Nick goes on an existential journey covered in blood in Fear the Walking Dead‘s mid-season premiere titled ‘Grotesque’. And while we missed Madison, Alicia, Victor, Chris, and Travis dearly, it was good to see the lengths this survivor is willing to go to prove a point. Nick can’t die.
The Good – It’s All About Nick
This Nick centric episode helped us go full circle in understanding his pain and motivations in leaving his family.
In the flashbacks, spurred on by dehydration after that lady kicked him out of his new home with a bat, we got an opportunity to understand why he’s always had father issues. The lack of a male parental figure that cared for him or reciprocated his feelings, mixed with his sudden death and an overbearing mother, left Nick unsatisfied and disconnected from his life. This drove him into the arms of drugs that could take his pain and lack of understanding from his mother, away. He didn’t want to feel anymore.
This continues in the apocalypse. He doesn’t want to feel. That’s why he’s following after the dead like a baby duckling while covered in blood. For some reason when he looks into the eyes of the dead he sees himself. They are disconnected like him. They are dead inside like him.
Kudos to the writers for bringing back Nick’s walker girlfriend before she turned and during those trippy hallucinations on the highway. Would like to see more of her!
The Bad – Eating a Dog, Drinking Pee, and More
There’s no doubt that Nick’s used to roughing it. Remember in the beginning when he was doing drugs and living in an abandoned and filthy church? This episode made his drug hideout look like a spa.
He spent 90% of the episode covered in various amounts of blood. And when he took off his blood soaked shirt it looked like he had a mean tan until you realized it was just…blood. After pricking his fingers over and over with the cactus bit, my only hope was that he made sure that shirt was needle free. Imagine putting that on after?
When dehydration started to set in Nick didn’t let that stop him. He left his family because he believed that he wasn’t capable of dying and that the dead weren’t that bad. (*cough* That’s the same thing Celia thought and look how that ended.) Even alone he’s trying to prove his loved ones wrong. So he drinks his own pee, eats the remains of a dog that attacked him, and joins a gang of walkers.
If Nick can’t die, and he believes that he’s just like the dead, then why not? It doesn’t harm them to eat the dead or barely have supplies, so it shouldn’t harm him, right? Wrong. He’s deluding himself because he’s scared to face the fact that he’s different from his family and that it’s ok. Acknowledging that would mean that he’d have to face why he did drugs, his fathers death, and why he destroyed his life.
And you know for a fact he isn’t ready to face anything head on. That’d be too convenient.
The Ugly – A New Community Introduced
When has introducing a new community ever gone well on Fear the Walking Dead or The Walking Dead? Oh yeah, never! Why? Because they’re breeding grounds for the insane dreamers that can’t see the reality of what is going on beyond their walls.
Walled communities shelter their minds from the fact that the world has evolved and that they need to transform with it. If they don’t change with the world around them, they are doomed to die because of it.
Nick might think he’s found a group with similar beliefs, but it won’t take him long until he realizes how different they are from him. It’ll go either of two ways:
- Nick discovers a dangerous secret about this community that makes him sick to his stomach. All of a sudden he’s questioning what he believes in and wonders if he should bolt and find his family. He bolts and takes Luciana with him.
- Nick discovers that these people haven’t gone to the extremes he has and that they have no understanding of his connection to the walkers. He bolts to find those that do understand and leaves Luciana.
Either way it’ll end in disaster and the community will crumble. After all, nothing seemingly good lasts in the apocalypse.
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC at 9/8c.