Fear the Walking Dead is set to make its triumphant return on Sunday, April 10, following a strong run in its six-episode starter season. And while the set-up laid out by its initial episodes is delimiting in many ways (i.e., we're already narrowed in on a relatively small group which plans to further isolate itself on the ocean), there are still endless possibilities for how the show can ripple and connect itself to the end-of-time chaos that Rick Grimes awoke to in its parent series, The Walking Dead.
Based on what we know so far about what's about to go down with the Clark-Manawa-Salazar circle, we have a few major notes that we hope the 15-episode run of Season 2 will hit.
Pirates, aye mateyAMC
The Walking Dead has reached the point where the violence of the zombies themselves pales in comparison to what the human survivors are busy unleashing on one another, and while Fear initially treaded the line that these new walkers were what gave everyone nightmares, the uglier reality of human depravity has begun to transcend that trend. This is what makes the series sustainable in the long-term: The drama that unfolds when you put groups of people in fight or flight scenarios and how they are unable to let go of that auto-response, even in potentially peaceful surroundings (sorry, Alexandrians).
Since Fear is heading out to sea for a “considerable amount of time” in its new season, there’s ample room to explore the plank-walking punishment that pirates are known for. C’mon, think about it. Everyone assumes that zombie apocalypse survival at sea is a gimme -- given a good rod and reel and water treatment device -- but we gotta account for the fact that boat colonies can still yield the same sort of supply-pillaging battle-waging we see on land.
Better weapons for allAMC
The reason Daryl Dixon and Michonne are far and above more ferocious than most others in their squad is that their weapons of choice are the most sustainable and successful of the bunch. Rick’s revolver is fun and all, but bullets are in short supply when the whole world’s at war, where as the only thing that could possibly keep Michonne from swinging in perpetuity is the fact that she’s not the Energizer Bunny. Similarly, all D2 has to do is retrieve his ammo from the unfortunate recipients, and bam, he’s completely restocked, again and again. (The knife-to-head tactic employed by the others has proven to be too close for comfort on a number of occasions, so that doesn’t count.)
In FTWD, our heroes are early in the slay game, so they’ve yet to hone their individual skills. But clearly Nick is meant to devise some kind of needle device, and Madison’s obviously suited to use some kind bludgeoning tool as her go-to. Plus, they're no longer landlubbers, so someone has to give Finnick Odair a run for his trident-wielding money, and if we don't get an anchor-to-the-face undead kill sometime this season, we'll demand a refund.
Nick embracing the madnessAMC
As Victor warned his new protégé, “The only way to survive a mad world is to embrace the madness.” And if there’s anyone who can truly do that, it’s Nick, whose come-down is about to get real brutal on that boat. His mom and Travis have gone out of their way to accommodate him and all of his problems, but the rest of the group might not be so forgiving of his faults. Which means he can either channel his addiction into something useful -- say, being a first-class fisherman by day and night -- or wild right on out and suffer a spectacularly devastating downfall. (Be honest, which one would make for better TV?)
Madison as captain of the shipAMC
To some, Travis might seem to be the leader by default because of preconceived patriarchal nonsense, but Madison’s the coolest customer of the bunch. Not only is she the most convincing and forward-thinking of her crew (she’s the one who figured out that her neighbor’s freaky behavior was not just some psychotic spell), but she’s also the most surefooted when it comes to dealing with the new initiates to their group.
Executive producer Dave Erickson hinted in an interview with MTV News that Madison will get a more complete emergence to the fore in Season 2, and all we can hope for is that they don’t pull a Dawn Lerner a la Grady Memorial Hospital and transform her into some terrible tyrant that has to be set aside (or worse, an untimely kill-off like Deanna or Liza) because that would be a waste.
Alicia and Chris, K-I-S-S-I-N-GAMC
Yeah, yeah, they’re basically step-brother and -sister, but in times like these, you can’t be too choosy. They obviously have a shared interest in trashing abandoned houses and eating popsicles.
But really tho, WHO IS STRAND?AMC
Who is this mysteriously well-kempt man who spits dreadful wisdom at every turn and randomly decides to employ Nick for his unknowable mission? Why does he have a yacht stocked with supplies and seem so eager to adopt Nick’s fam and their new friends into his inner circle? What hellscape is he painting for their future? Who tailored all of his fantastic suits? These are the need-to-knows.
That savvy little guy who had the forethought to raid his school’s pantry and knows that “when civilization ends, it ends fast” needs to make a comeback -- even if just for a cameo. He’s too smart to have fallen just yet. In fact, we’ll wager he makes a strong comeback, hopefully sooner than later.
Deplaning Charlie (or Jake, we guess?)AMC
It’s expected that one of the FTWD: Flight 462 web series characters will be moving into primetime with a crossover role in Season 2, but which one should make it? Well, given that there are two standouts from the microseries, Charlie (Michelle Ang) and Jake Powell (Brendan Meyer), an ideal world would see them both carry through.
If we had to choose, though, it’s Charlie all day. She’s obviously the most capable and sensible person on the entire plane, and she’s already gotten her hands dirty doing the business of crochet-needling
peoplenew walkers before they can inflict any more damage. On the other hand, Jake’s spent most of the series gawking at everything, so there's endless room for improvement if he takes away even an ounce of Charlie’s backbone with him out of LAX after this bird lands. Plus, he’ll probably hit the ground running for help to get back to his mother safe and sound -- assuming he survives the emergency landing, of course.
Someone, please just say the word “zombie”AMC
Whatever the reason for the protocol that the “Z”-word is off-limits on The Walking Dead and its companion show, it’s tired. They’re zombies. And not just that, but floating zombies. You can’t even call them walkers anymore when they're bobbing around in the ocean, can you? For the love of all that is unholy, just freaking say it already, people. Somebody, ANYBODY. ZOMBIE, ZOMBIE, ZOMBIE.