While the shows title tells you to “Fear the Walking Dead,” you should also fear the swimming ones.
The season two premiere of AMC’s hit spin-off, Fear the Walking Dead aired on Sunday night and it’s starting to look a lot more like its predecessor in the best ways possible.
The obvious sophomore slump is in effect in a few instances, (e.g. such as long speeches and angsty stares that contain everything besides literal daggers), but luckily, the show gets off to a running start…or whatever running is in terms of zombies.
The show opens immediately to find the Clark, Manawa, and Salazar family (Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Mercedes Mason, Lorenzo James Henrie, Ruben Blades respectively) fighting the dead and boarding for “safety” on the mysterious Victor Strand’s (Colman Domingo) boat “Abigail.”
While the show received its criticism for lack of action, I believe this premiere episode served up a healthy dose of that and then some.
There is a little sneak peek for those doubting this…before the title credits even roll. The “Zombie Kill of the Week” (a reference for those Zombieland fans out there) goes to Nick (Dillane) who pushes a zombies head into a motorboats blade without so much of a second thought about it.
If this doesn’t scream, or at least give a little nod to, those fabulous zombie kills in its parent show, then you may be reading way too much into a show about zombies.
The writing and directing for the episode is a notch up from last season. However, a strong criticism in regards to this episode’s writing is that there should’ve been more focus on our main characters like Nick, Strand, and Travis and less on those suffering with their humanity like Alicia (Carey) and Chris (Henrie).
We get it, when the apocalypse comes it will be hard for those to just have immediate survival instincts kick in, but there is only so much an audience can take of long scenes filled with a teenage boy staring and kissing his mother’s corpse.
Not exactly must-see TV.
Another problem is character development itself, which the first season didn’t have much trouble with. This is majorly seen in character Madison Clark, the lead matriarch of the family.
She went from badass in the first season, realizing what to do, taking charge, and fighting the dead in an efficient way, to someone who wants to save everyone they see. This type of drastic change doesn’t seem very realistic, or plausible, but it is just the first episode of the season and it may be setting up for something way cooler.
However in my book, she’s got a long way before becoming the next Carol as some pinned her for in the first season.
However, where these characters lack, others shine.
The real breakout of the series is Frank Dillane. The way he handles the world around him, yet having a healthy and realistic dose of humanity is impressive. Dillane really shows that in a world full of madness, you need to be mad sometimes but that doesn’t mean you have to lose everything about yourself to survive.
I have a feeling he may be a mix of a Daryl and Herschel this show may desperately needs as he can be a bad ass when called for, but an odd voice of reason when the situation doesn’t have any.
The characters have a lot to learn from this one time junkie, and while his character in the episode discusses his relevance in this world, I think he answers his own question as the episode comes to a close.
With that all said, the season has a lot of potential, definitely more than the first season, which is saying a lot since I praised the first season on several occasions.
The action and stakes are way higher, the characters are truly falling into place, such as Nick, Strand, and Travis, and the season only can get better from here on out.
While it may take a while longer to convince the multitude of Walking Dead fans to convert to this show for the long haul, it has so much potential that even the dead are clamoring to take a bite out of it…. pun intended.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10