“Ouroboros” is a Drastic Uptick in ‘Fear the Walking Dead’s Quality

All right, all right, all right… I’ll give credit to this show where it’s more than due and say that these last two episodes have been a marked improvement over the boring drivel that this series has shoveled on us since it first premiered.  I wasn’t able to do a review of last week’s installment, so let me just say… I liked it.  I thought it was good.  This week’s installment?  I liked it.  I thought it was good.

Fear the Walking Dead hasn’t wow’ed me yet and, honestly, I’m not expecting it to anytime soon, but “Ouroboros” – an episode title that, by the way, every fantasy/mystery television series is apparently contractually obligated to use at least once – has come the closest and, again, giving credit where credit is due, it wouldn’t have been possible without those stupidly infuriating Flight 462 shorts that have been airing all year.

So, anyway, the thing that has made the last two episodes work is that a lot of this family drama that was apparently supposed to drive the show has been shelved and they’ve been focusing on more important matters like, “Oh crap!  Zombies!” and “Oh crap!  We’re gonna die!”  The last two episodes have presented problems for the crew of the Minnow and they have been forced to overcome them.  What I have most enjoyed about the problems that they have faced is that the biggest takeaway that they have escaped with has been survival… that’s been their biggest and, in most cases, only prize.  Even little things that might seem like ancillary victories have been snatched away from their clutches and, to me, that makes the situation seem more real and even more desperate.

True, the characters are still making idiotic decisions.  Nick falling off the cliff and landing next to the infected was just stupid and Chris wandering off alone was painfully ridiculous.  Come on… it’s not a matter of if the undead will show up, it’s when and this knob not only put himself in danger, but his sister and everyone else as well.

Still, the stupid decisions are getting fewer in number and I did enjoy the organic way that Nick learned the guts camouflage trick demonstrating again that, out of everyone in the group, Nick is the one who is the ultimate survivor.

Charlie and Jake from Flight 462 make their brief appearance in this episode and, to be honest, it probably would have made zero impact on me if I had never seen Flight 462.   I don’t have a strong opinion on Jake either way, but I really like Charlie and her mother lioness approach to her injured friend and how she went all Life of Pi on everyone else in the boat just to protect him.   Thanks to Flight 462, these are characters I actually cared about and were emotionally invested in and made Strand’s sudden decision to cut them loose in the ocean that much more of a punch in the gut.

I’m pretty sure we’ve seen the last of them and, honestly, I kind of hope we have.  There’s something hauntingly tragic about their fates and how doomed they now appear.  Part of me kind of hopes that Charlie, at least, comes back as Morgan like character as I found her actually far more interesting than almost all of the show’s heavies, but I’m not holding my breath.

So, there you go… a drastic upturn for a series that seemed hopelessly lost at sea with plenty of dramatic reasons to keep watching to see where it goes.  Here’s hoping they can pull themselves out of their own angst-holes and make good TV.

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