'Fear The Walking Dead' Vs. 'The Walking Dead' Pilot: How Do Rick & Nick's Journeys Compare?
While I ultimately enjoyed and am looking forward to more from Fear The Walking Dead, the pilot of the AMC spinoff makes it incredibly apparent why The Walking Dead started after the zombie apocalypse had already destroyed the world. It's much more interesting to watch skydivers mid-air than watching them fly into place, put on parachutes, and go over the procedure. However, in other respects I couldn't help but compare Fear The Walking Dead to The Walking Dead. I hope you've seen the season premiere already, because I'm about to spoil you faster than the onset of the walker virus.
First of all, our protagonist this time around is named Nick, not Rick. If that weren't enough, his presumed love interest (or just friend) is Gloria, instead of Lori. I wonder when Nick's frenemy "Shawn" is going to show up, instead of Shane. Is he going to meet a Darren and Karen on his journey too? Jokes aside, the spinoff's opening scene was a fun parallel to the Walking Dead pilot "Days Gone By." In the original, Rick wakes up from a coma in a hospital and finds the world in array. Nick wakes up from a drug trip in a church, finds the outside world still normal as ever, and ends up in the hospital. Both Rick and Nick could be considered anti-heroes, and both of them got into a gun fight with a close friend — but while Rick and Shane are on the same side and someone else puts Rick in a coma, it's Nick that ends up shooting Cal. who becomes his very first friend-walker.
I also noticed the red letters "KEEP OUT" and "WHY" at the church, which was reminiscent of the infamous "DON'T OPEN: DEAD INSIDE" writing at the hospital, not to mention other uses of graffiti as a warning on The Walking Dead. Both shows also used religious imagery. However, the final parallel between Fear The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead, particularly in the pilot, is the traffic jam. The opening scene of The Walking Dead shows us Rick driving through the abandoned traffic of Atlanta. In Fear The Walking Dead, Madison and Travis find themselves in a traffic jam that foreshadows the destruction to come.
Meanwhile, the biggest difference between the two pilots is that while Rick is alone and finds Morgan, Nick has people that he's trying to escape from while he makes sense of his surroundings. The community that we'll be following during this series hasn't come together yet, but we can see the seeds already. In a way, it's like an inside-out version of The Walking Dead. While the two shows may never crossover, I'm glad they've found creative ways to connect.
Image: Justin Lubin/AMC