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Fear the Walking Dead – S1E1 – Pilot

Fear the Walking Dead Cast

Nick Clark wakes up in an abandoned church/drug den. He’s sporting bloodshot eyes and his girlfriends bolero shirt. He goes stumbling though the church, calling for her, hopefully to return that top. He finds blood, dead bodies, and finally a weapon. He finds Gloria, and she’s a walker. He drops the weapon and hauls ass… as well he should have. Unfortunately, he runs into the street and gets hit by a car.

Fear the Walking Dead - S1E1 - Nick Hit

P.S.: L.A. is a shithole.

At this point, I was already digging the look (the church was appropriately gross and lit in a way that when you finally see outside, it’s a jolt to the senses) and the music. Also, I like this guy playing Nick (Frank Dillane), and not just because Stannis is his daddy.

Meanwhile, Nick’s mother, Madison, is trying to get his sister, Alicia, out the door for school. Her live-in boyfriend, Travis, is proud of himself for fixing their leaky kitchen sink. The phone rings and everyone just stares. Do these people have that much debt? Why is answering the phone such a big deal?

Ah, Nick has been missing for days and they’re worried it’s THE CALL. And it kinda is. They all head to the hospital.

Since Nick presented as delusional and possibly suicidal, the cops and a psych eval were called. But Nick is also over 18 so the doctor won’t tell Madison the results of his toxicology report. The cops want to know more about his rantings of blood and death, but Nick’s no snitch. Also, he’s pretty sure no one will believe his high ass.

Madison shoos away the cops and the dysfunction begins: Madison thinks Nick tried to kill himself, Nick’s not talking and he doesn’t want to hear shit from Travis, Alicia is fine with leaving Nick alone to kill himself via drugs or moving car, and she agrees that it’s none of Travis’ business. Yikes.

Travis steps out to take a call from his ex-wife, who is relieved Nick’s okay, but wants to know if Travis is still on for taking their son, Chris, for the weekend. Chris doesn’t want to go, though, and makes that clear when he gets on the phone with his dad. He’s definitely not moved by “being there for Nick,” since he’s “not his friend and he’s not his brother.” Travis gives up and says the mom can “keep him.”

Since Madison has to go to work, Travis offers to stay with Nick. In the car, Alicia reminds Madison that Nick is an adult and a lost cause. Madison refuses to give up.

Madison (and Travis) are teachers at Alicia’s high school (fun!). As Alicia heads to class, Madison chats with the principal (who looks more like Barack Obama than Grey Worm on Game of Thrones, you racists!), and then saves a kid named Tobias from getting busted for setting off the metal detector. Tobias has a knife, not because of a bully, but because he’s clearing been paying attention and knows shit it about to hit the apocalyptic fan, but he can’t express it in a way that doesn’t make him sound batshit insane. Madison sends him off to class.

Oh, and Alicia doesn’t go to class. She visits her boyfriend, Matt, who’s working on a school mural as his senior project. He won’t ditch school with her, even though he doesn’t really seem to like the mural.

At the hospital, Nick opens up to Travis about what he saw. Either it was the drugs or he’s crazy. Travis goes to investigate and sees lots of blood, a crazy crackhead, but no walkers. The next morning, Travis and Alicia find Madison sleeping in Nick’s hospital bed. The siblings have a moment alone where Alicia feeds him jello and it seems she does still care about her brother. He promises to get clean, and she says okay… but clearly doesn’t believe him.

When Travis says he believes Nick, Madison thinks he’s trying to help Nick because he can’t fix things with his own son. Later, Travis tells Nick he’ll be seeing the shrink that afternoon. Nick is fine with it. He’ll see the shrink, get clean, etc. Does he mean it, Travis asks.

“I always mean it.”

Alicia tells Matt how much she can’t wait to go away to Berkley, and says that maybe he can join her. He assures her that Nick’s problems are not her fault and they make plans to meet later that day at the beach… and then back to his house.

Fear TWD - S1E1 - Matt and Alicia

While Madison and Travis are back at school, Nick sweet talks a nurse into undoing one restraint so he can pee on his own. When she leaves the room, the patient next to Nick codes and the doctors wheel him out. Nick takes that opportunity to escape wearing the old man’s clothes.

Travis takes Madison to the church because she wants to see for herself, and they think Nick might have gone back there. Yeah, something bad happened there and she feels like shit that her son slept in a place like that. They visit Nick’s friend, Calvin, to see if he knows anything. Calvin seems to have his life together and offers to call around to mutual friends.

On their way home, Madison admits that sometimes she doesn’t want Nick to come home. She’s tired of waiting for the call from the morgue. This makes her feel bad, but Travis assures her that only makes her human. They pass a traffic jam with police cars and gunfire in the distance.

The next day, Travis and Madison find other teachers watching cell phone video of what went down at the accident they passed: a man who died on a stretcher bites a paramedic, attacks others, and takes several shots from the police without stopping. Travis points out this is exactly what Nick described, and Madison tells him to finally call the cops to locate him. Nick is wandering the streets, trying to get in touch with someone.

In class, Alicia is stressed because Matt isn’t returning her texts. Her friends watch the same police footage until the teacher tries to confiscate their phones. The principal then announces it’s going to be a half-day.

Nick meets Cal at a diner, and it turns out Cal is his dealer. In case you’re still missing the point that Cal is shady and not the upstanding young man you thought he was, he’s wearing a baseball cap now. Cal’s not happy that Nick’s parents showed up at his family’s house and Nick’s not happy that Cal’s drugs were apparently laced with something. Cal is offended. Either way, Nick needs something to get what he saw out of his head. Cal convinces him to stay, hugs him, offers him some food, and I’m like, “Cal is going to kill his ass.”

Sure enough, Cal takes Nick to the Aqueduct where all the shady shit in L.A. goes down. He tries to kill him, they struggle, and Cal gets shot with his own gun. Worst drug dealer ever. 

Perhaps influenced by their earlier bonding, and with no one else to call (I mean, if you can’t trust your dealer…), Nick calls Travis, who arrives with Madison. And when they hear him ranting about killing Calvin, Madison blames herself as they drive to the body, assuming that Calvin went looking for Nick to be a good friend.

They find his car, but no body. Nick is just about through and probably thinks he IS going crazy. They get in the truck, and encounter walker Calvin in the tunnel. He tries to bite Madison, Nick hits him with the truck repeatedly. They FINALLY see what we’ve all known was coming: shit got real.

Fear TWD - S1E1 - Walker Cal

Score | 9.5/10Overall Thoughts: 
  • Love the way Frank Dillane is playing Nick.
  • Poor dead Matt.
  • I don’t know why people were saying the teenagers on this show are annoying. The most annoying one (Chris) had about 45 seconds of screen time. I had no problems with Nick or Alicia and I HATE teenagers on TV.
  • Should be interesting to discuss on the podcast – as long as people remember these characters have not seen The Walking Dead, and beyond that, they exist in the same universe where zombie lore isn’t a thing in fiction.


About Nina Perez (1391 Articles)
Nina Perez is the founder of Project Fandom. She is also the author of a YA series of books, "The Twin Prophecies," and a collection of essays titled, "Blog It Out, B*tch." Her latest books, a contemporary romance 6-book series titled Sharing Space, are now available on for Kindle download. She has a degree in journalism, works in social media, lives in Portland, Oregon, and loves Idris Elba. When not watching massive amounts of British television or writing, she is sketching plans to build her very own TARDIS. She watches more television than anyone you know and she's totally fine with that.

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