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A Big Boom Brings a Big Premiere for Fear the Walking Dead in Our Spoiler-Free Review

Terrence: I’ve been a Walking Dead fan since I decided to catch up on the two seasons that were on Netflix at the time. Following the adventures of Rick Grimes have kept me hooked since, so imagine my excitement when they announced a prequel sister show about the early days of the Apocalypse! Fear quickly sets itself apart with its intimate character work, more expansive and diverse locations providing both moments to make you love or hate or both love and hate characters and ample opportunities for unique Walker action moments that’ll remind you how dangerous the world is turning. Here we are, seven seasons later and the world is continually forked up! Providing the FTWD Team more room to put these characters through the ringer.  

Dan: I started reading The Walking Dead after the first compendium came out and watched the show almost weekly up until Season 4. I dropped off hard after that. I actually had no intentions of returning but then the Pandemic struck. My partner kept saying that I should watch a show that wasn’t The Sopranos’ so I tried Fear the Walking Dead. I watched the entire series in a month and signed up for AMC+ just to see episodes early. I was bitten by the zombie bug again. Fear the Walking Dead is the best Walking Dead to me and I have been counting the moments till it returned… now we are here and we have watched the first two episodes “The Beacon” and “Six Hours”!

It’s the End of the World As We Know It… again

Fear the Walking Dead, Season 7, Episode 2 – Photo Credit: Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC

Terrence: At the end of last season, things ended with several BANGS! As Nukes went off all over Texas, thus not only leaving our scattered crew to pick up the pieces now but to see what the new landscape looks like in the premiere “The Beacon”. Right off the bat, the visuals for the Nuclear Apocalypse are all beautiful. Sad and desolate but enchanting to look at as we have an unnamed stranger seemingly doing what he does on a routine in this radiation filled land of survivors and another type of Walker! Nuke Walkers. The shows will always get a plus for Walker creativity no matter how big or small and this variation of the dead is gross, slimy, in a way we haven’t seen before, especially ones who are stuck or crawling. 

After our new character takes a stumble running into some men in hazmat suits, given the newfound environment, we’re reintroduced to one of my personal favorite characters in the FTWD Crew, Victor Strand is back and he’s living large and in charge! At the end of the last season Victor and Howard holed up in a tower and since then, have clearly outfitted it into a pretty swanky place to live and survive. People are doing yoga, golfing, painting,and have electricity! Strand has set himself up as the King of the Survivors, post Nuketown Texas. Our new character we followed in the beginning, Will, has been surviving on his own for some time and has some experience working with groups. As he’s given the tour of Strand’s Tower we’re going to learn he has some connections to someone close to Strand and that’s where the meat of the episode lies. Starting out the season with Colman Domingo’s Strand was a great choice, seriously he’s just so good as this surviving conman with the savagery to back it up even when he’s backed into a corner. Through some prodding and noticing something key that WIll has on his persons, an adventure out into the new world of radiation and survivors. 

The Nuclear Apocalypse is a great change of pace for the show to settle our cast in, it’s an added layer of danger on top of Walkers and Survivors who could possibly be crazy or other unknown variables out there. Everyone journeys out in hazmat suits so you don’t really know who’s approaching you out in the world or what that means when battling Walkers. Our crew of Strand, Will, and some soldiers of Strand find out about the dangers as they need Will to get some answers and it quickly goes to Hell and onto the aptly referenced “Beacon” of the episode. 

Dan: The second episode “Six Hours” follows Morgan and Grace after their narrow escape as the bomb went off last season. They’re living in a grounded submarine which is actually a very out of place set piece but it’s so cool in the context of this new Mad Max style vibe that you said to me when you first watched this episode. This episode isn’t as explosive as the first in my opinion but it’s still a pretty solid one. It follows Morgan and Grace as they go searching for more supplies in their VERY Mad Max style car. Grace is struggling with the idea of the life they are trying to build with a child and is honestly questioning if she will even stay. It’s such an interesting exploration of character in a world where we typically don’t see parenthood explored.

They end up running into some mysterious strangers in the wastes named Fred and Bea. We can’t get into them too much without spoiling some very interesting key plot points but let’s just say that not everything is what it seems in this episode. Morgan showed up in Fear the Walking Dead a few seasons in and I was skeptical. I didn’t want the parent show bleeding into my show but Morgan ended up taking things to the next level and consistently is a character I am fascinated with. He honestly wants to make the world better while Strand almost serves as a foil for him in that all he wants to do is survive on top. From the show’s promo art, it seems like these two characters are going to come to blows. Do you think Morgan has added a lot to this show? Does he feel better suited for here rather than the main title? 

Terrence: Morgan has for sure given our original cast members of the show a rejuvenated purpose from when he first joined the cast. He wanted to help people across this dreary and sad world, that just ended up being more trouble than it was worth in some cases. It felt like for a time, he was guiding the show and by extension some of the characters with the new mission statement when they could have definitely been making the journey outside of Texas and heading to a destination proper. He’s gone through a lot as a character in TWD and the role reversals, character growth (for better or worse) always makes him interesting to watch and we saw that in the second episode. The optimism he holds contrasting with Grace at wits end is challenging to say the least because it truly is the worst of the worst of bad scenarios. He’s trying though, he’s attempting to make something out of this situation and it’s a bright spot in a world that doesn’t have a lot of it. Per the trailer for the season, a battle of ideologies and characters possibly being split between Morgan and Strand could throw the show into even more Mad Max-styled territory. 

Character Driven Apocalypse

Fear the Walking Dead, Season 7, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC

Dan: Something about Fear that has always stuck out to me is that the characters are a lot more interesting to me. They’re all pretty flawed in a way to call anyone a hero of any kind. Everyone makes some very morally gray choices in all the shows but a lot of these hurt more to me. I think it’s because it’s usually a much smaller story. There is more of a focus on character in the series and that’s back here. The first episode is all about Strand and how he is handling the post nuclear fallout landscape… As you could guess if you saw the finale of last season, Strand always comes out on top. He’s always been the most interesting character to me and I think this premiere really drove that home again for me. Everyone else is out there suffering and Strand came out on top. The character has evolved a lot over the past few seasons. I think he knows now who he is or more so, who he has to become. Before there was some light in him that has seemed to be calloused by the passing of time and the loss of so many lives to get him where he is now. Were there any big moments in the first two episodes that stood out to you?

Terrence: Just zeroing in on Strand and seeing what he’s been up to since the Nukes went off, how he’s coping, everyone is really far and away from each other as the season begins so seeing what this new insane status quo is for our cast is great in itself. I think the situation and events so far really hit harder in the second episode with Morgan and Grace. Having to care for a child, in a WALKER. POST NUCLEAR. APOCALYPSE is certainly a choice. Karen David’s performance really brought home the sadness and desperation a situation like that could bring and her just yelling out into the yellow and dusty world as she’s trying to search for food makes you really feel for her. 

Morgan’s comment about already losing a child and not how he won’t lose another one was a tear jerker in every sense of the word and brings home that this world is lived in! We’ve been around the block with some of these characters, little things like that matter and enrich the decisions these characters make.  

Is it worth your time?

Fear the Walking Dead, Season 7, Episode 2 – Photo Credit: Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC

Dan: If you’re a newcomer to Fear the Walking Dead, you’re going to be lost if you start here. It’s not accessible to new watchers because it focuses so much on relationships that have been built over 7 seasons. With that being said, I think the quality of the show has only increased over the years while some shows waver after the first few. If you were on the fence about dedicating some time to catching up on this show, now is the time to hop off the fence and into the walker infested world of Fear the Walking Dead. You don’t need to watch the other shows to watch this one. Season 7’s premiere was explosive, sets a new tone moving forward with the season, and delivers on the promise of new stories and character growth. I know you watch both this and The Walking Dead so I am curious to see how you felt about this premiere compared to the main show’s?

Terrence: Couldn’t agree more on the Don’t Start This Show with the Season 7 Premiere part. You will be lost and just barely get and understand the history at play not only because it focuses on one character mainly from the core cast but also because this new world changes the entire game. Fear’s strengths have always been the characters reacting to this world and the relationships they forged through survival. TWD is more of the cinematic, bigger brother to the more intimate Fear. They also have no issue to dabble in different genres or visual directions and Episode was giving me Mad Max vibes with Morgan’s ride and the adventure Grace and he went on in the episode. 

Fear TWD has started off its seventh season with an aftermath that has certainly laid the groundwork for all manner of situations and excitement as we now have to catch up with everybody and see how they’re coping and hanging on. Who knew some Nukes could breathe more life into a show that’s several years in?!