As Fear the Walking Dead returns for season three, our families will be brought together in the vibrant and violent region formerly known as the U.S.-Mexico border. International lines done away with following the world’s end, our characters must attempt to rebuild not only society, but family as well. Madison has reconnected with Travis, her apocalyptic partner, but Alicia has been fractured by her murder of Andres. Madison’s son is only a few miles from his mother, but Nick’s first action as a leader saw him and Luciana ambushed by an American militia group – the couple escaped death, Luciana was shot, and Nick no longer feels immortal. Recovering both emotionally and physically, Strand has his sights set on harnessing the new world’s currency, and Ofelia’s captivity will test her ability to survive and see if she can muster the savagery of her father. (synopsis via Coming Soon)
One of the great strengths of Fear the Walking Dead, the spinoff of AMC’s ratings juggernaut The Walking Dead, is that it has always been prepared to ask the really hard questions about what happens to humanity when all the comforts and moral assurances of civilisation are unceremoniously, and suddenly, pulled from underneath it.
You might well argue that The Walking Dead has done the much thing but after watching two seasons of Fear the Walking Dead, I would argue that the zombie drama’s progeny has done a far better job of showing what would really happen to people in such an unexpected, and highly stressful, apocalyptic situation.
Right from the start, everyone has grappled with the great survival vs retaining humanity conundrum, not from some French-like penchant for philosophical musing, but because their lives very much depend on it.
With its taut, slowburning style, Fear the Walking Dead has demonstrated how hard and fraught a transition this is, and how many people don’t want to succumb to some kind of Lord of the Flies scenario if there’s any way to avoid it.
Given the slow decent into undead madness that accompanied the beautifully-calibrated first season, we watched as each of the characters struggled to balance who they once were and wished to remain with a world that cares not for the niceties of civilised discourse and human rights.
Granted for some people it was all a bit too slow and meandering, but it was, and is, a refreshing change from The Walking Dead‘s nihilistic barbarity, with the successor show doing a far better job of consistently giving us drama that explores, in gripping detail and intensity, what it means to find your way in a new world not even remotely of your making or liking.
With season 3 beckoning, the tagline of “Fear what you become” suggests the show will continue to ask the hard, gritty questions, in ways that aren’t simply violently excessive but which actually have a pleasingly accessible existential basis to them.
It may not be to every fan’s taste but Fear the Walking Dead, is clever, intelligent and insightful, balancing gripping action with thoughtfulness, in the process giving us one of the best shows on the apocalypse on TV at the moment.
The dead that we should sensibly fear shuffle back on our screens on 4 June in USA on AMC and 5 June in Australia on Foxtel.