From the onset of its creation, Fear the Walking Dead has had its back against the proverbial wall. Standing in the massive shadow of its sister series and namesake The Walking Dead, the West Coast-based spinoff carries with it the baggage of its predecessor’s success. After watching seven seasons of Rick Grimes and co. on the small screen, fans have an obsessive loyalty towards the primary series and the experiences of its protagonists. Fear doesn’t have that luxury—yet.
The only way that a post-apocalyptic series like TWD or Fear can work is for viewers to care about what happens to the characters as they face constant life and death situations. Despite two full seasons of Fear, the characters haven’t developed a place in the hearts of the audience just yet. While Nick, Strand, and Salazar are interesting Fear personalities, I don’t see any of them reaching “If Daryl dies we riot” levels of fandom. As the show’s setting jumps back and forth across the US/Mexican border like Trump’s worst nightmare come true, we get a better sense of the world the characters live in rather than who the blended family is that is fighting to live in it.
The two-hour season 3 premier of Fear is split into two episodes, “Eye of the Beholder” and “The New Frontier.” The former finds Travis, Madison and Alicia dragged onto a military base after being captured at the Mexican border If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching this franchise is that soldiers are generally assholes with big guns and bigger attitudes and such is the case here. Led by pretty boy army brat Troy, the soldiers are slaughtering people in a dank men’s room to analyze how the dead resurrect. Of course the next test subjects are Travis along with Nick and Luciana, who were already being held in the bathroom of terror.
Travis manages to outsmart the soldiers only to get recaptured and tossed into a gladiator pit where he takes out a gauntlet of “infected” with his bare hands and a cinder block. Meanwhile, Madison and Alicia jump soldier bae, who gets stabbed in the face with a spoon (ouch!). Threatening to dig his eye out, Madison demands her family be set free despite being surrounded by armed soldiers. Enter Troy’s older brother Jake, who plays peacemaker and talks the spoon-wielding Madison down.
After a touching family reunion, Jake tries to convince them to join him back at his father’s ranch, which he calls a “sanctuary.” That word never means anything good in the TWD universe so the family says, thanks, but no thanks. Moments later a sea of “infected” swarm the base. In all the chaos the family is separated once more, with Madison and Nick hopping in a convoy with soldier bae, while Travis, Alicia and an injured Luciana make it out with Jake and two other soldiers via helicopter.