WARNING: This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead
Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis), I fear you are not long for this world. You are a good guy. Hopeful. And probably dead.
In Fear the Walking Dead, Season 1, Episode 3 (“The Dog”) many of the cast begin to confront the new reality that is facing them. Nick (Frank Dillane) hesitates only a second before proclaiming of the undead Clark family neighbor, Susan, “She’s not sick. She’s dead.” Madison (Kim Dickens) is about to put Susan down, recognizing that even though the two were friends, what Susan had become made their friendship all the more reason to take a hammer to her. Daniel Salazar (Ruben Blades) closes the episode by declaring, “It’s already too late.”
And then there’s Travis. Travis – who starts the episode believing, “The police will have it all sorted out in an hour…two tops,” and ends the show just as naïve: “The cavalry’s arrived. It’s going to get better now.” This after watching the cavalry put a bullet through Susan’s skull. There could not be any better evidence that the police don’t have anything figured out.
One thing anyone who has watched The Walking Dead has learned is that the nice guys, especially the hopeful ones, don’t last long in the post-walker world. Perhaps it is that they make themselves vulnerable by not accepting all of the ugliness that the world has become. Maybe they are just not built for survival in such a place. Time after time in The Walking Dead, the nicest, most principled, hopeful don’t survive. Think Dale, Hershel, and Tyreese.
Travis certainly appears to be Fear the Walking Dead’s resident, principled, nice guy. He is the guy who told Madison that caring for her drug-addicted son and being insulted by her snarky teenage daughter is exactly what he signed on for in their relationship. He is the guy who protects not just his son, but his ex-wife, as the chaos of the dead is closing in.
Daniel calls him weak. Even Madison, his love, tells Travis’ ex-wife, Liza (Elizabeth Rodriguez), “If I ever end up like [zombie Susan], I need you to take care of it. Don’t let Travis do it. It would break him.” Contrast this with young Carl (Chandler Riggs) of The Walking Dead, who had to “take care of” his own mother, also the mother to a brand new newborn baby, before she turned. Carl is still surviving. I fear Travis may not be so lucky.
When Daniel teaches Travis’ son, Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) to protect himself with a gun, Travis tells Madison, “You know how I feel about guns.” Travis – you’d better get really comfortable with them quickly. Or with a machete. A big, red-handled machete.
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