Fear The Walking Dead Season 3 Review

Ed Love

Reviewed by:
On June 4, 2017
Last modified:June 4, 2017


Fear The Walking Dead builds tension in increments and gives its story room to breathe, resulting in a strong start to the season.

Fear The Walking Dead Season 3 Review

Three episodes were provided for review prior to broadcast.

In Fear The Walking Dead, the real danger is posed by the morally-warped, power-hungry humans in the grip of their own convictions. Returning fans will be glad to know that season 3 of Fear interrogates the degradation of civility with renewed vigor, but this time, it puts forward subplots that are actually given time to develop and thicken, rather than seeing them chopped in half for the sake of keeping the pace high.

Season 3 picks up where we last left off, as Travis and the Clarkes (Madison, Nick and Alicia) are captured on the Mexico-America border by an outpost of guards led by the preppy Troy (Daniel Sharman), a disarmingly doe-eyed killer in the grip of delusions that chill the spine. Troy subjects our heroes to his brand of justice before Madison manages to get her own back, displaying a believable degree of resilience mixed in with the just the right amount of maternal spirit. Madison is cunning yet likable, and exactly the empowered female character that television needs more of.

Soon enough, Madison’s efforts are rewarded when Troy’s brother Jake discovers what little bro is up to and rescues our heroes. Here, he escorts them back to his father’s ranch with Troy in tow. Tensions run high as the Clarkes confront Troy about what he’s done, and that tension only escalates when it becomes clear that no one living on the ranch has any idea what Troy’s capable of.

The ranch is overseen by the brothers’ father, Jeremiah, played brilliantly here by Dayton Callie. Callie brings a soft civilian menace to the role and every mild-mannered conversation brings the prickling realization that he’s saying one thing and thinking another. There’s the sense our leader is willing to overlook barbarism in the name of self-imposed “unity.” Jeremiah has even put together some awful promotional videos that foresee the end of the world long before the zombie outbreak. In them, he lists his survival advice for sale, directing an infomercial of the worst possible kind.

The ranch is a character of its own and I hope it remains the stage for the rest of the season’s unfolding drama. There’s been a concerted effort to address the show’s lazy habit of introducing an obstacle and writing it out of the script an episode later. I absolutely love the idea of a central location that’s unpacked episode by episode, bit by bit; The Walking Dead works best when you’re made to wait for that thunderclap of violence. So far, we’re starting to get to know Jake, Troy and Jeremiah and though these may well be our primary antagonists, it’s impossible to predict where the series is going. The only constant is that it’ll turn messy.

Fear is less adept at tugging at your heart strings, and a couple of overly long teary scenes sap the tension, but it’s not long before you’re on the edge of your seat again. There are plenty of surprises in store, too – one death in particular you won’t see coming – while the reintroduction of Victor Strand layers on another level of intrigue. Still, if you’re tuning in to see zombie heads explode and cranial matter flying across the screen, you’ll be left satisfied. Zombies groan, shamble and make a nuisance of themselves, but the good news is that the real danger comes from the fake smiles and concerted platitudes of the so-called “good folk” guarding their own interests.

Fear of the Walking Dead is, at times, decidedly schlocky, but this time around, there’s a welcome emphasis on fleshing out the motivations and convictions of a new cast of characters who could become potential adversaries down the line. After a strong start, here’s hoping that season 3 doesn’t squander its potential and try to plunder new ground for the sake of newness. Three episodes in and there’s already plenty of promise on show. The hard part now will be keeping it going.