If you watched the premiere of AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead last night, you may feel like all it did was make you yearn for the original series’ return (October 11th). The pilot was slow, the dialogue clunky, and though Kim Dickens (Gone Girl, Sons of Anarchy, House of Cards) is a fantastic actress, even she couldn’t seem to manage any enthusiasm. (The complete lack of chemistry between Madison and her fiance, Travis [Cliff Curtis] is a huge detriment.) While most of the actors appeared to be going through the cliched motions, there was one exception — Frank Dillane as Madison’s son, Nick. Drugged out and uncertain what’s real, Nick is the first Fear character to encounter a walker, and Dillane’s haunted performance was the best part of the hour. After wracking my brain through most of the show, trying to figure out why he looked so familiar, at first I thought it was simply Dillane’s resemblance to another actor who left a big impression on us during his youth:
Johnny Depp circa Benny and Joon:
But that’s not the only reason Dillane’s stuck in our brains; he also played a young, certain He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, aka Tom Riddle…
and, more recently, Dillane starred as (DJ) Riley’s friend, Shugs in the Wachowski’s excellent mind fork, Sense8;
Finally, if Frank’s name is still ringing in your ear and you don’t know why, it may be because he’s the son of Game of Thrones’ Stephen Dillane, aka Stannis Baratheon. The Dillanes starred together in 2012’s Papadopoulos & Sons.
(with director Marcus Markou)
Despite the premiere’s sluggish start, I did like some of the atmospheric moments — Travis’ idiotic solo trip to the church, and the surrealistic final scene with Nick, Travis and Madison — so I’m willing to give Fear a few episodes to find its footing. Here’s hoping Dillane’s enthusiastic performance spreads to the rest of the cast.