The second season of Fear the Walking Dead left our favourite fractured family in a bit of a predicament, to say the least. Luciana (Danay Garcia) had been shot after she and Nick (Frank Dillane) arrived at the Mexican border. Travis (Cliff Curtis) had just murdered his son’s killers in a violent rampage. Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) had just killed her first human, and now she, Travis and Madison (Kim Dickens) are on their way to find Nick. Again. Strand (Colman Domingo) had stayed behind at the hotel, and honestly, nobody has any idea what happened to Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) after she was caught.
As the episode opens, we find that the Clark/Manawa family have found each other once again, except the circumstances are less than ideal. They’ve all been captured and separated by the same military-types who shot Luciana. Travis and Nick reunite, while Madison and Alicia are taken elsewhere. The episode begins slowly, as the group gets used to their respective surroundings, and picks up as it goes along. Upon watching the first two episodes, it’s clear why they needed to be placed together. This episode is good as an opener, but it needs the second part to sustain it.
This season establishes right away that these characters have evolved a lot since season 2. Travis is a new character entirely, especially due to the death of Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) and the events that followed. He’s stoic, tough and no-nonsense, showing no fear even in the most dangerous of situations. Alicia is another standout, as always, but it still seems like Madison is trying to hold her back and keep her innocent, which is a little too late after you’ve killed someone, if you ask me. Madison preventing Alicia from being her best has been an issue since the beginning, but the tide began to shift at the end of last season. It’s also refreshing to see that the episode is balanced character-wise and not too focused on just Nick -Â an issue in Season 2.
Fear returns to its corrupt military theme from Season 1 as we’re introduced to new characters Troy (Daniel Sharman) and Jake Otto (Sam Underwood). Instantly, we see that Troy is not only an asshole, but a creep, and he seems to have a weird thing for Madison. Although the dislike for the character is immediate, there’s no denying Sharman’s acting ability. It’s clear that he’s going to cause trouble in the future, and it’ll be interesting to see where the writers take him. Jake is brought across as the kind and sensible older brother, but it’s still unclear if the group can really trust him. Not only that, but their ‘operation’ at the base includes killing people and seeing how long it takes for them to reanimate. Not exactly trustworthy.
The situation allows Madison to get creative, proving that she truly is the Rick Grimes of this show. These individuals have come a long way with their negotiating skills and this episode shows that, in their own separate ways, they’re all ready for this dangerous world. Fear keeps things interesting by switching up locations often, as well as evolving its characters. While there’s still the absence of Strand and Ofelia, it’s nice to have the core family all in one place again. Much like The Walking Dead, this show is strongest when these characters are all working together. There’s no shortage of walkers either.
Overall, ‘Eye of the Beholder’ is a refreshing season opener. It opens the world up even further, and hints at bigger things to come. The end of the episode leads right into the beginning of the next one, making it perfect as a back-to-back premiere.
THE REEL SCORE: 7/10
‘Fear the Walking Dead’ season 3 airs Monday 7:30pm AEST on FX from June 5, express from the US.
And in case you need a recap…