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Fear the Walking Dead Season 4 (1 Viewer)

Adam Lenhardt

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Kind of an unusual premiere, since it picked up right where the "Walking Dead" Season 8 finale left off. In fact, if you watched it in the presented 2 hour, 10 minute block you could be forgiven for thinking it was one long, unusually structured episode.

The entire premiere, with the exception of the cold open, is told from Morgan Jones's point of view. Having taken some time living alone in the junkyard to get his head on right again, he's purely in Kung Fu mode here - a solitary figure roaming the countryside , only forced out into the open when his training and sense of social responsibility force his hand.

Apparently the world switches from 16mm film to pristine digital somewhere around the Mississippi River. The sequence where that transition was handled, via a flareup with his mental illness, reminded me in a much more subtle way of Dorothy coming out of the house in "Wizard of Oz". The bulk of the episode is shot in a dusky, sepia near-monochrome -- a very different look than both "The Walking Dead" and the previous three seasons of this spinoff.

I like that the timelines are aligned now, and this Morgan is a post-All Out War Morgan instead of being shoehorned into one of his many absences from Rick. His character is allowed to grow organically, rather than being teed up to match his mental state from one of his previous "Walking Dead" arrivals.

And while there was clearly a significant time jump between the Season 3 finale and this premiere, the timelines probably weren't as out of sync as one might think. "Fear the Walking Dead" always burned through time much more quickly the mothership did. The entire eight seasons of the mothership supposedly took place in less than two years of story time. The first three seasons of "Fear" took place over the course of at least a couple months. So we're only talking an 18-24 month time jump.

Our leads from the earlier seasons only showed up at the very end (less the top-billed actress), as the antagonists.
 

TravisR

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The premiere was pretty good so hopefully the new blood behind and in front of the camera can keep it going. Garret Dillahunt is always good and it took me a minute to even recognize Maggie Grace. I'm guessing that there will be an episode that fills in the blank between the end of S3 and where they are now.


And while there was clearly a significant time jump between the Season 3 finale and this premiere, the timelines probably weren't as out of sync as one might think. "Fear the Walking Dead" always burned through time much more quickly the mothership did. The entire eight seasons of the mothership supposedly took place in less than two years of story time. The first three seasons of "Fear" took place over the course of at least a couple months. So we're only talking an 18-24 month time jump.
Yeah, that was my guess for the time jump too. I'm estimating but I think the amount of time from the beginning of Season Four (just before the Governor raided the prison) and the end of Season Eight has been less than 6 months.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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I've seen plenty of movies and shows use desaturate flashbacks, but this might be the first one where the "Before" scenes are in full color while the "Now" scenes are desaturated.

After three seasons of the Saviors on the mothership, it's nice to have a new villain with a new modus operandi. The morning announcer at the settlement in the ballpark noted that it was the settlement's one year anniversary. From what Madison said, their little group arrived relatively soon after it was established, so I'm guessing that that storyline is splitting the difference time-wise between the events on the dam and the "Now" scene; probably about a year after the third season finale but about a year before the "Now" stuff.

The little girl who played Charlie was one of the better child actors this universe has had. The reveal that she was an advance scout for the Vultures was less a shocking surprise than a reminder of the laws under which the universe operates in the absence of civilization. Right about this point in the timeline, Rick's group was just starting to plant crops at the prison. So Madison's group is due a couple more false starts before they have a settlement with some staying power.

The key question about the Vultures is whether they're truly opportunistic, as their name would imply, or if they take action to help the inevitable along. Did they sabotage that tank so the fire would start? Did the weevils find their way into the ballpark on their own, or did Charlie introduce them?

Either way, I'm just glad we're not stuck with the endlessly padded meandering pace of the main show. Now that it's past the point of being an origin story, this is basically "The Walking Dead: Texas" -- and I'm fine with that.

The absence of Madison in the "Now" scenes in conspicuous.
 

Stan

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Might give it another try. Hated the "Nick" character, terrible actor, ruined the show for me. But I'll try a few episodes and see if it has improved.
 

Paul D G

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I still think the first three seasons were horribly misguided, but now it looks like they're going to follow the style of storytelling of TWD so I'm willing to stick around and see how it works out.

So, is the general belief that TWD is about two years in? And if FEAR has been at the stadium for a year, and they got there around three months into the apocalypse...? So that's roughly 8 months between the two storylines. If so the Vultures must absolutely decimate the place. I hope this leads to good story telling.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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I accidentally started playing my recording of "Into the Badlands" instead of this show, which spoiled the major death when the last thirty seconds of tonight's episode kicked off the recording.

In some ways, it's a bit of housekeeping now that Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg have taken over as showrunners; they're going to keep the parts of show that are working for the story they want to tell, and discard the parts of the show that don't fit in with their vision.

And because of the dual timeline structure they're going with, the deceased will probably continue to appear in every episode for the remainder of the season. One of the tricky balancing acts of the way they're telling the story this season is that every new bit of information we get in the "now" scenes limits the possibilities for the "then" scenes. We knew going into this episode, for instance, that Nick, Alicia, Victor and Luciana survive the "then" storyline because they're breathing in the "now" storyline. After tonight, we know that Ennis and Charlie from the Vultures also survive the "then" storyline.

Because the death is so major, I'm going to use spoiler tags to discuss further:
Nick was a character that I felt the show never really got a handle on. He was an addict, and the co-creator David Erickson went into this show thinking that would give him huge advantages in the apocalypse. But what quickly became clear is that an addict's personality is a liability no matter the circumstances. He was a polarizing character that alienated a lot of the audience, and I don't know that I bought most of his shifts in philosophy. They finally sort of locked into a version of the character that worked in the back half of last season.

This is a death that passes the test of creating more storytelling opportunities than it closes off:
  • Morgan's central truth is that he loses people, and then he loses himself. He tried to divert Nick from the path he was on. But there was that moment where Nick forced him to acknowledge that he could forcibly stop Nick from seeking vengeance, but chose not to. He is surely going to feel some responsibility for what happened, especially since Nick -- always ready for a new driving life philosophy -- seemed to receptive to learning from Morgan what Morgan learned from Eastman. Morgan's got to feel like his dreadful cycle is repeating itself again.
  • Charlie shooting Nick is a direct consequence of Nick murdering Ennis. But in a way, this entire chain of events can be traced back to Charlie betraying Nick and Madison in the first place. Based on the events in the "Now" time, we know Madison doesn't succeed in winning her over in the "Then" timeline. But based on Charlie's reaction here, it seems like Nick is the first person she's killed. I'm not convinced that she's beyond redemption.
  • Alicia is the last one standing from the show's original core family. Travis, Liza, Chris, and now Nick are all dead. Her father was dead before the apocalypse. Her mother is missing or dead. For someone who has always defined herself in terms of what her family requires from her, it will be interesting to see how she deals with the aftermath.
  • Does this heat up the survivors' mission of vengeance, or does it make them rethink it?
 

Adam Lenhardt

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In some ways, the Vultures are even more pernicious villains than the Saviors. At least Negan understood that in order for long term survival to be possible, someone had to be doing the producing. The Vultures might not use violence like the Saviors did, but their model is finite: they don't produce anything, they just consume, totally and completely like locusts. And based on what we've seen so far, they don't just wait for settlements to fail, they take subtle action to undermine them. So they're not just not producing, they're preventing others from producing.
 

MarkMel

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Excellent episode. Maybe because the characters are new but I am really enjoying this more than Walking Dead.

Garrett Dillahunt is killing it. Tried to remember wh!ere I have seen him before and then it hit me - Deadwood
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Excellent episode. Maybe because the characters are new but I am really enjoying this more than Walking Dead.
I just came here to post the exact same thing. I enjoyed last night's episode more than I've enjoyed any episode from the main show in a long, long time. It helps that it was a standalone story built around two actors playing against type in interesting ways -- and one of them is among the greatest actors working today.

Garrett Dillahunt is killing it. Tried to remember wh!ere I have seen him before and then it hit me - Deadwood
I loved him as Burt Chance on "Raising Hope", so I've been bummed ever since that he so often gets pigeonholed into villain roles. John Dorie has Burt Chance's good-natured sweetness, but he's also got depths and nuances of his own. This universe is full of controlling men. I was moved by the care he took to respect Naomi/Laura's autonomy at every turn.

I also think this show is using Morgan Grimes better than the main show did.
 

Dave Scarpa

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This was a good episode, it's up there with the Bottle episode of Fear from Last year with Daniel where it showed what happened to him after the fire at the villa, or the episode with Morgan and Eastman of Walking Dead
 

Hollywoodaholic

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Count me also as a fan of this last episode, which played almost like a separate story from an anthology series.

But where the hell does John Dorie get his special bullet supply for those fancy six-shooters? Eugene?
 

Adam Lenhardt

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John Dorie has quickly become my favorite character. Lets hope that gunshot in the final moments of the episode wasn't fatal.

Naomi's backstory was appropriately horrifying, and also completely understandable. The new showrunners so far have done a good job of avoiding the old Dave Erickson "and then so-and-so goes crazy just because!" trick.

Madison is still MIA, which is interesting. Something went down in the future between the settlement at the stadium and the Vultures that caused the bad blood to get to this point.

Charlie didn't appear to be with the convoy when they regrouped at the rendezvous, which is also interesting.

Two episodes left until the spring finale. I wonder if the "Before" timeline will catch up to the "Now" timeline by the end of that episode, since they presumably only had Frank Dillane for the first shooting block of the season.
 

TravisR

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John Dorie has quickly become my favorite character. Lets hope that gunshot in the final moments of the episode wasn't fatal.
Yeah, it better not be. If Carl can survive a similar gunshot wound, Dorie can too. If he does die, I have to imagine that the showrunners are worried after seeing how favorably people have responded to the character.


Madison is still MIA, which is interesting.
Yeah, I love Kim Dickens and would hate to see her leave the show but it would be pretty good if Madison was dead. That being said, I figure she's a hostage of the Vultures.
 

Hollywoodaholic

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Did they just kill the only character I give a shit about in possibly the dumbest standoff ever aired on television. Let's just walk out in the middle of the road with all our guns aimed like they used to stand and face each other in the Revolutionary War. Yeah, that's a good plan.

And we keep hearing stories about the dam flood survival but I guess we're never going to see what actually happened and how anyone survived that. Just.... cut to a year later.

This show started good and is now getting as dumb as it's father show. And I've actually been re-watching the first season of the other show and IT WAS EXCELLENT... because it was about character stories of survival and solving puzzles of survival, not about warring factions just going back and forth against each other.

But with that standoff... sheesh. Ridiculous.
 

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