Spoilers through Season 4 of ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ follow.
Alycia Debnam-Carey as Alicia Clark, Lennie James as Morgan JonesCredit: Ryan Green/AMC
I’m struggling to find the point ofFear The Walking Dead.
Why do we care about these characters? What is the purpose of this show as a spinoff ofThe Walking Dead?Where does the show go from here now that Madison and Nick are dead?
The answer to all these questions seems to be: No clue.
Why do we care about these characters? I’m not sure that we even do. I like John Dorie and Morgan and Alicia, but the rest? Strand is just obnoxious at this point, and feckless without Madison as his counterpoint. Luciana used to be a tough squad leader, but ever since she became Nick’s girlfriend that’s allthat she’s been, her purpose gelded.
What is the purpose of this show? It was originally billed as a show that would give us a glimpse of the zombie apocalypse in its early days, but we only got a handful of episodes that did that. Now it’s just another zombie show.It still has more interesting cinematography thanThe Walking Dead,but I’m just about fed up with the lack of saturation. Why make everything look so washed out all the time? Give us color.
Where does the show go from here now that Madison and Nick are dead? Again, no clue. If the mid-season premiere is any indication, the show goes in the most boring direction possible. Let’s talk about the episode.
Colman Domingo as Victor Strand, Danay Garcia as Luciana- Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 9 – Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMCCredit: AMC
But first lets talk about those flying zombies. A storm of some sort—a hurricane, I assume, or at least its trailing edges—shows up on our band of Texas survivors. It barely nudges the trees. We see literally no debris. But boy does that wind carry zombies well! It lifts them one at a time and tosses them willy-nilly in quite possibly the worst special effect this show haseverseen.
The only thing that rivals the terrible flying zombies in this episode was that one awful dear inThe Walking Dead.
I mean, hurricane-level gales wouldn’t pick up zombies one by one and toss them into the truck. Wind that strong would bend those trees near to the point of breaking. It would be tossing all manner of debris across the road. It would be shaking the truck, no matter how heavy it is. But no, only zombies are carried by the wind, plucked solo and discarded.
The rest of the episode was better, but only by a hair. Mostly it was just boring.
The premise is simple. Morgan wants to go back to Virginia for reasons we don’t quite fully understand. He wants everyone to go with him, and spends most of the episode going around trying to convince people to go to Alexandria with him. Only Al agrees to go.
Meanwhile, John wants June and Charlie to go back to his cabin; Strand wants to drink himself to death with Luciana; and Alicia wants to help somebody who’s been tagging zombies with notes that say “Help.”
Maggie Grace as AltheaCredit: Ryan Green/AMC
The problem with this episode—beyond flying zombies—is that there’s virtually no tension throughout and whatever character development might have occurred was lost in stilted dialogue. That entire scene when Morgan goes to talk to Luciana and Strand was justbizarre.
For one thing, it didn’t look like all three of them were in the same room. It looked like Strand’s lines were added in after the fact. For another, every snippet of dialogue just sounded wrong. If someone asks you to go to Virginia with them, you can just say “No.” You don’t have to say “There’s nothing for me out there. There’s nothing for me anywhere.” Melodrama much?
Eventually the entire episode becomes groups of people trying to help other people or solve problems. I’m not sure why Morgan/John/June are still hanging out with Strand/Luciana/Alicia given their fraught history, but they all pair off to go get things done. Al and June go to find out why so many zombies are washing up (though I’m not sure why it matters.) When Charlie runs away, John enlists Strand of all people to help find her. Morgan goes to help Alicia help the one guy, who we find already zombified because apparently he couldn’t climb out a window.
Garret Dillahunt as John Dorie Credit: Ryan Green/AMC
The whole episode felt pretty pointless, like one big filler episode before the storm kicked in. I guess we needed to see Alicia angry and reckless, Luciana having her existential crisis (because she is now nothing more than Nick’swidow) and an inexplicable heart-to-heart with June and Al.
I really want this show to get back to good, but right now it feels like two separate shows with no direction stitched awkwardly together. When new characters joined the group inThe Walking Dead,they joined the group and were eventually integrated into it. In this show, the new charactersoutnumberthe old cast. It’s strange. I was never the biggest fan of Madison, but she did give the show some trajectory. She was a rudder. Morgan is not a rudder. Morgan is not a leading man at all. He’s an interesting secondary character. He was a great foil for Rick. But trying to make him the central figure is a bad idea and it shows.
In some sense, all we have left in this show are secondary characters. The only character with any leadership qualities remaining is Alicia, and I don’t see the show positioning her as the central protagonist even though it probably should. John Dorie is a fantastic character but I liked him more when he was on a quest. Now that he’s found June…what happens next?
In a lot of ways, I think this season played its cards much too soon. The Vultures shouldn’t have shown up until the midseason finale. The big reveal that Charlie was a mole shouldn’t have happened until near the end of the season. Same with the reveal that June/Laura was the woman John was looking for. Think if the episode “Laura” had happened near the end of the season instead. Killing off both Nick and Madison in the first half of the season was too much too soon.
Now we’re left with a second half of the season that feels entirely divorced from the first. All the interesting tension that could have grown, all the little mysteries that could have percolated, all of it has been cast aside and we’re left with an awkward band of survivors with virtually nothing to tie them to one another. There’s something to be said for waiting and withholding. How much more interesting would John Dorie’s arc be if we were still wondering if he’d ever find his true love? How much more shocking would it be if we came to know and care about Charlie only to discover, in the second-to-last episode, that she was with the enemy all along?
I’m still holding out hope that this whole thing turns around, but I’m not feeling particularly hopeful. Maybe we’ll get some more flying zombies, though, and at least that’s good for a laugh.
Let me know what you thought of the episodeonTwitterandFacebook.
Lennie James as Morgan JonesCredit: Ryan Green/AMC
Sorry for the late review. I’ve been out on a road-trip/camping trip pretty much off the grid until this morning. I’m still on the road but we have a couple days with technology so I’ve had a chance to get a little work done. I’ll be on time with Episode 2. Thanks for reading!
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‘Fear The Walking Dead’ Season 4, Episode 9 Review: Flying …
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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero