Because Fear the Walking Dead takes place in the early days of the global apocalypse, the zombies on that show are generally not as decrepit and gag-worthy as those on The Walking Dead proper. But just because this undead population isn’t dripping with rot doesn’t mean the effects team can’t figure out different ways to test viewers’ thresholds for grossness, and Sunday night’s “Ouroboros” certainly showed off their talents through the gruesome reanimated corpse affectionately called Crab Infected. Look at this gloriously icky mess.
I get the same feeling watching those rambunctious belly crabs as I do when an ant hill is disrupted and the entire population emerges and everyone’s reaction is to crawl all over everyone else. That feeling, by the way, is very similar to the second to last spin/twirl a person can go through before throwing up everywhere. Still, I cheered as loud as possible when that first close-up happened, because it’s the best possible kind of “shit, that’s nasty.”
Mr. Crab Infected came into the episode as Nick was off exploring the area around the plane wreckage, and he’d apparently been unable to change his situation for quite a while, considering how many crabs were pouring into and out of him. After Nick fell down into the hole, I wasn’t that concerned with how he fared against Crab Infected, because obviously he’d survive, but all I could think about were piles of those crabs finding a way into Nick’s clothes and then clamping him willy nilly for the rest of the afternoon. Therein lies the real fear in this show, right?
As you probably expected, the actor playing Crab Infected wasn’t actually covered in the crustaceans. Even though he was probably uncomfortable being buried waist-deep, at least he didn’t have to worry about all that scuttling over his stomach make-up, as all of the crabs were digital effects. Below is one of AMC’s promotional stills for the episode, and it is interestingly without any of the CGI critters.
That moment in “Ouroboros,” beyond just giving our eyes a twinkling, also played a part in Nick coming to terms with the zombies all around him. Showrunner Dave Erickson told EW that Nick strangely relates to this creature’s unextinguishable hunger and the need for him/it to keep eating the crabs that are chewing on him. Later, Nick realized that the undead don’t react threateningly to anything covered in zombie guts, which gave him another layer of understanding. As far as what he does with that knowledge in the rest of the season, we can’t say, but we’re kind of hoping he runs into a walker who has piranhas living inside his stomach, even if he doesn’t learn anything from it.
Did Crab Infected rank with the most disgusting moments in The Walking Dead’s six seasons? I should say so. There’s something about this unnatural symbiosis that is far more disturbing to me than the sewer pipe walkers or that one that had become part of the tree. Not the most off-putting, but definitely in the running.
Check out what kinds of gory madness Fear the Walking Dead will unleash in the future when it airs Sunday nights on AMC.