From AMC and showrunner Dave Erickson comes The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirman’s companion series Fear The Walking Dead. Starring Cliff Curtis, Kim Dickens, Frank Dillane, Ruben Blades, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Lorenzo James Henrie, Mercedes Mason, and Colman Domingo, season 4 returns Summer 2018.
There’s a sign of the apocalypse in Los Angeles, where reports of a strange flu and the disappearance of people underscore this gritty drama, a prequel to AMC’s uber-popular “Walking Dead.” The story of the mysterious outbreak and its ramifications are told through the lens of high school guidance counselor Madison Clark and English teacher Travis Manawa. Widowed mother Madison is raising two children single-handedly but has recently found love with Travis, who maintains a relationship with his ex-wife and resentful son while trying to become a father to Madison’s children. The challenge of blending their families is exacerbated by unforeseen chaos, and a necessary survival of the fittest takes hold. The Clarks and Manawas must reinvent themselves, or embrace their darker histories.
Did Fear The Walking Dead just become the better AMC show about the zombie apocalypse? Arguably – yes. Fear The Walking Dead may have stumbled in its first season, but around halfway into the second, the series really started to turn around for the better and now with its latest, the show has truly found it’s footing and kicked all of our Walking Dead fanboy asses. Showrunner Dave Erickson did an amazing job and I’m kind of worried that he’s departing the show after doing such an incredible job crafting an intense and unpredictable spin-off that no longer should remain in the shadows of it’s highly successful predecessor. Main characters perished in such shocking ways (and early on too, just to give fans an extra heart attack), new characters were introduced and really shook up the chemistry of our main leads and changed them forever by the time the finale. You may not find a more tense season finale on TV nor will you find a bigger badass than Ruben Blades. He’s easily the most fascinating character on the show (spoiler alert – he didn’t die in season 2, but they never said he did). He’s also old but he will shoot you in the face and he’s more frightening to me than someone like Negan on The Walking Dead.
After Madison’s family winds up taking refuge at a ranch in the middle of nowhere, run by a group of survivalists, we see a dynamic that has yet to be explored yet in the Walking Dead franchise. Crazy gun nuts who hate the government are apparently quite fit for the apocalypse. Who knew? Dayton Callie (from Sons of Anarchy, Deadwood) joined the cast this season to play the head of the ranch and he brought such a gravitas to the series, that every single actor in his scenes, became even better just being with him onscreen. He’s that good. His two sons Jake and Troy were also incredible new additions to the cast, especially Daniel Sharman (Troy) who played the psychotic and unstable one in the family, but also the most compelling. I really liked Troy to be honest, even with all of his sadistic tendencies I felt sorry for him, in spite of all the bad things he does over the course of season three. That’s the sign of a great performance and I would love to see Sharman on more TV series to see what else he can do.
Midway through the 16 episode season, we also introduce a group of Native Americans who are at odds with the ranch, which adds almost a Western element to the series and it really worked well. Walker, the leader of the reservation who leads this opposition is also a fantastic addition to the cast played by Michael Greyeyes. He’s one of those characters that is initially pegged as the villain, but that’s a hasty label that quickly fades once we spend more time with him and I hope that we return to this character down the road because he adds an awesome dynamic to the show. So while we spend a lot of time at the ranch and their war with the reservation, the sideplot this season deals with Daniel and a Dam operation where a team of people are trying to handle water resources with the people and other enemies which come into play late in the game. Strand is also around doing his best to make shady deals with absolutely every single person on the series just to save his own ass. I liked Strand a lot, but I feel like the character has burned so many bridges that he may be entering the endgame due to his poor choices as he’s unable to choose one side and remain honourable. Colman Domingo is a terrific actor though and I’m always happy to see him onscreen, even if he’s being a dickhead.
The action, the performances, the insane plot twists (including a jaw-dropping major character death incredibly early into the season) and the pitch perfect pacing makes Fear The Walking Dead the new king of zombie television. I love The Walking Dead, don’t get me wrong, but you cannot deny that there were major pacing issues in Season 7. I had zero pacing issues with the third season of Fear The Walking Dead. I’m curious what will happen in season four, especially after the insane finale which tears our group apart in one of the most chaotic closers of 2017. If you still are hesitant to get back on board with Fear TWD, you’re missing out. You really are. This show has everything – getting high on cannibalism, crows eating a dude’s brain while he’s alive, stunning major character death, Ruben Blades killing more people than John Wick, you name it. Whereas on The Walking Dead, I’m hoping for more characters to die, I’m praying for the opposite on Fear TWD — I didn’t want new characters to die! Bravo Dave Erickson and crew – I’m going to miss you next season and I can only hope the show retains the quality and pacing you helped bring to this wonderful series.