After an incredibly short first season, the spin-off prequel show to everybody’s favourite televisual bloodbath is back, this time with 15 whole episodes! That’s more than double that of the first season and thankfully time for some actual character development.
Having left our core group (consisting of couple Travis and Madison, their respective kids Chris, Nick and Alicia, Daniel and his daughter Ofelia and the man with the plan – and the boat – Victor) afloat Dawn of the Dead style at the end of Season One, the story picks up where it left off and wastes no time in proving that being at sea is no safer than being on land.
As we’ve come to learn on Fear’s big brother, when it comes to the zombie apocalypse, the flesh-eating dead are often the least of the survivor’s worries and this fact is heightened considerably as our group do their best to figure out, not just what to do next, but how to act next. As the increasing few remnants of humanity scramble to find resources, transport or anything else they might need to wait out the storm, its every man for himself leading many of the crew of the ill-fated yacht to begin to question their own internal moral compass.
Of course there’s only so long that the group can hold their position at sea and before long they find themselves in a string of bad situations as they hop from one place to another seeking refuge. Their journey finally leads them south to the Mexican border where it seems that, for a time, they’ve found the safe haven they’ve been looking for. But this is Fear the Walking Dead, not Camberwick Green and they all discover (again and again) that nowhere is safe and nobody is completely trustworthy.
The fact that this second series was given a full season order surely must have felt like a blessing. What a huge shame then that they didn’t use it wisely. For the most part, the first half of the season is squandered on ‘jeopardy of the week’ scenarios as the group land in and out of trouble neatly inside of each 45-minute episode. It’s not until the season’s midpoint where the group split up that things finally manage to become interesting. With two, sometimes three concurrent stories the narrative is allowed to breathe and the characters are finally able to start gaining dimension (although not always for the better).
There’s no getting around the fact that you can’t help but feel that you’ve seen all of this before. From their time at the Mexican farm (hiding a hoard of zombified family members) to their discovery of working settlements and turf-wars, there’s plenty of ground being re-trod here. Granted the Mexican surroundings and subject of faith and the differing perceptions of what the walking dead are make things more interesting, as does the immediacy of the ‘event’ which lead to the dissension of mankind. Yet there’s only so long that this will maintain a difference between this and its more successful predecessor.
FOTWD Season Two leaves us in a much stronger position than the previous series did. Having found its leader (and its not who you might think) and turned some characters 180 degrees due to the genuinely heartbreaking moments of the penultimate episode, there’s a lot to hope for going forward. With one extra episode scheduled for Season Three, we can only hope they use them more effectively next time around.
Extra features include a short making of for each episode and the short 15-minute webisode Flight 462.
FEAR THE WALKING DEAD: SEASON TWO / CERT: 15 / CREATOR: ROBERT KIRKMAN, DAVE ERICKSON / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: CLIFF CURTIS, KIM DICKENS, FRANK DILLANE, ALYCIA DEBNAM CAREY, ELIZABETH RODRIGUEZ / RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 5TH