‘Fear The Walking Dead’ Review: ‘PADRE’ Is Another Shark-Jumping Disaster

Before I lay into Fear The Walking Dead’s Season 7 midseason finale, before I get the knives out, I have to give credit where it’s due.

Alycia Debnam-Carey does a great job with what she’s given. She is a talented actor who has barely even gotten a moment of screen-time this season and now that she’s finally gotten her own episode (but only one and change!) she’s brought her A-game. Bravo.

Okay. Knives out. Spoilers follow.

Queen Alicia

Last season’s half-baked villain, Teddy, for reasons we will never understand took Alicia to the bunker he’d set up for his people and then left her there locked inside so he could go back up and shoot his missiles and get killed by his own stupid plan.

She discovers that she’s not alone. All of Teddy’s people are there and they greet her as the Chosen One. “Teddy told us you would come lead us!” they tell her, though why he would do that and why they would follow a total stranger who doesn’t even want to be there is beyond me.

She tries to escape and runs into Will who we met back in the first episode of the season. Will ended up getting tossed off the tower by a weirdly murderous Strand because, uh, Strand didn’t want Alicia to find him (though he still put a giant beacon on top of the tower and there are lights on in all the windows).

In any case, Alicia and Will try to make their escape and things go sideways. Alicia is bitten and uses her weird pipe weapon to saw her arm off to stop the infection from spreading. Outside of Al’s SWAT van, the stupid pipe is the dumbest weapon on this show and I don’t think you could actually saw an arm off with it.

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She makes Will promise that if she turns he’ll put her down and not let her hurt anyone. When she wakes up in bed later, her arm bandaged, she’s inexplicably angry at Will despite him . . . not doing anything wrong.

She didn’t turn, she didn’t hurt anyone and so he didn’t kill her. Why would she want him to kill her if she didn’t turn? Why even bother going through the excruciating pain of sawing your arm off in the first place? She had a fever, but clearly Will made the correct choice and waited to see if she’d turn before offing her.

But Fear’s writers want us to believe that Alicia would suddenly get irrationally angry, go into a tizzy and essentially make poor Will feel so bad that he leaves the bunker entirely—despite never having left it once since the apocalypse started.

So that’s annoying and just another out-of-character moment for one of the OG characters.

Will leaves her a letter apologizing for “not keeping his promise” to her—which, recall dear readers, was to kill her if she had a fever!

We also know from the first episode that Will was in love with Alicia, but this episode does next to nothing to establish that level of bond between them. They have a few scenes together and then he leaves. That’s it.

Looking For Padre In All The Wrong Places

In the present timeline, Alicia wants Morgan to help her find Padre—which we discover is a secret government installation of some kind that they learned about in the bunker. Will’s people were led by a US Senator who had all this classified intel. They were all, to a man, slaughtered by Teddy’s people (except for Will who managed to hide). The zombified Senator was kept around as an ornament and executioner of sorts.

In the present, Alicia is using the zombie Senator to lead her to Padre. Her people, the scavengers she’s leading, are Teddy’s old cult who previously were just running around murdering everyone. I’m not really sure why she’d want to bring them to a place where they could just do it all again, but okay Fear The Walking Dead. Okay.

Anyways, Morgan is probably at his most reasonable in a long time this episode, echoing what we’re all thinking: We don’t know if Padre is real but we’re pretty sure zombies can’t lead you to places because they’re not living, sentient beings anymore.

Strand’s people chase them and Strand himself shows up at one point. He’s shocked to find Alicia and pleads with her to work together because, um, I guess now he wants her help despite not wanting it before or something. This all makes complete sense.

At one point Zombie Senator bites her arm but she’s not worried. This is when we get the flashback to her sawing off her arm and realize that her current arm, from elbow to fingers, is a prosthetic. Easy enough to come by and install in the apocalypse.

We learn a bit later that she is still infected and there’s no way to save her. She’s just . . . got a minor zombie infection or something. They turn you a lot slower. Weeks or months, even! Not your typical zombie infection that changes you in mere hours. They’re totally not just making crap up as they go along.

Zombie Senator leads them not to Padre but to the tower (which may as well be Padre—it’s a place where people can go be safe that doesn’t just let anyone in, helpfully preventing a repeat of what went down at the bunker to Will’s people!)

It looks like she and Morgan might just take Strand up on his offer when she sees a zombified Will. Now, Will could have died in any number of ways. Zombies could have gotten him, for instance. He was a total noob, having lived in relative safety in the bunker instead of out in the thick of things.

But she leaps directly to the conclusion that it was Strand. Now, sure, it was Strand so she’s not wrong, but Strand is someone she’s spent years with. He’s pretty much her oldest living friend at this point. How are we supposed to believe that she’d jump to the worst possible conclusion about a man she cares about? It’s just such awful writing and characterization it’s painful to watch.

“You have taken so much from me,” she says angrily. “And now I’m going to take something from you.”

“I don’t want to do this with you, Alicia,” Strand says.

“It’s too late for that!” she says. “I am taking the one thing that matters to you the most. I am taking that tower!”

“I’ll protect it if I must.”

“Then we’re going . . . to war!”

God what drivel. The one thing Strand cares about most is Strand. Not some tower. “I’ll protect it if I must” is almost laugh-out-loud bad, made only slightly less embarrassing by the line that comes next.

So the next eight episodes will be another drawn out battle, this time between a dying Alicia and her allies on the submarine (such a great place to hole up!) and Strand in the tower. Maybe they’re just preparing for the death of both characters. Colman Domingo and Alycia Debnam-Carey can’t truly want to stay on this burning ship much longer.

Bad. Very bad. Very, very bad television. The worst show I’ve seen all year by a long mile. Then again, it’s usually the worst show I watch in any given year. Season 6 was a lot better, though. It’s really gone downhill, almost to Season 5 levels of awfulness. I can’t understand why it’s still on the air, and why the people responsible for ruining it are still in charge.

MORE FROM FORBESDear AMC, It’s Time To Take Fear The Walking Dead’s Problems Seriously

Scattered thoughts:

  • Why is Alicia so determined to help “her people” when these are just Teddy’s leftovers and her actual people she’s just been reunited with. It’s so inexplicable.
  • This show has quite literally validated Strand’s entire modus operandi while still casting him as this mustache-twirling villain. The Senator’s people were killed because they let strangers in without vetting them. Strand isn’t going to make that mistake but the geniuses who write this show think that’s a bad thing!? Riiiiiight.
  • I can’t get over how bad all of this is. Zombies do not lead you to secret government bases. Nobody would believe that, especially not Alicia. Unless she is now more stupid and naïve than she was in the first two seasons.
  • Also also also! How would Strand killing Will do anything to Alicia? He didn’t know where she was, didn’t know what their relationship was really like, had no way to convey to her that he was dead. It’s total nonsense. And now she’s going to take revenge on one of her oldest friends because he killed a guy she barely even knew. Yes, this is all very sensible.
  • Why’d she even give Will her pendant—the one thing she has from Madison still? She knew him for two minutes.
  • Also she can’t really be dying form a walker bite. It’s not possible. It goes against everything this show and The Walking Dead more broadly have established about bites. Maybe it’s another type of infection. How could she possibly know one way or another.
  • Make it stop make it stop make it stop!
  • Clean house, AMC. Clean house and hire some actual talent to save this disaster. Or just mercy kill this shambling, mostly dead tire fire.

What did you all think of the midseason finale? Let me know on Twitter or Facebook.

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