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New Season of 'Fear the Walking Dead' Arrives with New Bodies
April 15, 2018  | By David Hinckley

The Zombie Apocalypse version of the old Welcome Wagon rolls out again Sunday when AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead launches its fourth season and we meet several new people in a new place.
Guidance counselor turned ZA warrior Madison Clark (Kim Dickens, below) remains at the heart of the action, however, and she’s joined by some of those who survived the calamitous demise of the Broke Jaw Ranch at the end of last season.
While no one has an immunity card on any Walking Dead show, there seem to be indications we will see at least some of Strand (Colman Domingo) and Madison’s daughter Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey, below), who decided to go out on sabbatical last season when things just got too intense at the ranch.
We will definitely be seeing several new characters, including John (Garret Dillahunt), Althea (Maggie Grace, top) and Naomi (Jenna Elfman, right).
And, of course, we will see the first character to cross over from The Walking Dead to Fear the Walking Dead, the troubled Morgan Jones (Lennie James, top).
Morgan will be an especially prominent presence Sunday because Fear the Walking Dead will air at 10 p.m. ET, directly after the Walking Dead season finale. You could say Morgan will walk from one show right into the next.
Nor are screen characters the only new blood in Fear this season. Original showrunner Dave Erickson has handed the reins to Ian Goldberg and Andrew Chambliss, and they move swiftly to put their stamp on the show, both visually and thematically.
It’s not like it’s a whole different show. It’s just very clearly a new chapter, underscored by the first episode’s striking look.
Goldberg and Chambliss say they’re going for the cinematic feel of classic Westerns, and they’ve succeeded. Much of the episode is also shot in black and white, or close to it, and it has the deliberate, almost hypnotic pace with which Fear carved its own stamp way back in the first season.
The new showrunners also follow Erickson’s course in keeping the Fear characters on the move. From a crumbling Los Angeles, to a boat, to the Otto family’s ill-fated ranch, Madison and her crew have not had a lot of luck finding secure accommodations. So they’re trying a new spot this year, which is how they run into their new acquaintances.
Since the Zombie Apocalypse has brought out the dark as well as the generous side of human nature, there’s a certain element of mutual suspicion whenever strangers run into one another on Walking Dead shows. There’s no reason to believe that won’t also be the case when the new and old folks find each other this time around.
Much of the first episode sets that character table, though the episode doesn’t lack action. The action just starts getting a little more complicated when more characters return in episode two.
If all this sounds cryptic, that’s the way the Walking Dead creative team likes it. They’ve crafted a dangerous, unpredictable world, and they don’t want the viewer to know what’s coming next any more than the characters are likely to know.
“Here’s what happens now,” a phrase that characters have used on a hundred TV shows this season, would sound like foolish hubris on Fear the Walking Dead.
In spite of the constant uncertainty, though, Fear has retained a strong core cast, with both Madison and Alicia proving that men aren’t the only ones who can drive an action drama. Alicia’s brother Nick (Frank Dillane, left), a recovering heroin addict, is among the other characters who have become both elusive and intriguing.
Like The Walking Dead, Fear has spent no time explaining how the Zombie Apocalypse began and almost no time contemplating its potential end. Unlike the mothership, Fear has no comic book story on which to loosely base some of its characters and storylines, so it’s been more of a wild card.
This year, Goldberg and Chambliss say, they’re going to spend more time implicitly considering where it all might go. Some fans already think Fear has become a more compelling show than The Walking Dead, and while the folks on both series will tell you it’s not a competition, the opening episodes suggest Fear will continue to provide high adventure.
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