A Closer Look: Fear The Walking Dead – “The Good Man”

Fear The Walking Dead The Good Man

And so concludes the first Season of Fear The Walking Dead. At times it might have seemed slow and drawn out, but that was always its purpose: to show the descent into chaos and how time either races or comes to a screeching halt. This finale though answered all questions and finally gave us the cathartic release of many things that had been building all season. So let’s take a Closer Look at “The Good Man” and see what adventures await in Season 2.

Episode Meaning – “The Good Man” & What Happens To Him:

As we’ve seen many times in The Walking Dead, being a “good person” isn’t always a good thing in the zombie apocalypse. The rules have changed and madness has overrun the world. You can of course still be kind and a good man, but you have to balance that with doing what is necessary. And if you can’t, this new world will break you – and this episode dealt with all of that. So for the sake of clarity and brevity, the next few sections will all deal with the idea of being “The Good Man” and where it gets you.

Why Did Travis Choose THEN To Snap?

For the past few episodes we’ve seen Travis desperately cling to hope – in more ways that one – but the one we’re talking about in this section is his refusal to acknowledge how the world has changed. From being to trusting to refusing to kill walkers, he’s not had the best time adapting. So keeping all those past moments in mind, we should have known him letting Andy out was a bad idea. But what happened? Andy seemed so nice? And after everything, why was Andy the one Travis unloaded on?

Well for the Andy part of the question remember, he used to be a good man – and then he was tortured. You can see earlier in the episode Andy was pissed, not just because he was tortured but because he was a “good man” who was tortured. His arm was mutilated and whereas there was no way Daniel would have let him live, there was also no way Andy could let Daniel live. Considering how experienced he was at this, Daniel probably knew this would change Andy and that’s why he knew he had to kill him. Otherwise Andy would come after him and his family. As for why Andy shot Daniel’s daughter, remember it was that relationship that was taken advantage of in the first place. Andy just wanted to make Daniel suffer, like Daniel made him suffer.

Now as for why Travis chose this moment to unload on Andy, it’s because Travis knows this is all his fault. Much like how Andy saw where being a “good man got him” – in the torture chair – Travis now sees where being a “good man” got him, with his friends and family in danger. Though things are a little different this time. Travis knows that any blood shed will be on his hands since he’s the one that let Andy leave. So when Daniel’s daughter is shot, Travis snaps knowing that this is all on him as his good nature was taken advantage of. Andy broke his promise … and so Travis broke his face. Though sadly, Travis’s biggest break was still yet to come.

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The Dream Dies – “It’ll Break Him” Or Others If He Does:

When the news of Liza’s condition was revealed, we were given a very familiar scenario. Back in Episode 3, we saw how Travis stopped Liza when Madison asked her to pull the trigger on their neighbor. In both situations we heard how one didn’t have the guts to do it themselves, so they asked the other in private because if Travis were to do it, “it’s break him”. We’re given this dual fate where either Travis is broken for doing it OR others are broken because he couldn’t. Travis couldn’t let Madison pull the trigger then, so now when it comes to his own ex-wife, he knows it has to be him. Whether or not it’ll break him is a question to be answered in Season 2 – although we already see the signs that this act will haunt him for a long time to come. The more important thing to discuss here is WHY this act above all others would break him.

You see it’s not just because ‘she’s his ex-wife’, but rather because of the initial dream Travis has held this whole time. Since Episode 1, he’s been the man trying to make both sides of his family happy. He just wanted to find a way for them all to get along and live happily ever after. Though as Alicia said this episode “you can’t save everyone” and that is what Travis just learned the hard way. The infection of Liza was also his dream being infected; and if he didn’t pull the trigger he would have lost even more. Sadly though he might as it is because it’s pretty certain that Chris will not take this well.

Travis Vs Daniel Vs Strand – To Be Or Not To Be “A Good Man”:

This episode certainly gave us some strong juxtapositions between not only Travis and Daniel, but also Travis and Strand. Both Daniel and Travis love their families, but they’ve been going about handling it in very different ways. Now as the episode ends, we find Travis and Daniel on much more equal terms. Both men have lost their wives – ex wife in Travis’s case – and now Travis understands Daniel’s perspective a little more. That being said, they still have their differences as Travis is easily flustered while Daniel remains perfectly calm in even the most trying of situations – i.e.: playing Pied Piper to a sea of walkers.

On the other hand, Travis and Strand couldn’t be more different – and this episode took the time to demonstrate that fully! Travis is a down to Earth family man who constantly tries to please everyone. Strand on the other hand is a man of means and is much more likely to take advantage of someone than help. In fact, this episode directly juxtaposed these two when Strand refused waste time letting the other captives go, but Travis didn’t hesitate for a moment. Whereas Daniel is a good man deep down at heart, there is very little Travis and Strand have in common, and that could be a huge point of conflict in Season 2.

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Easter Eggs/Parallels To The Walking Dead:

  • Much like the Season 1 finale, we have one of the main female character opting to stay behind at a medical center. The first time was Jacqui – remember her – and almost Andrea in “TS-19” of The Walking Dead, This time it’s the female Doctor.
  • The big revelation of Season 2 The Walking Dead was what the CDC Doctor told Rick the previous Season: “We’re all infected”. With Liza being on the inside, we don’t have to wait that long as our earlier suspicions were confirmed – everyone is already infected and now our heroes know it.
  • Some people might have been impatiently upset about the lack of walker action in this show, but this episode more than made up for it by introducing our first Mega Herd – a threat we’ve seen a couple of times on The Walking Dead.
  • The hordes of walkers against the fence was very reminiscent of the prison in The Walking Dead where they had to pay special attention to killing off walkers before the fence got too bogged down

A City Of Reinvention – LA & A Druggie Main Character:

This season started off with focus on Nick, a seemingly unorthodox main character, but then you remember that this is what The Walking Dead is all about. And this season finale returned us to that point and made it come full circle. In The Walking Dead, we’ve seen times when Darryl referenced his pre-apocalypse self and it sounded nothing like the badass he is today. Additionally, we even heard him and Joe speak about how the world feels more like home to them now than it ever did. These ideas were mirrored in the end of last night’s episode as Nick told Madison that this world is what he’s used to. “I never knew where I was going. It’s like I’ve been living this for a long time and now everyone is catching up with me. Strange”.

Last night on the Talking Dead we heard about how LA was originally chosen because it is a place of reinvention; and that is exactly what’s happening in this show. For Nick, reality is now matching what he’s been used to all along. That doesn’t mean this new world is a druggie’s paradise; but rather than it’s the poor unfortunate who can adapt better to this world than those who had everything set and planned out.

We saw in this episode that those who thought they had control (ie: the military) were so easily overrun when something out of the ordinary happened. They were so preoccupied with protocols and rules that it was hard to think on their feet and respond to the new challenge. They never thought a threat that large could come at them. They felt unchallenged, which can also be seen by how their ‘watchtower’ barely had clear line of sight.

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So next season we will see how the rest of the family adapts or gets left behind. Madison has been showing signs all season of a ‘darker past’ – knowledge of drug problems, barely flinching when she learned Daniel was torturing someone, etc. She might have come to LA as it is to reinvent herself after her first marriage. So will she now re-reinvent herself? Similarly Travis will go through a similar path as he now tries to balance his good nature with what this new world requires. Though it’s hard to see what will come next in VERY unexplored territory.

Quick Bites – References, Other Notables & Thoughts:

  • Is ‘lying’ the same as ‘protecting’ someone in the zombie apocalypse? This is a question the series as dealt with quite a bit this season. In the end, I guess it depends on one thing: is the lie more likely to make you survive?
  • Another question this season asked – and this episode asked it literally – is “what is family now”? Is it blood or bonds? Travis and Daniel’s families have now become one via shared experience. And yet it’s not enough to simply be ‘in proximity’ to others as their neighbors are all left behind – just as they didn’t help when Travis’s family was attacked.
  • It’s unclear if the bitten soldier who walked into the helicopter propeller did so on purpose or if he was just so disoriented from the bite that he honestly didn’t know where he was walking.
  • Unlike last time, Liza doesn’t get on the military transport. Whether this saved her life or doomed it is unknown; but at least this way she got to see her family again.
  • The flickering lights in the hallway scene and how the zombies kept inching closer in gradients dependent on the flickers were a wonderful device for enhancing the fear.
  • It was a nice touch that our heroes escaped the base safely just as dawn was breaking.
  • To be fair, I also wouldn’t attempt the 110 on the best days.
  • It was mentioned on Talking Dead last night that Madison has a slight southern accent. Could there be any relation between her and one of our heroes on The Walking Dead.

Next Season our heroes will go where no one else has ever gone in The Walking Dead universe: the open ocean. I personally find this HILARIOUS since I made a joke about getting a boat and finding a deserted island over a month ago. Although apparently, myself and our heroes won’t be the only ones to think of this. On the open seas – on a Mega Yacht – they will encounter numerous other hassles and dangers.

It’s hard to imagine how the walker threat will continue, but the people threat will be greater than ever. Because as we’ve learned many times before, if you have a safe place people are going to want to take it from you. So be sure to come back in 2016 when Fear The Walking Dead returns. And in the meantime, you can checkout it’s new Spin-Off miniseries Flight 462 online and during episodes of The Walking Dead that begins next week.

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