As if zombies weren’t scary enough on their own, Fear The Walking Dead brings about an apocalyptic scenario a little too close to home, screenwriting even the likes of Mr. Robot season 1 haven’t yet covered.
From anarchistic rioting to California blackouts, this past week’s episode took the breakdown of society to a grisly new level by incorporating flesh eating zombies randomly into the mix, and just when you thought the chaos would finally end, we saw a blackout occur over the entire city of Los Angeles as our main cast fled the outskirts of the riots into the safeways of the suburbs.
The postmodern realism interwoven into this prequel leaves little to the imagination and much to be feared if there were to occur a zombie outbreak in the here and now amongst the plethora of disgruntled political groups on the brink of becoming angry mobs. From liberal outrage at racial inequalities to libertarian refusals to disarm, and then to anarchist anti-authoritarian desires to dismember society outright, we’ve seen an ever-increasing phenomenon of protests and riots occurring around the globe. To say the title of this show is on the mark is an understatement.
Perhaps the scariest part of the riot scene in this weekend’s episode was the cop-on-cop zombie eating clip and one of our protagonists, a teenage boy, grabbing his dad’s attention to it. At this point, the demonstration turns from civilians against cops to an every-man-for-himself all-out riot; so much is happening at once that it’s difficult to even tell the difference between a protester and a zombie, a cop from the flesh-eating undead and a radical from a peacekeeping policeman. A dividing line is always there in a protest, but a zombie riot carries unforeseen consequences and violence that becomes unpredictable and outright senseless. You don’t want to be caught in this sort of unstable environment, and Fear The Walking Dead perfectly captures this sensibility.
Social media has yet to become the feeding frenzy it once was over The Walking Dead, but I give this show another month and a few more episodes of this unnerving beginning to the zombie apocalypse before people realize that it’s a much closer-to-home story than its predecessor.