Someone, please wake me from this nightmare!
Fear the Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 3 was chock full of twists, turns -- and at times, confusion -- as we followed Madison's frustrating encounters with the Vultures in the past while dealing with Morgan, Althea and John's story in the present.
The beginning of the episode started out with optimism and hope. But by the end of the hour, we were left with anything but that.
I've always favored Fear the Walking Dead over its parent show in recent seasons due to this series' significantly smaller group of characters. Part of The Walking Dead's issues over the past few seasons stem from its over-bloated cast.
When there are far too many characters -- especially when confined to a relatively short 16 episode season -- it’s very easy for the focus and writing to take a hit.
Where the writing quality on The Walking Dead has stumbled a bit over the past couple of seasons due to the reasons mentioned above, Fear the Walking Dead has seen a dramatic improvement in this department. Not only in the quality, but in the overall consistency of its tone.
There's no question that The Walking Dead is the more popular of the two, but Fear the Walking Dead obviously has more passion put into it, and the result between the two is very apparent.
Another issue lies in The Walking Dead following too closely to its source material, and that doesn't always translate well from the page to the small screen. Whereas Fear the Walking Dead is its own entity and is allowed significantly more freedom to create its own world.
We're only three episodes into Fear the Walking Dead Season 4, and while I love the overall direction thus far, I'm still adjusting to the dual timelines. If you've seen even one episode of Once Upon A Time, you're well aware of that series' heavy reliance on flashbacks in its storytelling.
So, there's no surprise that former writers of OUAT, Andrew Chamblis and Ian Golfberg, introduced that same mechanism to Fear the Walking Dead.
It's a new approach to the series, and while I'm all for trying new things, this episode jumped back and forth a bit too frequently, that the pacing felt disrupted at times. It didn't take away from its overall enjoyment, but I could have done without a good two to three flashbacks.
Old habits die hard, I suppose.
Do you know how many times I've been zip tied?Althea
It's only been one episode since the Vultures were introduced, but they're already leaving their mark as the douchiest group of people we've come across on this series to date.
It was a big decision for Nick to finally leave the confines of The Diamond and go on a run with Madison. Nick obviously had something to prove and felt responsible for the turnip failure.
Mel's group has already proven to be a resourceful bunch, and it's obvious that they have enough numbers in their group to scavenge a wide enough range to leave not even a crumb behind for Madison and Nick during their run.
Ennis was already cleaning house when Madison and Nick showed up, leaving them with nothing. The guy was being a huge asshat and goading Nick did not help that first impression. It was very easy to share in Nick's frustration and hatred toward the group.
The focus on the present timeline during the episode was far more intriguing as we got a chance to see more interaction with Morgan, Althea, and John as they were held hostage by the Clark family, Strand, and Luciana.
The interaction between Morgan and Nick was especially engrossing and ended up playing a pivotal role later in the in the episode.
It was good to see them all eventually work together toward a common goal. There is some trust forming between the two parties, and it was a great start to a potential alliance.
With the Vultures still looming in the present timeline, Alicia and company will likely need all the help they can get at this point.
The only thing that felt bizarre was Nick trying to run after Ennis' El Camino. I can understand Nick's rage-fueled determination to go after the Vultures, but did he really expect to catch up to it on foot?
And how in the world did Morgan with his gimpy leg catch up to Nick fast enough to save him from being overwhelmed by walkers? It's a good thing Nick encountered "Zen" Morgan and not "I'll rip your freakin' guts out through your abdomen" Morgan.
I'll let those small gripes go, as they were the only noticeable issues in what was an otherwise exceptional installment.
I'm glad Nick finally killed Ellis. It was far more satisfying than when Nick shockingly shot Jeremiah Otto dead on Fear the Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 8. There is still so much that we don't know what transpired between the Vultures and The Diamond, but whatever happened must have been pretty bad for Nick to have such hatred toward them.
Given the rate of flashbacks during this episode, I'm sure that will be revealed sooner rather than later.
Thankfully, Morgan went back for Nick and attempted to instill the same wisdom that Eastman did for him when Morgan was in a similar place. Morgan has been brought back from the brink more times than I can count, so he's a perfect living example of how there's always a way back from the darkness.
There was a moment that I believed that Morgan's new purpose would be to save Nick from his dark path, and they would eventually bond and form an everlasting friendship full of rainbows and butterflies.
[to Althea] You're a puzzling creature.Strand
However, any hope of that came crashing down when Nick was fatally shot by Charlie.
You read that correctly: Nick just died! Gone, split, outta here, kicked the bucket, no longer breathing, DEAD!!!
I'm still coming to terms with it myself. I remained motionless with my jaw on the floor and drool pooling in my lap for a solid five minutes following the credits. It was such an immense shock, and it came out of absolutely nowhere.
So far, it feels as if Fear the Walking Dead Season 4 has been taking an out with the old in with the new approach, from the showrunners right down to the death of a series' original.
It was one hell of a bold move -- especially only three episodes into the young season -- but I applaud the series for doing something completely unexpected. The final moments will haunt me for ages.
If there is optimism to be found, it's that just because Nick's character was killed off, doesn't mean that his story is over. There is plenty of Nick's story left to tell within the context of flashbacks, but now we all know how that story ends.
It's an interesting direction for the series to take, and just because Frank Dillane's character will remain on the series through flashbacks, doesn't make Nick's death in the present timeline any less significant..
But, no matter how you look at it, Nick's death is a massive blow to Alicia, Luciana, and Madison, and will undoubtedly have a significant impact on them and the rest of the season.
Again, I applaud the writers for making such a daring move in killing off Nick. It's one of those bittersweet moments, but with the scale tilting ever so slightly toward bitter!
Mainly because Nick was one of the few interesting characters that I've always enjoyed getting to know. One of the best aspects about the character was how just when you thought you had Nick completely figured out, he did something that made you reconsider what you thought you knew up to that point.
Morgan: So, to answer your question: It was my wife, my son, and my friends. That's who I lost, before I lost myself. I know where you are, Nick, cause I was there. I didn't know how to make it stop. I didn't know if I wanted it to stop.
I don't know what prompted Charlie to shoot Nick. Maybe it had something to do with Nick killing Ennis moments earlier? Regardless, the look on Charlie's face after pulling the trigger was a look of immediate regret.
Again, there is still so much that we don't know regarding Madison and Nick's prior encounter with the Vultures, but we'll get brought up to speed soon enough.
The bluebonnets held a significant meaning to Nick during his run with his mother, which immediately makes me toss out the theory that Madison might not be alive in the present timeline anymore either.
It's possible that she got killed during an altercation with the Vultures, which would explain Nick's quest for revenge and why Madison hasn't made an appearance in the present yet.
You could argue that it's too obvious to think Madison could be dead, but what other motivation would Alicia and Nick have in locating and eliminating Mel's group?
Fear the Walking Dead has always been much easier to follow narratively than The Walking Dead due to its significantly smaller number of characters. And now, following Nick's death, that number has dwindled even further.
Now let's hear from you now, TV Fanatics!
What did you think of "Good Out Here"? Are you still as shocked as I am by Nick's death? What will it mean for the future of the series? How will the loss of Nick affect Alicia and Luciana?
Hit the comments below and let me know your thoughts.
If you can stomach to sit through Nick's emotional death again, you can watch Fear the Walking Dead online right here at TV Fanatic.
Fear the Walking Dead returns with a brand new episode on Sunday, May 6th on AMC at 9/8c.
Steven Ford is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.