Of the many shameful decisions in my life, abandoning Fear the Walking Dead midway through its second season was one I regret more than most. The Walking Dead is my favourite TV show, I love the zombies, I love the characters, and I love the stories that show told. Fear the Walking Dead just didn't grip me in the same way. The idea of it being set during the outbreak of the apocalypse, rather than some time later was fascinating, yet the first seasons desire to focus on the survivors rather than the undead led to boredom setting in. I had heard that nowadays the show was the place where characters who left the main show, but didn't leave by dying ended up. I had heard Morgan (Lennie James) was one of the main characters now, and I love him so was excited to see what he was up to. It seems nowadays the show (possibly) takes place during the time jump period from the main show.
I jumped back in with season 6, and have had the pleasure of being able to watch the first three episodes of the new season. The End is the Beginning plays out like a zombie filled Western. I don't know if that is the vibe the show goes for nowadays but I have to say I loved it. I may have returned to the show too late as while Morgan is very much the star of this episode he also appears to be dying from a gunshot wound. Morgan is so close to death that zombies no longer even see him as human, and to make matters worse he is being hunted by a axe wielding bounty hunter and his dog. The episode featured plenty of zombie killing and quite a few beheadings. While I was mostly confused by what was going on I was at least clear that the big bad of Fear seems to be a woman named Virginia (Colby Minifie - The Boys, Jessica Jones), and her cowboy themed gang. I loved how stripped back and Western feeling this episode was, with just a handful of characters, and the vast desert like environment this felt different to The Walking Dead, more than I had expected it to.
The second episode Welcome to the Club is centered around Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Strand (Colman Domingo). I remember both these characters from the first season, and Strand especially was a joy to see. I love how morally grey his character continues to be. Now, working for Virginia they are tasked with clearing out a zombie infested warehouse. There were so many zombies here, looked to have been hundreds of the things! Most appreciated, especially when my memory of the show tells me there used to be barely any. The near singular location used for this episode brought to mind the style of Z Nation, in fact, the Western feel does evoke memories of that show, but without the comedy.
The third episode I got to see as part of my preview was Alaska. Again this followed a different group of characters, this time Dwight (Austin Amelio) and Al (Maggie Grace). I love what this season is doing having each episode almost be stand alone, it brings back to me memories of the terrific second half of season 4 of The Walking Dead which did a similar thing. I knew Dwight from the main show, and knew he was searching for his wife, Al however I didn't have a clue who she was. This episode was the most confusing for me, though totally due to me not having the context of what was going on. For a third episode in a row there were just so many zombies, which was fantastic. It keeps the Z Nation vibe going by keeping the action to a singular location, this time an office block in which the characters are trying to make it up to the roof.
I originally stopped watching Fear the Walking Dead due to the frustration with how little zombies in general appeared in the show. Seeing so many in each episode in this new season has really made me change my mind, I think it is about time I begin to watch this from the start. Sure, being such a fan of the main series it can sometimes feel like you are watching the B-team, yet by having characters from that one appear here somewhat dilutes that feeling. I don't know what the show has been like previously, but just going by the first three episodes here I am fully on board. Fear the Walking Dead: Season 6 launches on Monday 12th October at 9pm on AMC.