Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 12 Review: Sonny Boy
When you’re dealing with someone as deranged as Victor Strand, you have to be prepared for anything.
Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 12 could have been a strong outing of this struggling post-apocalyptic zombie drama, but the execution fell completely and utterly flat.
All of the pieces were there to make this one of the most shocking episodes in a long time.
We had two big deaths, backstabbing, and lots of zombie drama.
But the writers seem intent on making Strand come across as this merciless leader, and honestly, he’s more a cartoon villain than anything.
Colman Domingo continues to act his butt off, so it’s a shame the quality of the writing does not reflect the people playing these roles.
A paranoid Strand upped the stakes because it was obvious he would unleash holy hell inside the tower.
The idea of baby Mo being missing was a bitter pill to swallow, because how can a baby go missing in a tower that’s seemingly armed to the high heavens with people who fearlessly believe in Strand?
June is resourceful, but the series is giving her a lot more credit than it should.
She can make miracles happen, sure, but managing to hide a baby who has been tethered to danger since it took its first breath?
Not buying it.
June’s incessant need to save people was on full display here, and we’ve witnessed darker shades of her recently, which might get darker as the bodies pile up in this battle between zombies, radiation, and cartoon villains.
June’s grief for her husband was short-lived because her father-in-law entered the picture, but now that he’s also kicked the bucket, we should probably expect to watch the full extent of her fried come out to play.
Grief can take many forms, and mourning the loss of two people as opposed to one is unimaginable.
June is a crucial component of Strand’s plan because he knows she’ll be able to patch his soldiers up when the war inevitably reaches the tower.
It might be the case that June focuses her time on trying to save Charlie, which will all be for naught. The poor teenager was at death’s door during her small segment on this bizarre hour.
It seems the writers are dead set on writing out Charlie before Madison’s return because Madison will struggle to co-exist with the person who killed her son.
If you watch Fear the Walking Dead online, you know Madison has proven to be a cutthroat person since the beginning, so we need to take that into consideration.
Then again, the current showrunners effectively rewrite the history of characters on a weekly basis, so who knows how Madison will be when she returns.
John Dorie Sr.’s death was tragic, and shocking. He knew he would succumb to the radiation sooner or later, so he figured the best foot forward was to remove baby Mo from the tower to allow Morgan and his gang to take a strike at it.
It wasn’t a bad decision, but it didn’t really track with the John we’ve grown to love over the past two seasons.
There was a desire from John to go out swinging, taking every chance he could get, but deep down, he struggled with his actions throughout “Sonny Boy.”
Wading through the walkers with a song recorded by him and Grace playing made for one of the corniest scenes in franchise history — and I’ve watched The Walking Dead World Beyond.
Why didn’t John opt for some walker guts to make the mission more of a success? Why didn’t he kill Strand instead of pistol-whipping him?
These are questions the writers should have asked themselves, or at the very least, given answers to on the show.
It’s hard to imagine John going to such lengths to allow himself to die in the end.
He was so devoted to change inside the tower and making things better for the people closest to him, even if he had to scheme his way to the top spot.
Giving him so much screentime seemed like a waste in the grand scheme of things if this was how he was always planned to go out.
There was a real opportunity here to either make him a proxy for Morgan or to have him embrace his darker side.
He would never go full-fledged evil because his arc was tied to the takedown of Teddy, even for years before we picked up with the characters.
Howard’s death was also a shocker, but we should have known it was on the horizon following the sudden information dump about his family.
Despite the glaring issues with the writing, the directing and acting during that particular death were on point.
The rain added to the mood of the scene, setting the stage for what went down.
Like John, there was a lot of potential with Howard. He was open and honest about the needs and wants of the tower, so it was sad to see him taken down a few levels … or a full tower in a matter of scenes.
Strnad’s warning to Morgan about killing Grace, June, and everyone inside the tower was wild, proving once again that he’s not to be messed with.
Madison’s return, the resolution of the war, and the big reset as the show moves production for Season 8 means that there might be an end to this madness in sight.
I know sometimes it must be difficult to read my reviews on the show, but I continue watching because I know there’s a lot of potential.
Will the show find a way to harness that potential again?
The buck falls with the writing, and unless we get some new creatives on the show, it will continue to have this rollercoaster-like trajectory.
What are your thoughts on John and Howard’s deaths?
Do you think they could have been handled better?
What are your thoughts on Strand’s warning?
Hit the comments below.
Fear the Walking Dead continues Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.