Fear The Walking Dead is one of those shows that I continue to watch despite my better judgment for one reason and one reason only: You, dear readers.
Many of you, like me, have stuck with The Walking Dead and its spinoffs because of the sunk cost. We’ve watched these shows for so long, we feel weird giving up on them now. We watch Fear The Walking Dead even though now we have to watch scenes where inspirational acoustic guitar music plays over really dopey kissing scenes.
The kiss in question—between new character Ali and veteran character Charlie—has me more than a little puzzled. Ali is played by Ashton Arbab, a nineteen year old actor, and his character is presented as being older than Charlie in the show. He seems to be about 19 years old.
Charlie, meanwhile, tells everyone that she “turns 13 this week” which means she’s apparently…still twelve? But the entire episode is set up as a budding romance between the two that, of course, ends in tragedy when Ali is thrown from the tower rooftop (because the new rule in FTWD is that any newly introduced character must be killed by the end of the episode now).
In any case, we get a very cheesy, deeply creepy love scene between a 19 year old and a girl who just turned 13. She’s also dying of radiation poisoning and it’s her birthday.
That’s . . . a bizarre age gap, even if Alexa Nisenson, who plays Charlie, is nearly 16 in real life.
It’s almost as bizarre as Charlie getting massively exposed to radiation, somehow, in this one episode, simply by walking through a building that Ali also walked through, and apparently all her rescuers?
It appears Charlie is going to die from radiation poisoning now, after all this time. This is a girl who has survived nuclear blasts, traipsed all around nuclear-blasted Texas, and is now all of a sudden so exposed to radiation she’s just a goner.
This show is terrible.
You don’t establish a romantic connection in one episode between a new and an established character. You have to let these things develop over time. I was thinking this and then, when she convinces him to turn off the beacon for her—a mission that Morgan sent her on for reasons—I jotted this note down:
OH. Charlie et alia are just gaming the system. It’s a con job. Set up against a totally new character. That’s almost as bad. Or…wait it’s not a con—Charlie actually is this sick? She looks fine but she’s suddenly gravely ill and it wasn’t a con she set up with June?
I hate all these characters with a burning passion. Why are we concerned in the slightest with the fate of Charlie—aka the Nick killer? Why is Strand suddenly this super efficient yet deeply hated villain who tosses people off the roof of his tower? Why are people suddenly calling him Victor all the time?
Here are more notes I made as I watched this episode (I don’t usually take notes in shows but I have to just to keep up and/or stay awake with Fear).
My FTWD Notes
Charlie wants into the tower. She will be 13, but she looks at least as old as actor Alexa Nisenson who is almost 16.
Everyone keeps saying ‘Victor’ instead of Strand. Why?
This dialogue is so bad. “None of the other scouts had her skills.”
“What skills are those?”
“She can sneak in and out of places undetected.”
I hate all these characters. New guy, Ali, is definitely going to die before this episode is over.
Now Ali is worried he’ll die going out scouting, but moments before he wanted to become a ranger. Okay.
Why do they keep introducing new characters? “That’s what separates the caterpillars from the butterflies.” Oy vey.
In the bowling alley, most of the lanes have the pins all set up still. Of course the exact moment Ali and Charlie arrive, bad guys show up. Texas is tiny.
Why is he surprised she hasn’t bowled before? She’s “twelve” so most of her life has been in the apocalypse.
Charlie knows who Muhammad Ali was? Riiiight.
Ali fools the people who capture him who, despite having guns, are immediately devoured by zombies. Ali is almost devoured by a zombie but Charlie saves him.
As you can see, I trailed off on the note taking. But the next bit is when Ali finds out that Charlie was actually sent on a mission from Morgan and then traps her in an elevator to either get eaten by zombies or starve to death (they were on a mission to find elevator parts to fix the elevators at the tower, eye-roll eye-roll eye-roll).
But then, inexplicably, he has a change of heart. Such a big change of heart that he rescues her and then, despite being a total jerk to her after she saved his life, they fall in love. Oh swoon of swoons! Then she collapses because RADIATION BAD. SHE DIDN’T WEAR HER DIY FALLOUT MASK.
Then she wakes up in the tower and Ali, sweet gentle Ali, sets all of Strand’s butterflies loose as a present to her. And then they dance even though moments before she was too weak to move. And they kiss (gross, it’s her 13th birthday and he’s 19!) and laugh, and dance and laugh. Cheesy terrible music plays.
Is this a zombie show? What the hell is this crap? Good grief I want to use swear words in this review but it’s not my Substack and I have to maintain a certain level of professionalism here. Maybe I’ll start writing expletive-laden versions of these reviews at diabolical.
I am basically Joe Pesci in Home Alone right now in my head.
Anyways, Ali is now so smitten with Charlie (maybe because he taught her how to bowl or something?) that his previous loyalty and desire to be one of Strand’s rangers goes straight out the window. He leaves to turn off the beacon for her right away and, of course, Strand’s goons are there waiting because they, uh, knew all along that turning off the light on the roof was her plan or something.
Goon in the glasses—chief Goon—I don’t care one tiny little bit what his name is—says “Aha! Now we know what she was up to! And you’re part of it you bad, bad, naughty little boy!”
“Die, fiend!” Ali shrieks as he attacks Chief Goon. The other goons want to shoot him but Chief Goon makes them stand down. “DIE I SAY!” Ali yarbles again, thwacking at him like Will Smith at the Oscars.
So Chief Goon tosses him off the roof, which makes Charlie . . . mildly upset. I guess she wasn’t that into him. She’s mad—and June is also very mad—and that old John Dorie Replacement Grandpa is, uh, pretending to be on Chief Goon’s side so that he can ingratiate himself with Strand.
Honestly, ladies and gentlemen, they just aired an episode of TV in which a 19 year old total newcomer has a romance with a just-turned-13 year old teenager. They could have made her 16. They could have omitted to verbalize her age. Instead they put that creepy crap in there and I think that says just about everything you need to know about this show and its talentless, show-destroying pair of showrunners. AMC why do you continue to employ these jokers? Have you no shame? Aren’t you embarrassed yet?
Because everyone involved in Fear The Walking Dead, from the executives who finance it to the directors and writers, to the cast, and certainly to the producers, should be very, very embarrassed by now. If you weren’t before, with all the contrivances and ridiculous plot holes and beer balloons and ethanol trucks, surely setting up this deeply screwed up romance should do the trick.
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