I’ve talked about it so often that I hardly need to mention how Fear the Walking Dead went from one of the worst shows on TV into my Top Ten shows of 2017.
While season 2B was an improvement, season three saw the Clarke family – Madison, Nick and Alicia – take over Broke Jaw Ranch at the same time a new writing team took over the writers’ room.
If proof were needed FTWD had usurped its big brother, it came in the mid-season finalé, which was so character-driven that it featured almost zero zombies. Compare and contrast to TWD’s art-school slow-motion montages of characters faces as the writers have no idea how to write meaningful storylines.
FTWD’s metamorphosis began with the decision to kill off the most boring character, Travis in the season opener. This brave choice seemed to set the series free from it’s shackles, allowing it to branch off into new, more interesting topics such as gun ownership, racism, Native American’s rights to land and two tribes coming together for the good of all.
It also allowed the show to tell perfect, standalone episodes like La Serpiente and bring three spheres of action together before splitting the characters asunder again.
After Nick killed Troy and Jake’s father, Troy’s sociopathy led to him being banished from the ranch. In retaliation, Troy unleashed a “Biblical reckoning” (an army of walkers) upon the ranch for a nail-biting full season finalè which saw brother Jake die as a result.
In allowing the Otto brothers’ story to be told front and centre stage, the writers’ room managed to evoke the stories of Cain and Abel and, Romulus and Remus, even Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Yes, for a while, spin-off afterthought, Fear the Walking Dead became the stuff of Greek and Shakespearian tragedy.
Both Troy and Jake Otto were killed off by the end of the season, which was a shame as they were the most interesting characters outside the Clarke family, so the show will have to reinvent itself again.
Unfortunately, that new blood comes in the form of The Walking Dead’s Morgan and showrunner Scott Gimple, who are aboard to fuck things right up in season four.
The Walking Dead has died an embarrassing death in its eighth season and should be taking inspiration from this vastly superior spin-off show.
Fear the Walking Dead returns to AMC in the summer.