Brief spoilers for Fear The Walking Dead Season 2 are in this article.
There’s been a lot of zombie action going down on AMC lately between the Walking Dead and now its prequel spinoff Fear the Walking Dead, which just aired its Season 2 premiere. We’re on to another adventure in the zombie apocalypse; unfortunately, this premiere wasn't the most exciting start to the season. According to showrunner Dave Erickson, there’s a very good reason why the premiere didn’t kick off with a bang, and it’s all building to an upcoming cliffhanger.
I look at it as three chapters. We had the six-episode season one and we’re broken in two – seven episodes for the first half and eight for the back half – of Season 2. You want something monumental that will beg people to come back. You also need something that feels organic and driven. The ideal cliffhanger, the ideal churn for any show – and this can be a novel or a TV show or a movie – but you want it to feel inevitable. You want that moment of shock and surprise but when you catch your breath, you want to feel that yes, there’s no other way that could have gone down. That’s always the goal.
David Erickson’s reveal to THR that the rather anticlimactic start to Season 2 was deliberate is somewhat reassuring. If he’d come out and said that he believed this episode was the pinnacle of everything exciting that Fear the Walking Dead has to offer, the rest of the second season might not have too much appeal. The first episode wasn’t exactly bad, it was just… slow.
The episode did open on a pretty exciting sequence. Los Angeles burning in the background while the merry band of survivors tried to avoid Walkers in the surf of the Pacific was suitably scary. Once the sun rose on the Abigail, however, the action slowed to a stop and the talking began.
To be fair, all of the talking that went down during the episode might have felt less frustrating if Fear the Walking Dead didn’t invite comparisons to The Walking Dead in every single way. There’s bound to be a lot of viewer crossover between the spinoff and the mothership, so it’s somewhat hard to go from watching hardened survivors achieving the impossible to a handful of suburbanites still stuck on the morality of the zombie apocalypse. Rick and Co. already learned not to trust seemingly friendly strangers; watching Maddie and Co. learn the same lesson doesn’t pack the same punch.
All the same, building toward a cliffhanger shows promise for Fear the Walking Dead. A gradual rising of the action could make the big twist at the end of the seventh episode pack all the more punch, so maybe we’ll be glad for a slow start to the season by the time the midseason finale comes around. Only time will tell.
Fear the Walking Dead airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. For a look at when your favorite summer shows will be back on the airwaves, check out our schedule of summer TV premiere dates.