TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead - Season 4, Episode 1

Season 4, Episode 1: What's Your Story?

PLOT: Morgan Jones leaves the setting of The Walking Dead behind to wander into Fear the Walking Dead territory.

REVIEW: The fourth season of The Walking Dead's companion series Fear the Walking Dead brings an event that I didn't expect to see happen any time soon: a crossover between the two Dead shows. Even if a crossover were to happen, I would never have expected it to play out like this, with Morgan Jones (Lennie James) being the character to leave one show behind to enter the other. One of the major selling points of Fear the Walking Dead had been that it takes place earlier in the zombie apocalypse than The Walking Dead. While The Walking Dead is closing in on the two year mark according to online timelines, Fear was still only a couple months into the outbreak by the time of the season three finale. Morgan's whereabouts during the outbreak have been well accounted for, so it would have been tough to explain that he was hanging out with the Fear characters sometime back around the time of The Walking Dead season two.

Fear the Walking Dead's new showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg (who are replacing original showrunner Dave Erickson) and newly appointed executive producer Scott M. Gimple (who also now serves as Chief Content Editor for the Walking Dead franchise) got around any prequel confusion by making the stunning decision to have the show jump forward a couple years: Fear the Walking Dead is now taking place after the events of The Walking Dead season eight. What the hell have the Clark family been up to since being separated by a dam explosion in Fear's season three finale? Don't expect to find out in the season four premiere, because What's Your Story? is not about them. It's about Morgan, and thus feels less like an episode of Fear than it does an epilogue to The Walking Dead season eight - or worse, like Morgan is getting his own spin-off. I really hope that's not what Fear will be turning into with its fourth season. The returning characters deserve to get more attention than this crossover character.

Firmly tying Fear to the world of The Walking Dead and the events of that show's season eight finale, What's Your Story? tosses in gratuitous cameos by the characters Jesus (Tom Payne), Carol (Melissa McBride), and even Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) before Morgan hits the road and starts working his way into Fear territory. 

While strolling across the United States, Morgan bumps into a couple of new characters. First, there's Garret Dillahunt as a gunslinger named John Dorie, who's looking for his lost love and is introduced delivering a 4 minute monologue that's mostly about the fact that he's speaking for the first time in a year, and is largely tolerable because it's being delivered by Dillahunt. There's also Maggie Grace as Althea, who drives around in a SWAT truck that's somewhat reminiscent of the Dead Reckoning from George A. Romero's LAND OF THE DEAD. Both of these characters are interesting additions to the Walking Dead world, John in particular, and I'm looking forward to getting to spend more time with them. Despite Althea's determination to interview people on camera, which seems completely pointless a couple years into the apocalypse.

Morgan and his new pals also run into the required Bad People, which allows for an action sequence that manages to be better than most of the action we just saw in The Walking Dead season eight. Morgan is wounded during this sequence, which leads to a scene in which some of the walking dead are actually a threat to him - and this zombie chase scene is made all the better by the fact that it was shot in a beautiful location in the Texas countryside during the fall. 

It isn't until the very last minutes of the episode that familiar Fear faces turn up - so while What's Your Story? doesn't amount to much as a Fear episode (at least as we've known the show up to this point), it does end with a Fear cliffhanger that I can't wait to see resolved next week. 

I'm not sure about mixing Morgan into Fear, I'm not sure about changing the show this much when it just had its best season yet... But I'm on board to see where this is all going.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: Morgan and an adversary fall through the roof of a trailer home that's full of zombies - and Morgan then uses a grenade to escape the situation.

GORY GLORY: If you like watching zombies get shot in the head, What's Your Story? had a good amount of that going on.

FAVORITE SCENE: Morgan is chased down a country road, surrounded by fall scenery.


Extra Tidbit: What do you think of this crossover event?



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