For six frustrating seasons of The Walking Dead, there's been a simple way for Rick, Carl, awesome Abraham, mighty Michonne and psycho Carol to escape the zombie masses trying to turn their innards into entrees.
It's this: Get a boat. Load it with supplies. Get the hell off the mainland. There are no zombies at sea. Are there?
It turns out there are. In Fear the Walking Dead's second season premiere, Cliff Curtis' Travis Manawa and his motley collection of crew members - as Manawa put it, "We've got an old man, a hurt woman, scared kids and a corpse" - headed out to sea and eventually found some pretty scary stuff out there.
To get there, audiences were forced to wade through some pretty stupid stuff of their own. Fear the Walking Dead seems intent on copying the mistakes its parent show The Walking Dead keeps making, mixing bursts of zombie carnage with dead end conversations between characters we don't really care about.
There were discussions about fishing. There was talk about the weather. Kim Dickens' Madison Clark wondered how deep the water was, then mused on how sound carried differently than on land. There was a dinner montage scene inexplicably shot in slow motion involving a grossly under cooked eel.
I lost count of how many conversations there were over who needed naps. I was starting to think about having one myself.
Thankfully, the episode was somewhat salvaged by Colman Domingo's Victor Strand, the boat's mysterious owner who showed up near the end of the first season as some sort of super sophisticated magic man. He's rescued Manawa's motley crew but he also has ulterior motives that are slowly emerging. At this point, he's one of the few reasons to keep watching.
When he finds out Manawa's daughter Alicia may have been catfished and given away their location, he exploded: "Let me explain the rules of the boat. Rule number one, it's my boat. Rule number two, it is my boat. If there remains any confusion about rules one and two, I offer rule number three: It's my goddamn boat."
Conflict at sea can be awesome - just ask Russell Crowe or Nicole Kidman. But then those zombies appeared, and things got ridiculous.
How can zombies be a menace out at sea? Producers soon found an unlikely way to make it happen, with the wreckage of an overturned vessel riddled with bullet holes floating by and its survivors-turned-zombies wearing lifejackets arriving soon after.
Because this was a pretty silly episode of television, Manawa and his sons Nick and Christopher jumped into the water fully clothed for absolutely no reason other than so they could be attacked by those zombies, who are lumbering idiots on land but seem to have found the ability and coordination to swim pretty well in water.
If you're wondering what peak zombie looks like, Fear the Walking Dead just showed us.
This wasn't a season premiere that started with a bang - more like an untethered buoy. Manawa and co better return to land soon, because Fear the Walking Dead needs a little more meat on its bones for us to chew on than this.
* What did you think of the episode? Post your comments below.