Emphasize the Bonds Between the Original Characters
Last season was difficult for longtime fans of Fear. Not only did they lose two of the series’ most compelling characters in Nick and Madison, but quite a bit of screentime was taken by characters who hadn’t been part of the first three seasons. In Season 5, the show should spend more time emphasizing the bonds between Strand, Alicia, Luciana and Daniel. At least in the case of the first three, they’ve known each other for years — but Strand and Alicia barely spoke to each other, and Luciana barely spoke at all. These survivors probably consider each other family, and the show should place more importance on those relationships.
Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC
One of the reasons the idea of Troy Otto returning was so exciting — if also implausible, and eventually proven wrong — was because he was an excellent, complicated antagonist for the show’s third season. Season 4 struggled to find a villain with the same nuance. The Vultures’ motivations and methodologies were sketchy, to say the least (how does one take resources from a place if one waits for said place to fall?), and Martha’s idea of “making people strong” didn’t make sense. This season, it’d be nice to see a villain who, like Troy, has a layered personality and plausible motivations for their actions.
Develop the New Characters
Season 4 saw the introduction of many new characters, but many of them we still don’t know much about. Maggie Grace’s Althea hasn’t had much of a backstory (even though her mode of transportation is one of the coolest we’ve seen on either TWD show) and we don’t know a whole lot about Sarah and Wendell, either. If AMC wants us to invest in these new people who haven’t been part of the show since the beginning, the show should take steps to give them some more depth.
Give Alicia More to Do
Alicia is the last of the Clarks — the final remaining member of Fear’s “first family,” so to speak. Many fans wanted her to take the lead role following Madison and Nick’s deaths, but with Morgan crossing over, Rick’s former best friend became the main man despite the fact that he’d only just met most of the core characters. With Alicia still alive, that doesn’t feel right — Morgan can certainly have some of the spotlight, and he should, but Alicia should at least play a central leadership role given how much she’s been through and how many viewers are invested in her survival.
Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC
Don’t Change Daniel Salazar
For many fans, Daniel’s return could be a blessing… or it could be a curse. Many fans were shocked at how certain characters had been changed after the time jump. Madison was no longer a ruthless, shrewd survivor; suddenly, she wanted to save everyone. Nick was no longer a recovering addict who found a new high in masquerading as a walker; suddenly, he was scared of the undead. This doesn’t seem to bode well for Daniel’s re-introduction to the show. Fans loved him because, like Madison, he had an inherent understanding about what it took to survive, was ruthless when he needed to be and a killer when he had to be. It’d be a major disappointment if a character as complex as Daniel returns only to have adopted the “all life is precious” mantra.
Tone Down the Comedy
Another reason Season 4 of Fear felt so jarring was because it signaled a major tonal shift for the show. Previous seasons had focused on a group of people who seemed destined to become villains: A subset of morally gray survivors led by a woman who would do anything, to anyone, to protect her kids. Season 4 did a complete 180 and made the show into more of a comedy, complete with including a scene of Morgan on the toilet. Fear can certainly have some funny moments — the first three seasons did — but it’d be great if the show moved back toward the tone set by The Walking Dead.
Get Rid of That Gray Filter
Why is it there? What purpose does it serve? The first half of Season 4 used the filter to signal the shift between past and present, and to that end, it was successful. But now, using it to sap the color from the landscape makes the show feel flat, and, at times, it’s hard to watch. The first three seasons and the first half of Season 4 had vivid colors that pulled the audience in to the post-apocalyptic landscapes. Why can’t Season 5 do the same?
Tell New Stories
Though it’s a TWD spinoff, Fear used to be pretty good at differentiating itself from the main show and exploring different themes than “how do we survive while still being good people?” That changed in Season 4, when Morgan made the show mostly about surviving while still being good people. It seems Season 5 will be more of the same, but it would be great to see characters disagreeing with his philosophy or trying to do things differently. As it stands now, Fear shares a little too much DNA with its counterpart to be truly different.
If one were to sum up Season 4 of Fear the Walking Dead in a single word, that word might be "unexpected."
Some unexpected changes were fine. Many of the new characters, like John Dorie and Althea, were interesting and added additional dimension to a great cast. Other unexpected changes — like Nick and Madison's deaths — were tough for longtime fans to take, especially considering the other major modifications the show had undergone with Dave Erickson's departure as showrunner and Morgan's crossover.
When the show returns in June, here are some changes we're hoping are — or in some cases, aren't — made in Season 5.
Fear the Walking Dead, Season 5 Premiere, Sunday, June 2, 9/8c, AMC