[TV] Fear the Walking Dead Season 4 (caution spoilers)

rittchard
rittchard
The second half of "Survival Sunday" gave us an enjoyable FTWD season 4 premiere. Oddly, it felt more like the beginning of a completely new Walking Dead spinoff. In some ways, this is feeling more like the show they perhaps should have made. The catch is they still wanted to preserve the elements they did like from the show, so we are getting an odd hybrid. Far too early to say whether it's going to pan out, but from what I've seen so far it looks like there's a good shot this is going to be a fun show, even surpassing the original.

I'm guessing this was originally planned as a 2-hour premiere, because otherwise it felt a little disrespectful to the FTWD cast, who essentially are just a cameo twist this hour. Instead, we get a ton of Morgan time, including scenes featuring 3 guest appearances from TWD. I suppose this was in lieu of having any farewell scenes with the rest of the cast. But as enjoyable as it was, it felt misplaced to me in a show that has had its own story and cast for 3 years. I suspect there are growing numbers of fans who only watch Fear, and the writers should really own and respect that. Again, the result really felt to me like a completely different show, like the intent was to spin off Morgan onto his own show as opposed to join an existing one.

We also get introduced to two new characters, both of whom are immediately more appealing than any of the original FTWD cast. Maggie Grace from Lost has shed her whiny teen persona and beautiful blonde hair to become a badass dark haired reporter driving a tank filled with automatic weapons and using some sweet little ninja blades for melee. Who isn't going to like that? Then Garret Dillahunt, another genre fan favorite, plays an immediately endearing cowboy-esque character with a six shooter and a cool outfit (but with implications he used to work in a movie theater). While we normally mistrust everyone we meet in these shows, both of these characters seem to just jump right into your living room and make you feel attached. It's a great achievement because in the past the only time that's happened (for me) was with pre-established comic characters like Michonne, Aaron and Jesus. I guess the casting familiarity helps a lot, but the writing did as well.

So Morgan, who was never really a favorite for me, particularly with his back and forth on kill or don't (I guess we've swung back to not killing), joins up with these 2 and it ends up making for a cool new group. Morgan's annoying features are less pronounced here so even he feels more appealing to me. And then boom, in the last minute they dump the old cast on us like cold water lol. I guess it was a surprisingly effective conclusion, and I certainly look forward to seeing how they bring the story there. I expect next week to effectively be the opposite of this one, focusing completely on the old cast and how it got to this point (which again I really would have preferred as the second hour to last night's opener).

Here's hoping for a fantastic season, I am cautiously optimistic.

Comments

  • rittchard
    rittchard
    GT Member
    Are you guys watching Fear? If not I won't continue this thread.

    Assuming you are, I'll continue from last week's post. It definitely felt to me like this was at some point designed to be part of a 2 hour premiere. It did justice to the original characters and also introduced the final new character, so it would have made complete sense to have it bookend the premiere.

    It's an interesting setup, and thus far it works for me. This ep was like a flashback with flashbacks within the flashback. It's hard to tell exactly when the "present" is, because they intentionally are vague with the time. But if you follow the info that's out there, it should be roughly 2 years total from the original outbreak. Yesterday they mentioned a year anniversary in the stadium, so that leaves an interesting gap between the end of last season and where they ended up. And yet another gap/mystery as to how they ended up seemingly losing everything (including Madison) to (probably) the new bad guys, the Vultures.

    Madison's new attitude is interesting, as it's almost like the Rick that Carl envisioned, one who wants to give people a chance and not just kill or be killed. One that is working for a better future/tomorrow. But of course this is TWD so trust is obviously taken advantage of, unless you are a semi-famous actor with some "cred." If you are a cute little girl, though, people like me are immediately suspicious and guessing you are a spy (then again I also thought Enid was a spy).

    I think the Vultures make for an interesting (at least different) "adversary," though I can't help but think our heroes could/should easily just snipe them away and kill the rest. Maybe that's the point, though, that they feel the need to find a "better way." I guess it's too soon to tell if the Vultures are actually impeding them from doing things and screwing stuff up for them (like why are they collecting zombies?), or if they are really just flat out waiting for them to die. If it's the latter, they really haven't done anything except act like douches. If it's the former, it seems like they would be pretty easy to kill. So I'm not sure where the writers want to go with this. But killer Alicia was badass enough on her own last year, and now they are getting a bunch of additional badasses PLUS Morgan. To fight a pretty boy, a clown on a bike and some hippies? Doesn't seem like a fair fight.

    Anyway, still looking good so far!
  • rittchard
    rittchard
    GT Member
    Are you guys watching Fear? If not I won't continue this thread.

    Assuming you are, I'll continue from last week's post. It definitely felt to me like this was at some point designed to be part of a 2 hour premiere. It did justice to the original characters and also introduced the final new character, so it would have made complete sense to have it bookend the premiere.

    It's an interesting setup, and thus far it works for me. This ep was like a flashback with flashbacks within the flashback. It's hard to tell exactly when the "present" is, because they intentionally are vague with the time. But if you follow the info that's out there, it should be roughly 2 years total from the original outbreak. Yesterday they mentioned a year anniversary in the stadium, so that leaves an interesting gap between the end of last season and where they ended up. And yet another gap/mystery as to how they ended up seemingly losing everything (including Madison) to (probably) the new bad guys, the Vultures.

    Madison's new attitude is interesting, as it's almost like the Rick that Carl envisioned, one who wants to give people a chance and not just kill or be killed. One that is working for a better future/tomorrow. But of course this is TWD so trust is obviously taken advantage of, unless you are a semi-famous actor with some "cred." If you are a cute little girl, though, people like me are immediately suspicious and guessing you are a spy (then again I also thought Enid was a spy).

    I think the Vultures make for an interesting (at least different) "adversary," though I can't help but think our heroes could/should easily just snipe them away and kill the rest. Maybe that's the point, though, that they feel the need to find a "better way." I guess it's too soon to tell if the Vultures are actually impeding them from doing things and screwing stuff up for them (like why are they collecting zombies?), or if they are really just flat out waiting for them to die. If it's the latter, they really haven't done anything except act like douches. If it's the former, it seems like they would be pretty easy to kill. So I'm not sure where the writers want to go with this. But killer Alicia was badass enough on her own last year, and now they are getting a bunch of additional badasses PLUS Morgan. To fight a pretty boy, a clown on a bike and some hippies? Doesn't seem like a fair fight.

    Anyway, still looking good so far!
  • Jimmy the Fish
    Jimmy the Fish
    GT Member
    I'm watching but I have not seen last night's episode yet. I'll check back in once I do.

    Based on the first episode, which was more of a bridge for Morgan to transition to this show, I did like it. Only thing that bugged me was how stupid Morgan, the reporter and the Dory were at the end stopping the armored truck to help a single woman on the road by herself. None of them were smart enough to see a setup that far away?
  • rittchard
    rittchard
    GT Member
    Caution: spoilers for last night's episode (maybe not needed but just in case thought I'd throw in a reminder/spacer)

    So.... what seemed like just a "normal" follow up episode in the series turned into something more by the final moments. I'm still processing a bit, as it definitely caught me by surprise in a way that neither show has in quite a while.

    Most of the ep is quite enjoyable in a generic sort of way. We finally get some fun interaction of the new and old cast, and in spite of all the posturing, soon enough they are (more or less) working together.

    The flashback story continues on with Madison and Nick going out for a food run and being dogged by the annoying bike dude (who is the Vulture leader brother I guess, though it hasn't been explicitly said on the show) and traitor girl. Nothing too thrilling here, or so it seemed.

    Morgan and Nick get to revisit some plot points from TWD about killing or not just before they run into that same duo, leading to the disastrous conclusion. In some ways I really liked what they did, because just as I was starting to get annoyed by what I thought was going to be a rehash of Morgan's kill/no story, and just when you think it's going down the predictable path of Nick learning lessons from Morgan and the Art of Peace, boom! They go and off one of the few remaining original characters in a fairly shocking way (death by cute traitor girl). Now I've wanted Nick to die pretty much from episode 1, but now that it happened, I really feel kind of bad. I also wonder what led him to being so hell bent on killing the brother dude - did he kill Madison already? She and Dharma are oddly missing from the group, and I don't think Nick would care that much if he had offed Dharma.

    I guess I'm ultimately just bummed about it. With so few originals, it didn't occur to me they'd kill one (or maybe two???) off so soon in the season. Given the format, I guess he'll still be a big part of the show in the flashbacks so it's not too bad, but it does suck that he won't get any further interaction with Shannon or cowboy or Morgan. I was looking forward to that.

    So kudos to the writers for keeping us on our toes. But poopoos on them for doing it at the expense of some good potential storylines.
  • Jimmy the Fish
    Jimmy the Fish
    GT Member
    Okay, I caught up with last week's episode and then watched last night's. I hate to say that I am not liking this season at all. It reminds me a bit of season two of Walking Dead where they hung out at Herschel's farm doing nothing for the entire season. Clearly, this season has Scott Gimple's fingerprints all over it and I really dislike his vision of Walking Dead. The last two episodes of Fear have used the tired cliche from the original show of frequent flashbacks and over wrought melodrama. Ugh. I am so tired of flashback sequences. Clearly something catastrophic happened at the baseball stadium that forced everyone to scatter, with no sign of Madison either. So it's a slow grind backtracking the events via flashbacks to spell out the events.

    Two specific things I really dislike:
    1. The character they killed off was one that really should not have been killed. He was up to now one of the more interesting and complex characters from either show and to randomly kill him was such as waste.
    2. The rival group, the Vultures, are about the least menacing adversary you could ever see, which means there is absolutely no tension at all. I guess killing the main character they did last week was supposed to give our group the motivation to go after them but I don't buy it at all.

    Such as shame. The show had so much potential but now that Gimple and Nicotero seem to be getting more involved, it's going to get stale quickly, just like the original show.
  • rittchard
    rittchard
    GT Member
    I dunno, I kind of liked last night's ep. I realize it's not as plot forward driven as many people prefer, but personally I enjoy seeing how the pieces of the puzzle fall into place while getting tidbits of the main plot going (I guess it should have been obvious but I was genuinely surprised at the double Dharma reveal; I am skeptical that she's really dead, though). Of course I was a fan of Lost through thick and thin so I am pretty tolerant of this kind of slow-boil, small reveal, writing.

    On last week's Talking, they tell us that the actor playing Nick had asked out of the show last year. The question is why not just let him die in the dam explosion, which would have been a more dramatic and perhaps fitting death. Plus the way they've drawn up this season, it seems like the actor still needs to be in the majority of episodes in the flashbacks to get him to the point where he has gone psycho killer. They try to explain it like he was upset about losing the spy girl, but that really doesn't cut it given they spent all of two weeks together. Much more plausible is that they killed Madison (and maybe Dharma) in some gruesome way, and he's lost it because of that. But it's hard to imagine they'd lose their two biggest name actresses, unless my other theory that Morgan's salary was too expensive is true lol.

    I'm actually very interested/curious to see how they play this out, especially given how lame the Vulture weenies (pun intended) appear to be. It's hard to imagine a scenario created by the weenies that would make them all seem so desperate. Aside from that, I also really like the Cowboy and Lost what's her face, so I'm kind of fine with them taking over the show in the long run. I've never been a big Morgan fan, but I like him better with this group so far. It just seems like a slap in the face to the show's original fans if they kill both Nick and Madison this season.
  • rittchard
    rittchard
    GT Member
    Pretty much a stand-alone story, last night was either something you love or hate, depending on what you like in your Walking Dead universe episodes. Personally I loved it.
    This one featured Cowboy and Dharma's backstory in a wonderful, romantic yet action packed ep. Garret Dillahunt has really created an instantly adorable character. He's like Rick 2.0, only remade as a sweet but sexy gunslinger. You can't help but root for him, and after watching that episode, I can't imagine the writers would really kill Dharma off before they are allowed to reunite. If so, they are mean-spirited jerks lol.

    Unfortunately for viewers who are more plot-oriented, the main storyline and almost all of the other characters get basically no movement. Again, like Lost, this is a character-focused style you either like or hate.
  • rittchard
    rittchard
    GT Member
    Ooops sorry about the crazy multi-posts! I guess I REALLY loved that episode!!!!
  • rittchard
    rittchard
    GT Member
    OK.... so wow. The season's really ramping up as it heads to the mid-season break. Last week's beautiful little love story was perfectly timed to get you more invested in Dharma before this week's "reveals". Not only did she help bring about the deaths of an entire community (though I have to say if just a single internal zombie cascade took everyone out, they probably would never have made it long), but she also seems to have joined up with the Vulture gang? WTF? And where the f is Madison? The actress a few weeks ago alluded to the season being kind of a mystery, and I think this is what she was referring to. Clearly they are hiding her fate in the present a secret, and based on all the "clues" it seems like she might have been killed by the brother vulture that Nick killed. Still it could all be a misdirection, in which case they will need a really good backstory to justify everything else that's happened.

    I'm definitely liking this season - but then again I never really liked the original core cast much anyway, so it's almost like a completely new/different show now. In some ways it feels more like a second spinoff than it does a new season of Fear.
  • Jimmy the Fish
    Jimmy the Fish
    GT Member
    I haven't seen the latest episode yet, but I at least wanted to say that I really liked the "love story" episode from last week. Garrett Dillahunt has got to be one of the most underrated actors ever. The character of John Dorie is just really well written and is the best thing about this season so far.

    If they had the balls to kill off Madison this season, wow would that be a radical shift for the series. The entire family unit would be left with the daughter Alicia and a couple of secondary characters. Speaking of which, did Reuben Blades' character die last season? I don't even remember.
  • rittchard
    rittchard
    GT Member
    This season continues to be pretty enjoyable for me. I never could have predicted they might essentially turn half the cast against each other. I mean seriously, they could have all killed each other last night lol. What the heck???? And the build up for the final sequence was really cool. The craziness has made for some great dramatic sequences, but you really can't spend too much time thinking about it or you will find much of it completely unreasonable.

    The Vultures concept is still rather odd and hard to accept. I think the writers want their perspective to come across as reasonable, but they don't seem to be offering any sort of viable alternative. I guess it's to join their vulturing ways, but they don't really make much of a case for it being better than having a home base to protect. And on top of that, they somehow have the resources to keep thousands of walkers in check?

    I'm really hoping they (more or less) tie up this portion of the season next week and proceed to something new/different for the back half. But to get everything to that point would mean a lot of huge story reveals next week, so hard to say if they will go that route or try to milk it longer.

  • rittchard
    rittchard
    GT Member edited June 11
    rittchard wrote: »
    I'm really hoping they (more or less) tie up this portion of the season next week and proceed to something new/different for the back half. But to get everything to that point would mean a lot of huge story reveals next week, so hard to say if they will go that route or try to milk it longer.

    (Warning: I know the main thread already says spoilers but I will just repeat I am not using spoiler tags for spoilerish info.)

    An intriguing mid-season finale that really (more or less) completes the re-defining of this show, for better or worse. Pretty much what I've talked about in my comments has, to my surprise, more or less come to pass. They finally confirmed (more or less) what's been teased all season, that Madison's death was the trigger that turned the original Fear cast to the dark side.

    (Side note: one major disadvantage in today's world is writers/actors are faced with an odd dilemma in these situations. The way the episode was filmed, it appeared Madison died for certain, but they don't actually show her in flames or head chopped off or even bit. In the old days this would leave plenty of room for speculation and fun trying to come up with how she might have survived. But in today's world, the actress has already tweeted "confirmation" that she has left the show. This is not to say they couldn't always find a way to reverse it, but pretty much it closes the door in a way that's more final than it should be.)

    Back to the episode. I liked a lot of the things they did, particularly the bookend with Madison meeting Al and getting to tell her story. It's interesting the way they play with the timelines and flashbacks so you're never really 100% sure what/when you are viewing until and unless they choose to reveal more. There's still a pretty significant chunk of time missing between last season's finale and when Madison meets Al and eventually finds the rest of the cast. Hard to say whether they will bother showing us more of that or not. Anyway, Nick going psycho on the vulture who let loose all the zombies was clearly well justified after seeing what went down in the stadium. What's not so justified is the little bitch shooting Nick knowing her evil "uncle" had caused the death of everyone in the stadium who took her in. Also the entire crew's overreaction to Dharma, who as far as I can tell just tried to escape and live. I guess it looked like a betrayal but she didn't do anything that specific that she should be hunted down. And crazy Alicia almost killing Al (who oddly just seems to shrug it off when people almost kill her) by sticking her head in the middle of all the zombies seemed totally egregious (though really cool to watch). Then there's the other two, who just seem to be drones and shooting at whoever Alicia tells them to. A lot of it is pretty nonsensical and inconsistent. But... the important thing is John Dorie survived (I swear if they killed him I'd quit the show) and reunited with Dharma. Morgan got some nice moments talking down Psycho Alicia. Al's stupid movies finally served a semi-useful purpose in tying the stories together.

    I'm not thrilled with losing Madison, as I really liked her interaction with Victor, which formed one of the major backbones of the show. I also felt like there was more they could have mined between her and Alicia, and I would have really enjoyed seeing her clash (or not) with Morgan and John. But the good thing is it leaves a gap in leadership, so that should be something interesting to see as to who fills that role in the future. As I said before, this show now really becomes more of a second spinoff to TWD that just happens to have a couple of characters from Fear. It's an interesting mix, particularly adding that little bitch Charlie, and the fact that half the cast has actively tried to kill the other half.


    TLDR: a cool episode brought down by some poor plot points and the loss of the show's original star looks like it may reboot the show into something significantly different going forward

  • Blackjack
    Blackjack
    GT Member edited June 17
    I really warmed up to the sort of 'soft reset' of this show this season and enjoy the new characters.

    I'm not crazy about losing Madison but I did appreciate the way the writers gave her a strong, heroic sendoff to her character, going out on her terms <3 ; as opposed to, ya know, having her skull sausage-meated by Negan's bat. :p

    The actress was on Talking Dead after the episode, and you could tell both that she appreciated the way her character's end was handled, but also that she loved doing the show and the different directions it was heading and had no desire to leave the show.

    I realize it's just the way Kirkman's comics work but the whole "characters can't grow and the show can't move unless someone fans like dies on a regular basis" still to me is ultimately going to grind down any show into characters long-time fans don't know and don't care about. I hope Fear doesn't get carried away with the Grim Reaper aspect of it all.
  • rittchard
    rittchard
    GT Member
    I am very skeptical about the way characters are killed off. The producers always give us the standard "whatever moves the story" line but I think half the time it's bullshit. I suspect behind the scenes it's a much different story, and probably very different in each case, more than likely involving contracts and negotiations more than anything else. I find it really difficult to believe they decided to kill both Nick AND Madison at essentially the same time. They already said the actor who played Nick had asked off. As much as I like Kim Dickens, I can't believe she was unaware of what was going on. They added two semi-famous blond actresses into the cast, so that was pretty much an obvious sign. The question is whether it was some sort of power play from the producers or just hedging their bets because they didn't know if she would stay. I guess it doesn't matter in the end, but I do hope that longer term the producers don't keep messing with the cast and killing characters off just because they can. I'm still bitter about Carl and I still say that was a mistake, likely also some sort of contract issue (possibly with his dad).

    On a side note, did you hear about Chris Hardwick? I guess his ex accused him of abuse so he is getting cut out of a bunch of stuff. Don't know if he'll be returning to Talking Dead or not now, which is really a shame. He seems like such a sweet guy, it's really hard to believe what he was accused of but I guess you never know.
  • Jimmy the Fish
    Jimmy the Fish
    GT Member
    I don't think it's random coincidence that the wild and radical departure this season has taken, along with the dynamic in the way characters are killed off, happened when Scott Gimple took over as series producer. He's been terrible for the evolution and direction of Walking Dead. The real test is how the original series plays out since Gimple is no longer primary producer of that show.

    The stuff about Hardwick is sad. He does seem like a nice guy but sometimes the public persona is very different from the private person. His ex, Chloe Dykstra equally seems like a sweet person and very down to earth, from the shows I've seen her on (Heroes of Cosplay on the the SyFy channel for example). It's kind of telling in Hardwick's published response that he didn't come out and deny her claims and even turned it around by accusing her of cheating on him.
  • rittchard
    rittchard
    GT Member edited June 19
    The stuff about Hardwick is sad. He does seem like a nice guy but sometimes the public persona is very different from the private person. His ex, Chloe Dykstra equally seems like a sweet person and very down to earth, from the shows I've seen her on (Heroes of Cosplay on the the SyFy channel for example). It's kind of telling in Hardwick's published response that he didn't come out and deny her claims and even turned it around by accusing her of cheating on him.

    Yeah this is one of those cases that really should not play out in public. Maybe it's my fan crush on him, but I have to say it looks like he's getting wrongfully persecuted/punished in this case. Real relationships are incredibly complex, and it's not difficult to write something that is truthful from a certain perspective, yet sounds terrible on paper. In fact I could do the same thing right now about my current relationship, and I could frame it in a way that sounds like I am being "abused" - when the fact is I share just as much responsibility for the way things play out on a daily basis. And I guarantee my partner could probably say the same thing about me. And yet the negative part is just one small part of our overall relationship and history. If we were breaking up, it's easy to focus only on the worst, most negative and ugly parts of a relationship, which is not fair or realistic.

    In this bizarre #metoo age it feels like men are no longer getting the benefit of the doubt, things seem to be going too far to compensate any time a woman makes an accusation. Everyone is just assuming the men are 100% at fault. I have no doubt there are a ton of bad men doing bad things, but I also feel like some of these cases are not nearly so clear cut. This one to me feels like it's right on the borderline and it's a shame they jumped out and fired him all over the place so quickly. Because that gives the impression they've done sufficient investigation into ALL of the details, when I suspect that's not the case.

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