military came in and inquired about the grave – which was the neighbor – Madison’s lied and said the body was of their dog. Had she not said this, the military would have suspected them all to have been ‘exposed’ as well, and could give them the same fate as Patrick – he’s dead.

Though one has to wonder if “the dog” – the body she lied about – will in fact spell trouble for them. Since it wasn’t burned, could it contaminate things? Could the army still find it? We’ll have to wait until later episodes to see if any trouble comes of that. For now, there are much bigger problems for our heroes to worry about.

The End Arrives – The Blurred Lines Between Human & Walker:

The most commendable thing about this episode had to be the early scenes depicting the evolving riots. During this chaos, its almost impossible to tell who’s a rioter and who’s a walker. The rioters aren’t even aware that the ‘ill’ are with them until it’s too late. As the riots and violence increase, the number of walkers do too, which in turn increased the violence and walkers. And the cycle continues to devolve.

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As Travis and his crew leave the city, the power grid goes out again, this time signifying much more than just another power outage. With riots, police brutality and fear spreading as quickly as the virus, this power outage in many ways signifies the end of civilization and the first few moments of the new world order. From here on out, the rules have changed and the end has arrived. Even with the army setting up camp around Travis and his family, – as Daniel said – “It’s already too late”. The world has already ended, whether or not you’ve accepted it.

Dealing With Personal Demons/Friends – Travis’s Time To Fail:

One recurring theme in these first few episodes is how each character has to go through their own personal way of dealing with what’s happening in the world. Sure they might know things are wrong and ‘its all connected’ beforehand; but the severity of the situation doesn’t set in until they are faced with putting down someone they used to know.

In the first episode, we saw Nick awaken to his ‘girlfriend’ devouring people, but didn’t accept what was happening until he had to run over his dealer … multiple times. In the second episode, we saw how Madison knew things were getting bad; but didn’t come to terms with how bad until she had to face off against her friend Artie. Yes, she still finds it hard to tell her daughter the truth, but this episode she knew what had to be done and was going to put down her neighbor Susan – if this episode’s ‘face your demons’ focus hadn’t stepped in.

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This all could have been avoided Travis . . .

The person this episode who was ‘supposed’ to come to terms with this new world was Travis. He was the first to understand something bad is happening and that these sick people are no longer who they used to be. So it’s shocking to see him react so adamantly against ‘putting down’ these walkers. On multiple occasions this episode he comments on how they’re just sick and even stops his wife from putting down Susan. He thinks the slightest of hopes of saving Susan is worth sparring her; but in reality all he does is seal her husband Patrick’s fate.

Travis isn’t ready for what’s to come; and when someone who does try to help them adjust to the new world arrive – Daniel – Travis is upset that he’s teaching his son how to use a gun. Travis might be keeping Daniel around because he (Travis) is a “good person”, but in reality that is actually the smartest decision he can make right now as Daniel ACTUALLY knows how to handle these things.

Quick Bites – Easter Eggs, References & Other Notables:

  • It’s hard to tell if this ambulance was run off the road by rioters or if a patient turned in transit and attacked the crew.
  • Monopoly, because what better what to celebrate the end of the world than with a game that causes the end of friendships
  • Yah, shine a light out the window. What could possibly go wrong.
  • We now learn why Madison hasn’t told her daughter anything about the infected. If she told her what this illness was, Alicia would take the news very badly because all she knows is her boyfriend Matt has it.
  • It’s funny that we get a comment about “Déjà vu” right before we see a bunch of police start unloading on a hospital – not unlike the scenario we saw in The Walking Dead with Rick’s hospital

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  • Well of course “someone is inside [your] house”, YOU LEFT THE DOOR WIDE OPEN!!!!!!!
  • To further support a statement we made last week, these walkers are much stronger than the ones in TWD as can be seen by it taking two headshots to put down the neighbor.
  • Admit it, you knew a maze in the apocalypse was a bad idea.
  • In a weird way, Travis is actually more like Lori this episode than Rick or Shane. He’s upset that someone plans to teach his son how to use a gun and he’s trying to deal with his ex-wife and current girlfriend (similar to Lori with returned husband and new lover)
  • “I don’t need you mom. I need my medicine” – How much do you bet Nick will live to regret those words?
  • We again get a long focus on a plane in distress. Once, twice, this is DEFINITELY a reference to the Walking Flying Dead Airplane Special
  • A curious recurring motif that Panda Pal Claudine pointed out, is that each episode thus far has ended with someone looking out the window – whether directly or immediately before the final shot. Is this a fun coincidence, or will we eventually see Rick’s “Broken Window Theory” come true and eventually see someone staring out a broken window when all hope is lost?
  • What was Nick trying to break into the house for? I mean yah, drugs. But was it a new fix or just more medicine to get off his addiction?
  • Dear Fear The Walking Dead, it’s nice that you have non-English speaking people on the show. America is a vast nation with many ethnicities and this show has done a good job in showing that. But please, PLEASE use a bigger ‘subtitle’ text font’. It was almost impossible to read half of those subtitles without pausing.

As the harsh truth sets in, our heroes are also slowly beginning to entertain the idea of working together. As determined as Travis is to help and get help, Daniel is the opposite. Although now that the military has come, a new dynamic has been introduced which places the military as ‘the other’ and Travis’s and Daniel’s group as a whole. They might not be a family of blood, but with new troubles arising and problems to be faced, these two will “stop keeping score” and start being a family nonetheless.

So tune in next week as our heroes find out just how late it is and how even the military isn’t immune to the spread of ‘fear’.

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