In Review

Fear the Walking Dead series two: What will happen to Nick?

Frank Dillane's character goes it alone among the flesh-eating monsters, but it's all 'eerily familiar', say critics

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The second half of Fear the Walking Dead season two begins this weekend, ending the long wait for fans desperate to find out what happens next in the zombie-horror spin-off.

The companion series to AMC's comic-book adaptation The Walking Dead goes back to the early days of the zombie apocalypse, as the first outbreak hits Los Angeles. Like the original, it has taken a mid-season break to keep fans on the edge of their seats.

Part one ended with Travis (Cliff Curtis) split up from his fiance Madison (Kim Dickens) and her son Nick (Frank Dillane), as well as the apparent deaths of some key characters.

As Nick tries to forge his own path, the remaining survivors face internal struggles and must now face the consequences of their choices.

A trailer for part two of the season shows Madison wondering if she'll ever see her son again, while he heads out on a lonely road straight into danger and a brutal gang takes control of the lawless streets. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"99057","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

Series showrunner David Erickson says the upcoming episodes will explore how Nick's drug addiction has been transformed into one for the adrenaline rush of passing unnoticed among the walkers. 

In an interview with TV Line, he says the character has a strong addictive personality and, like many in recovery, is searching for an outlet for that. "What Nick does is he finds it in the dead," he says.

But Nick also has a plan. "We find out he had something in his hand that we didn't know about that makes him a little bit less insane than to just walk off," says Erickson, adding Nick will also reconnect with someone when the show returns.

However, some critics wonder if Fear the Walking Dead isn't starting to get a little bit too much like its predecessor.

"Something feels eerily familiar on Fear the Walking Dead, and it's not just the zombies," says Josh Wigler at the Hollywood Reporter.

Aside from the flesh-eating monsters and the titles, both the flagship series and its spin-off boast a number of similarities. 

They both see the psychotic breakdown of a central character who kills when it suits them and justifies their actions - Shane in The Walking Dead and Chris Manawa in Fear - so we may see Chris come to a similar sticky end to Shane. The two titles also see the survivors head for a single destination for safety - Celia's compound in Fear echoes Hershel's farm in The Walking Dead. 

Added to that, they feature the break-up of survivor groups forced to go it alone, extended searches for loved ones and survivors stranded from one another before finally reuniting, adds Wigler.

"Expect a similar level of separation and individualised storytelling when Fear resumes its second season," he tells fans.

Fear the Walking Dead returns at 2am on 22 August on BT in the UK. 

Fear the Walking Dead: AMC's spin-off to get 'more exciting'

1 September 2015

Zombie drama Fear the Walking Dead, which aired in the UK for the first time last night, has been described as "slow", but the series is billed to become more exciting next week.

The Walking Dead prequel is set in Los Angeles and follows the journey of a family as they realise their world is falling apart due to a zombie apocalypse.

Most critics are agreed that the first episode got off to a sluggish start, but those who have peeked ahead say it is worth waiting for the action to pick up.

The Daily Telegraph critic Rebecca Hawkes says fans expecting something as "fresh and as shocking" as the very first episode of The Walking Dead might have been disappointed last night. But she says "Fear" could still prove to be an "intriguing zombie drama in its own right" with its "expertly pitched tension and finely observed human drama".

The spin-off is already into its second week in the US after breaking viewer records when it first premiered. Ratings dropped for the second episode but the show was still a "monster" draw, beating the NFL and NBC's dominant Sunday Night Football, says Entertainment Weekly.

Erik Kain at Forbes says the second instalment was "much more exciting" than the first, with protests over police violence, riots and explosions.

"The landscape of The Walking Dead has become monotonous and too familiar," says Kain. "Even Los Angeles is too like Atlanta (or will be, when the zombies take over) to truly set the shows apart."

But the characters are attempting to leave town and head to the desert – a move that could help provide a "strikingly different aesthetic" to its parent show, he says.

Ron Hogan at Den of Geek thinks director Adam Davidson's "slow escalation of visuals" is going to work out "really well" for the show. "We know what the world outside looks like. We know what the world of The Walking Dead looks like. Watching one become the other is going to be satisfying," he concludes.

Paul Vigna at the Wall Street Journal is also looking forward to the world's demise. "Showing the end of the world is going to be really disquieting," it says. "How many will have the ability to shut off their emotions and just do whatever needs being done? The survivor shock will surely be overwhelming. We all know where this is going, after all."

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