Eye Of The Beholder
The New Frontier
Drowning In Water, Drowning In Flame
Children of Wrath
This Land Is Your Land
Things Bad Begun
Its fair to say, the third season of Fear The Walking Dead is by far the best since the show came on air. The story is cohesive and well paced, there’s some genuine tension throughout and good characterisation for most of the characters. It does feel overlong at times, bogged down by a few filler episodes that could have used a little more editing and a lot of the plot lines feel ripped straight from The Walking Dead. Despite the lack of originality with some of the story lines, there’s no denying that the execution this season is very good.
The plot picks up right where it left off following the cliffhanger ending last season. The Clark family find themselves prisoners, kept hostage with a large group of other humans. There’s a distinct “Terminus” feel to it, right down to the lined up group shot before an execution. Predictably, things go from bad to worse for the family, eventually finding themselves on a ranch for vast periods of the third season. Its here that the pacing slows to a more methodical crawl, keeping the tension high by introducing rival factions full of colourful personas. Unlike The Walking Dead where its made clear who the good and bad guys are, Fear The Walking Dead defiantly steers away from this, making it a lot harder than the cookie cutter black and white you’d expect from a plot line like this. The groups here are made up of the good, the bad and the ugly. This interesting dynamic makes for some genuinely intriguing clashes and subplots, as well as a much more realistic depiction of a post apocalyptic scenario.
Its clear this year that the writers finally have an identity for the show, with scripts that improve dramatically as the season continues. The latter part of this third season in particular is outstanding, with some brilliant episodes full to the brim of action; gorgeous sweeping shots depicting hordes of zombies juxtapose brilliantly with the savage up close encounters with the undead. The fractured, dysfunctional group dynamic works really well with the overarching plot, never giving the feeling of the main characters being overpowered or in a position of any substantial safety. Whilst some are seemingly protected by “plot armour” , the way Fear The Walking Dead manages to disguise this is really quite impressive and helps add to the dramatic tension throughout.
Of course, I mentioned before about the plot lines and whilst they are good, they do feel like echoes of past plot lines in The Walking Dead. Trying to divert a massive horde of zombies like Season 7? Check. Taking refuge on a farm with a defiant old man like Season 2? Check. There are numerous instances of this that crop up throughout the season but despite mimicking the plot lines, Fear The Walking Dead manages to put its own spin on them to prevent it feeling too familiar.
For all the good work done this season, its still difficult to get behind the characters and really root for them. Watching Fear The Walking Dead feels like a more passive experience because of this but the writing goes a long way to alleviate these issues. The third season is a much more cohesive, consistently paced one and Fear The Walking Dead is all the better for it. Whilst it doesn’t match some of the best seasons of The Walking Dead, at the moment Fear is certainly a more enjoyable watch. If it manages to nail the characters and make them a little more likeable, it could easily surpass the earlier seasons of The Walking Dead to become the definitive zombie show on TV. Whether Fear manages this or not remains to be seen, but based on this season its certainly an intriguing prospect for the future.