Fear the Walking Dead premiere recap: ‘What’s Your Story?’
Fear the Walking Dead
- TV Show
- Current Status
- In Season
- run date
- Ruben Blades, Mercedes Mason, Cliff Curtis
- Drama, Horror
We gave it an A-
It was October of 2017 and Walking Dead fans had gathered at Madison Square Garden for the season 8 New York Comic Con panel with some of the cast — not on the larger basketball arena that they were used to, but in a smaller, cramped theater in the back of the venue. The attendees overtook the conversation many times.
Melissa McBride smiled and waited for the cheers to finally die down in this cramped space so she could talk about Carol’s journey ahead, but even she was interrupted by one or two stray fans who cosplayed Negan and screamed, “We love you!” Andrew Lincoln made a point to promise now was finally the time to bring the old Rick back, and Lennie James then tried to explain his character’s conflict over harming one of the Saviors. “Just do it!” another fan shouted, a symptom of the labored narrative we had watch play out on screen the previous season.
In some ways, The Walking Dead doesn’t feel like it belongs to the creators anymore. It belongs to the fans, and the producers of the series don’t want to disappoint them — often times to a fault. Lincoln made proclamations about how the season 8 finale will be “phenomenal” and executive producer Scott Gimple told TV Line, “I pray to God [the fans] are satisfied.”
This is where we find Fear the Walking Dead in an interesting position. It’s a spin-off that has become better and better with each season, while the quality and ratings of The Walking Dead continues to falter. It doesn’t have to worry as much about fan expectations because it’s traversing new territory previously unseen in this world. It still belongs to the creators. Lead characters can actually be killed off if the story calls for it — the actors are great, but they don’t have the rabid legions backing, say, Norman Reedus that would blow up the internet. In a lot of ways, it’s a spin-off that has surpassed the series that spawned it.
So when Morgan walks away from The Walking Dead and enters the world of Fear the Walking Dead, the major bummer is the reminder that there are still some loose ends to tie up in the series proper.
We first meet John Dorie, a cowboy played by Garret Dillahunt. He’s been living in silence for the past year because he hasn’t had anyone to talk too and he actually started enjoying the idea of talking to himself. But as he’s sitting by a campfire eating the only food he has, baked beans, he breaks his silence when he hears a branch snap in the woods. Maybe it’s someone hiding from him, maybe it’s a walker, maybe it’s a traveler passing through. He feels compelled to speak out to the darkness, to someone who might not even be there. He did have a lover at one point, a woman who came across his path and lived with him for some time — until they got separated. He mentions later how they both carry identical white-handled pistols.
A walker finally shuffled out from the woods. John, an apt gunslinger, spins his weapon around and shoots it down. As the corpse falls, Morgan is standing behind it with his stick about to pierce the walker’s skull. The two men freeze. Morgan’s not sure if he can trust John, but John is excited about the prospect of company. “What’s your story?” he asks.
Here’s that story…
The forces of Alexandria, Hilltop, and the Kingdom defeated the Saviors, but Morgan still decided to live by himself at the junkyard, what used to be the home of Jadis and the Scavengers. He’s visited by Jesus, Carol, and Rick, who are all trying to save him, to bring him back home. “You can hide, but you can’t run,” Rick says. Challenge accepted! Morgan does run, but mostly walks from it all. He sets out across the country, actively avoiding any other people he spots along the way. The color quality becomes muted, closer to black and white, so it’s unclear if they’re trying to play with time here. It doesn’t seem so. (Recap continues on next page)