May 26, 2022

"Fear the Walking Dead: Dead in the Water": Isn't it Great that Those Pesky Gay People Don't Exist?


There have been several tv series based on The Walking Dead, about a zombie apocalypse (but no one is allowed to call them zombies).  LGBT representation is mixed, usually gay characters who die immediately, or who never actually express any same-sex interest.  The latest, Fear the Walking Dead: Dead in the Water, is set on the claustrophobic world of a submarine.  An all-male environment is bound to have some buddy-bonding.

Prelude: Submarine officers led by an extremely craggy, unattractive former teen idol Nick Stahl (not the Nick Stahl in the top photo).  Apparently they're about to launch nuclear missiles.  Psych!  In spite of the sweat and grim looks, it's just a training exercise!

Part 1:
It's the U.S.S. Pennsylvania, on patrol in the Gulf of Mexico.  Nick stops in the galley and talks to the chef, who says "I hear you got a kid now."  In real life, 30% of LGBT have children, but on tv it's a coy way to demonstrate that you're heterosexual.  Next he talks to the radio guy, who's getting no transmissions.  Weird.  Then he goes to his bunk to look at a sonogram of his baby.  Pregnant wife.  This is going to be a tear jerker.

Left: Nick Stahl back when we were young and the world was fresh and new.  Pardon me while I get nostalgic. Can it be that it was all so simple then, or has time re-written every line? If we had the chance to do it over again, tell me, would we?  

The captain criticizes him for screwing up the training exercise this morning.  "If you want your own ship some day, you'd better shape up.  But I understand -- you're young and impetuous, with a pregnant wife back home."  Um...Nick Stahl is 42.  They discuss the importance of a wife and kids ad nauseam. 

New problem; Friedman needs an appendectomy, and the medevac isn't responding.  The medic, Park (Alexander Biglane, left), has to do it right on the ship, in the mess hall (you can tell by the conveniently placed bottles of ketchup and mustard).

The surgery: we see all the blood and guts.  Friedman flatlines.  They stash the body in the freezer until they get to port.

Darn -- so far Calum Sharman (below) is the only cute guy in the cast.  Maybe he'll come back in a flashback. 

Park explains that he died because the ship isn't equipped for surgery; a medevac is supposed to take you to a hospital.  Why didn't they respond?   Why hasn't anyone responded?  "Something is happening out there."  

Cut to the freezer, where Friedman is coming back to life!  As a zombie!

Part 2:  They discuss how terrible it is that Friedman died, because he had a wife and kids.  Ancient heterosexist propaganda: a man's life has value only if he has a wife and kids.  Single heterosexuals and gay men are worthless.   

Radio guy says they finally got a message from headquarters, after two weeks of silence: the army is being deployed due to medical incidents.  Something bad is going down.  Should Nick abandon his duties and go home to his pregnant wife?  

They need to clear the freezer to accommodate the body, so everyone gets ice cream sundaes in the mess hall (which was full of blood and guts an hour ago?  Gross!).  The cook hears something in the freezer -- and is attacked by zombie Friedman!  Two other guys are bitten before they manage to subdue it. They don't realize that anyone who is bitten turns into a zombie, so they just send the guys to get patched up.

I think this is a stand-alone mini-movie, not the first episode of a tv series.  Which means that in the last scene, they'll all be dead.  I hate movies where everyone dies, so I'll watch Part 3 and then fast-forward.

Part 3:  They finally get a complete message from headquarters: an order to fire the nuclear missiles.  As Nick and Radio Guy head toward the captain's office, they are attacked by another zombie!  They hit it in the head with a fire extinguisher.  But they aren't aware of zombies yet; as far as they know, this guy is just sick.

Next they encounter a roomful of zombies eating someone,  Nick turns on the alarm and rushes past them to the galley.  The medic is a zombie, too.  How did so many crewmen turn so fast?  How will anyone survive the next 25 minutes of screen time?

Nick and two other crewmen hide in the walk-in freezer.  They wonder whether this zombie epidemic is happening on land.  Our wives and kids!   Ok, ok, only heterosexuals exist, only heterosexuals have value, I get it.  You don't need to keep harping on it.  

Beefcake: None.

Buddy-Bonding: None.

Heterosexism:  Incessant.

Fast Forwarding:  Five or six crewmen survive.  They abandon ship and go out in search of their wives and kids.  Nick calls his wife (cell phones still work).  They discuss how great it is to be heterosexual, so their lives have value.  Then, suddenly....

My Grade: F-.


  1. I never got into the any of these shows- they all seemed to hopeless- I love submarine movies for the reasons to you mentioned.

    1. It's basically the core group finding a survivor settlement, which turns out to be dystopian, so they have to destroy it. Or they start their own settlement, but bad guys destroy it.

  2. I thought the US Navy (once?) had a rule that women and gay men were never allowed on submarines, not even "don't tell don't ask"? Perhaps the producers of this pile of manure used this so they would not have to bother being inclusive?

    If someone likes the idea (but not how it turnes out here), they could try the sci-fi series 'The last Ship' (no zombies!). At least there are women on that boat, and they are equal to the men. I have not seen enough of it to find out if any crew member is other than hetero, so disappointment is possible.

    1. There's a lesbian crew member who apparently has a wife back home.


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