A quick admission before diving further into this Fear the Walking Dead season 3 episode 1 review: We had a chance to watch the episode tonight after The Leftovers series finale, and by that time, much of social media had already spoiled the big death in episode 2. Want to avoid that? Then you should probably stop reading now.
There was something interesting about the show killing off Travis in episode 2, given that the bulk of the story on episode 1 of the season revolved very much around the massive lengths that were taken in order to ensure the character’s survival. This included him killing off a near-constant string of zombies within a bit, and staring down some of the new enemies in the face at the military compound. This includes Troy (Daniel Sharman), the resident psychopath who loves to experiment on the undead until his brother comes along and peskily tells him to stop. Oh, brothers, constantly getting in the way of stopping someone’s quest to murder a ton of people and perform horrific experiments on them…
The most problematic part of the episode is almost surely how it took so long for someone to stop Troy from making everyone’s lives a living hell. Madison did get her revenge on him holding her and Alicia hostage by gouging out one of his eyes, which makes some of those preseason comparisons between him and the Governor all the more interesting. This guy still has some believers within his compound, and Madison is forced to spend some more time with him after the place became overrun with zombies.
The good news is that after all of the standoffs and pretty superb action sequences, there was a moment of happiness for the entire crew, one that was pretty heartbreaking know what would be coming on the other side for Travis in episode 2. This was the last time that he, Nick, Madison, and Alicia would be all together in one place again before they were forced to go their separate ways as they head to their new place.
The good and the bad
The big issue that Fear the Walking Dead had with this premiere is arguably just that they told the story of about three or four episodes in only 1, and there were some parts of it that felt a little bit rushed. It’s probably a better problem to have than The Walking Dead crawling along at a snail’s place for much of season 7, but there was more that could have been done with the compound.
Beyond that, Dave Erickson and the writers have greatly improved these characters over the past year, making most of them interesting and exciting to watch. Even Madison, who can at times be a little one-note with her intensity, showed some rare vulnerability in discussing how important it was for her that Travis be okay. She loved him, potentially more than she even loved herself. The ghost of this comment, like the ghost of Travis, will haunt the show for some time. Premiere Grade: B+.
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