Do you ever have one of those shows that makes you wonder why you’re still watching it?
For me, that’s Fear the Walking Dead. A show that I started watching because I used to be a fan of its parent show, The Walking Dead, and a show I stayed watching because of Alycia Debnam-Carey.
And let’s be honest, the first two seasons of the show were okay at best. I did love the idea of watching the zombie apocalypse from the beginning and it was definitely interesting enough to keep me wanting more. But seasons one and two were nowhere near as strong as it’s mothership show when it first started, and that was evident.
Still, Fear the Walking Dead had at least some momentum and managed to stay on for another season. And thank God for that, because season three was fantastic. A huge step up from the previous seasons, the third season of the series had intriguing story-lines (a military compound secretly testing the zombie virus was nuts) and brought in a few new fresh and compelling faces (looking at you, Troy Otto) – all while using the same core group of characters to explore the crumbling world around them.
Then season four came. With new show-runners, the show was about to take a huge turn in a new direction. A whole new set of characters were brought in, including a familiar face from The Walking Dead.
In an effort to sort of reset the show, the new creatives behind the series that was finally getting its footing decided to start with a clean slate. A few of the original characters were fortunate enough to land a spot in the season four reset such as Alycia Debnam-Carey’s Alicia Clark and Colman Domingo’s Victor Strand. The biggest upset, however, was the decision to kill off original cast members Kim Dickens and Frank Dillane.
While Frank Dillane had expressed that he wanted to leave the show, Kim Dickens did not. It maybe had a lot to do with the fact that they were trying to pave the way for their big crossover.
Morgan Jones from The Walking Dead was posed to make his big transition to the spinoff series in season four. I guess there wasn’t enough room for two leaders in one show because by mid-season, Madison Clark was no more.
Kim Dicken’s exit from the series didn’t just hurt because of the sexist and ageist undertones behind it, but because it made viewers, like myself, feel like watching the past three seasons was just a waste of time. For three seasons, we watched the Clark family both struggle and overcome the challenges of this new post-apocalyptic world. And in a blink of an eye, all the development of the Clark family was taken away.
Alicia Clark is the only member of the Clark family and the only person from the pilot episode still standing. We are no longer watching the trials and tribulations of the characters we were introduced to back in 2015. Instead, the show has shifted its focus on the story of the gunslinger John Dorie, the journalist Althea, and the somewhat broken June.
Sure, we still get to see Alicia and Strand be the badasses they are, but half of the time they are taking the back seat to explain a whole bunch of new characters that were just thrown at us. Perhaps, if all these characters were introduced over the course of the previous seasons, it wouldn’t feel as jarring and forced. But nonetheless, here we are.
What is even more frustrating about all of this is that right now the show is actually pretty decent.
The pacing of the storyline is particularly great, the characters interact well with each other and are interesting to watch, and it appears to have a clear direction this time around. In fact, one of the best episodes of the series took place in season four. Of course, it involved original cast member, Alycia Debnam-Carey.
While coping with the loss of her brother and mother, she comes face-to-face with, Charlie, the child who killed one of them. We see her struggle and break down literally in the middle of a hurricane. It is a completely riveting episode that excelled because it was both well-written and acted.
It goes to show that despite these new storylines and characters, Fear the Walking Dead still needs to rely on the original characters to succeed.
Yet at some point this season, we are getting another character from The Walking Dead. Dwight will be making his way over after originally being introduced in season six of The Walking Dead. How big of a role he will have is unknown, but my guess is it will have a big impact for the rest of the season.
Now, I am all for adding new characters. It’s a great way to push the show forward without becoming redundant. But ever since Morgan came on the show, I’ve started to get the feeling that the spinoff is trying too hard to be like the original. I mean, they spent half of season four talking about going to Alexandria (where everyone in The Walking Dead is) for crying out loud.
I don’t want to write Dwight off just yet (especially since I stopped watching The Walking Dead before he even appeared on the show). He could be a great addition to what already looks like a very interesting season. Perhaps he’ll be the one to pick up the pieces of Morgan and Alicia’s failed mission to help everyone and anyone.
After their plan gets shot down just as soon as their plane does, the group enters unknown territory. The compound they have been calling home gets taken over and they are stuck in a place filled with hanging walkers and radiation signs. Meanwhile, while cut off from the rest of the group, Strand makes a discovery that his long-lost friend (okay, a friend may be a stretch) is still alive.
Daniel Salazar is back and probably with a vengeance, again, proving my point of just how important the original characters are. Since we haven’t seen him since season three, I am more than eager to see just what exactly he has been up to.
Contrary to all my whining, I really am excited for this upcoming season. And now that we got all the new character introductions out of the way, we can finally begin to get invested in their stories and their role in this post-apocalyptic world.
What are you looking forward to the most in the new season? Let us know in the comments below!
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.