Fear the Walking Dead Season Premiere Review

Fear! On a yacht!
Fear! On a yacht!

One Walking Dead is done, another is starting up! Fear the Walking Dead, the LA based prequel to the Walking Dead, debuted its second season and so far, is quite engaging! The group ended season 1 escaping LA onto the Abigail, a yacht owned by the enigmatic Victor Strand, a wealthy, no-nonsense, semi-philosophical man that the junkie son, Nick, of the main couple, helped escape from prison in LA during the first season as the group as a whole escaped the military and hospital complex that was fending off the coming apocalypse.

Travis and Maddie fearing...their captain?
Travis and Maddie fearing…their captain?

Travis and Maddie, the main couple, their children Alicia and Nick, Travis’s son Chris from his first marriage, their surviving friend Daniel Salazar and Victor make up the crew of the Abigail. It is an interesting transition from season 1 to season 2, as we go from a crowded, macroscopic view of society breaking down to a very confined, calm, claustrophobic environment of a boat travelling away from LA towards San Diego, far, from the explosions and general mayhem of the coastal metropolis.  The family is dealing with the death of Travis’ ex-wife and Chris’ mother in the finale of the last season, as she was bitten as they made their escape and was mercy-shot by Travis, who took over the mercy killing from his wife in order to hold their family together by not having Chris be alienated from his step-mother even more for murdering his biological mother to save her. Tension runs high in this dynamic as Chris struggles to let go of his mother, but the portrayal of this turmoil by Lorenzo Henrie is weak compared to Salazar’s (Ruben Blades) internal struggle or the strain of Travis evoked by Cliff Curtis.

Dysfunctional family
Dysfunctional family

Victor’s mysterious motivations and ruthlessness is what I find most compelling, and puts him in the most danger from the others, as he lays down his 3 laws to the crew ( all of which are “This is my boat”) when they are trying to decide to take on survivors on a distant boat. I look forward to seeing how he shapes the narrative this season.

This is STRAND's boat!
This is STRAND’s boat!

The man external conflict develops as Alicia, Travis and Maddie’s daughter, puts them all in trouble by  secretly talking via walkie-talkie to another survivor, taking solace in the fact they are not alone in their maritime distress. She ultimately gives their position away. This may have dangerous consequences, as the crew finds a capsized boat that has been attacked, possibly by the very person Alicia has been talking to and come to trust. The boat is full of floating zombies, and as they escape, the mysterious voice on the other end of the walkie talkie warns of their impending arrival.

Aqua-zombies!
Aqua-zombies!

The major character balances this season seem to be that Salazar and Victor are ruthless and  both ready to kill or abandon while Maddie is too compassionate, their children are impulsive and unpredictable, and Travis is the balance in between them all trying to hold things together. How much compassion can you have and still survive? How much ruthlessness can you indulge in and still keep a group in trustful relationship? How much loss such as Salazar still getting over losing his family or Chris losing his mother, can a character endure without abandoning their core principles? These are the questions this season is setting up against the backdrop of the beginnings to the zombie apocalypse in a much more intimate setting than last season. I’m on board so far and hope for a heart-wrenching, blood-dripping, face-eatingly good season!

Is the ocean the escape they hope for? (Probably not)
Is the ocean the escape they hope for? (Probably not)