Friday, April 22, 2016

"Fear The Walking Dead" - Resurrection of Nick

This will be somewhat a personal post. Those who know me, will probably know why.
There is a talk about the season 2 blurring the clear view of the apocalypse as it was seen through the eyes of three families and a shady mane name Strand. I find it somehow different. What's better than this setting? Not Los Angeles, a big city with places (where new zombies can roam, OK), but a boat? Surely, for fans of the gore elements, it won't work. What we get here is rather a slicing-and-dicing of relationships and families, already strained by the events. We get to see that stupid people are acting stupid regardless of the circumstances (read: Alicia in every-damn scene).
The first season of Fear The Walking Dead left the main characters (all of which deserve to perish, if you ask me) boarding the ship called Abigail. The second season picked upon the deck, and this way we got a very condensed soup of completely different characters, and worse, who felt estranged among themselves. There is no love lost among them. And I watched the first season not growing fond of any character; the first episode of the second season did not make anything different.

And then the second episode came and made me see things differently. Maybe not all things but mainly Nick. I'll be honest, I did not like him, despite his rare cute moments. Maybe I should feel pity for his situation, but the vast, frozen wastelands of my heart did not feel anything. Especially when he disconnected a sick person from a morphine drop just to get his fix. That made me angry, despite knowing he couldn't help it, it was the hunger's doing. Or his demanding, entitled tone when he asked for pills. He was egoistic and really unpleasant at times.
We don't know exactly why he started to do drugs, and the hard ones, to add. All we know it's the fact he'd been a junkie for years, bound to remain on a path to self-destruction.
But then the apocalypse happened, and he was one of the first people to grasp the new reality. Granted, at first he was unsure whether all of it was real or was it his heroin speaking. But he quickly understood the danger.

Turns out, he's been perceptive of the new reality, of the new world, and possesses a quite heightened sense of self-preservation. His need to get a fix is finally slightly subsiding and matching the growing need of survival. I did not understand at first why the creators would make a nihilistic junkie one of the main characters. But then this second episode came, and lot of things started to make sense. It was through his eyes we were introduced to the end of the world - a confusion whether it's real or not. We were bound to Nick the same way we were bound to Rick in The Walking Dead and Jim in 28 Days Later. And Nick, a character as flawed as anybody, became the hypostasis of our own imperfections and addictions.

This episode made me think of two things - what would have happened if Nick hasn't been involved with drugs, and second - who he was before he started doing them. Who knows, maybe he would have been a brilliant scientist? A great leader? An artist? We'll never know cause the heroin took the best part of his life, his brain and his pre-drugs personality. These "what ifs" disturbed me a great deal after watching the second episode. There are other people who could have been great and live long enough to give themselves to the world, if it wasn't for the craquelure on their psyche's wall. Nick has the sensitivity and sensibility, both of which have been dulled by drugs, but now they start to emerge.
But his another interesting trait emerged - a flexibility. He can adapt to his surroundings pretty quickly. It's good, it's actually a great trait to have during such times. This is what Alicia can't do, she's still living in the pre-zombie reality, as if nothing happened and the whole situation was just a phase that will pass like a rain (with must-have emo music through ear-plugs. Like, really? In the middle of f*cking zombie apocalypse??). Nick knows it has become the new reality, so he starts to understand the new rules.

He had a very warm and touchy little talk with this boy, he was the only one who interacted with their guests' kids, while both Alicia and Chris were emoting and sulking. Also, while on the boat at night, he sad something that paralleled what Carol said in The Walking Dead. He said that one great thing about the apocalypse is no noise pollution like airplanes. Carol said the same thing, albeit in a bit different tone and circumstances, she missed it. I don't believe it was just an accident. Maybe it was an indication of who may Nick become, the same way Carol did. They both started from the same point: Carol was subdued by her abusive husband, Nick - by drugs. Carol broke free when her husband was eaten by zombies at the camp. Nick was also somewhat liberated by the sheer emergence of the zombies - when his drugs companion had eaten another and he had to sober up fast.

He connected the dots quickly, figuring out the real plans of their temporary hosts on the island. He was rummaging through the pills to find something for him, but what he found was something else - a poison. And his junkie spidey senses started tingling. He shared his fears (nomen omen!) with his parents what led to the avalanche of happenings.
But he starts to take the initiative, he starts to act, not only to drift through the motions. He starts to display the shreds of how smart he is, or rather could have been, and it made me sad.

So that's it, Nick started to disturb me now.