Fear the Walking Dead, the not-as-great spin-off of The Walking Dead, has finished its fourth season on AMC. The show was never quite as good The Walking Dead, but it was at least interesting and entertaining. However, after its fourth season, it’s at its weakest point. (Spoilers ahead)
Fear the Walking Dead was originally meant to take place in the world of The Walking Dead while Rick Grimes was in his coma. It was meant to show the audience what happened as the world we knew collapsed as the zombie apocalypse began. We saw that the police knew something big was happening first and started hording water and supplies for themselves. Then videos on social media showed cops shooting what people didn’t realize were zombies, causing a spike in supposed police brutality. There were riots, and then citizens were rounded up into camps to protect them, which quickly fell apart. It was actually really intriguing world-building that gave some extra insight into the Walking Dead. It still suffered from drawn-out story telling and uninteresting characters, but it was certainly worth the watch for Walking Dead fans. Unfortunately, season four happened, and it ruined what good the show did have.
There was a time jump between this season and last season of about two years. That means that Fear the Walking Dead‘s timeline is suddenly caught up with The Walking Dead‘s. That defeats most of the purpose of the show; presenting what happened in those early stages of the apocalypse. Another issue caused by this time jump was that the previous season ended on a cliffhanger that now didn’t have any followup. Season three ended with most of the main characters being swept away and split up after a dam was destroyed. Season four takes place long after they recovered and found each other, never showing the audience what happened after the dam. It made it feel like the cliffhanger was pointless and that we missed out on a good chunk of story. We never received any answers.
The biggest problem with the time jump was that it caused the first half of season four to play catch up with story we missed while also progressing. It randomly jumped between a time in the future after the characters recovered from the dam and a time even further in the future after that. It’s extraordinarily confusing. The show distinguished between these two time frames by calling them the “Then” and the “Now.” When a character is killed in the “Now” and we still see them throughout half the season in the “Then,” it’s hard to feel sad about missing them when we still see them each episode.
After spending three seasons getting to know and at least somewhat feel connected to the Clark family and their companions, it turns out it didn’t matter at all. Madison and her son Nick, who were more or less the show’s protagonists, were both killed off. Daniel Salazar literally walked off camera in the season three finale to never be seen in season four. Strand, Alicia, and Luciana were pushed aside as secondary characters to make room for an entire cast of brand new characters. It made it feel like an entirely different show.
The replacement main character this season was Morgan from The Walking Dead. AMC advertised a long-awaited crossover between the two shows, but it was actually just Morgan leaving The Walking Dead to replace Madison as the lead in Fear the Walking Dead. When this was announced on The Talking Dead, actor Lennie James appeared visibly upset about the news of what was essentially his demotion.
Season four featured two lackluster villains: the Vultures and Martha. The Vultures were an enemy group who used a heard of zombies to take over the Clark family’s baseball stadium for no reason. They had no backstory and just showed up demanding resources. Martha wanted to prevent people from helping others because someone didn’t help her in the beginning of the apocalypse, so she killed people who did want to help others. It would have made more sense if she was motivated to help everyone she met and be the change she wanted to see, but I suppose the writers needed the extra annoying filler for a few episodes. On top of all that, she wasn’t needed at all since there was enough conflict with a hurricane, the group being separated, characters being stranded on an island surrounded by an alligator, and characters being forced to survive with people they don’t like.
One of the biggest issues of all was the teasing of the Fear the Walking Dead characters heading to Virginia to join The Walking Dead cast. Morgan rounded up Al, John, Strand, and the others and convinced them to go back to Alexandria with him. This would have been exciting for a few reasons. Morgan would be back with Rick and his other friends. It would be a fun crossover between the two shows. There was possibility of Fear coming to an end after such a terrible season. However, after weeks of buildup to Morgan finally coming home, the group decides to stay in the south and help people down there. Why couldn’t they help people along the way to Virginia? That would have been more area to cover and more potential people to assist. Plus, it would move this group toward Rick’s group for some exciting crossover fun. It was a win-win, but the writers decided to cap the season off with one last middle finger to the fans.
Fear the Walking Dead was never as great as The Walking Dead, but this past season was especially bad. The cliffhanger from season three was never addressed. Multiple seasons worth of story was shoved into one, causing a lot of jumping around. The cast of characters was almost completely swapped out for new ones. The villains were weak. There were too many dumb plot points like characters who are dying of antifreeze poisoning not rushing to collect ethanol (the cure for such an ailment) as it slowly poured to the ground. It all made me wish Morgan stayed on the main show. Hopefully the writers and AMC smarten up soon and either find a way to greatly improve the show next season, or end it with the survivors joining the cast of The Walking Dead.