REVIEW: Fear The Walking Dead S3 ‘Eye of the Beholder/The New Frontier’ shocks fans in the best way
It’s that time of the year again. Fear The Walking Dead is back to bridge the gap between The Walking Dead seasons, and to make up for lost time we’re starting with a double premiere including an absolutely shocking twist.
Season three begins with the Clark/Manawa family separated, but not for long. Travis quickly finds Nick and Luciana, while Madison and Alicia remain above ground and try to broker a deal with sicko Troy to see their family reunited. The clan are reunited – very briefly – and then a twist occurs that will undoubtedly change the landscape of Fear The Walking Dead forever.
The great and unexpected thing about Fear The Walking Dead is that the show has always maintained its distinctiveness from The Walking Dead, and this trend looks set to continue in season three. It is no longer the very beginning of the zombie apocalypse, and yet the series has not evolved into the Western-style drama of its predecessor. Instead, Fear very clearly remains a family drama and uses this to thrive in a different way. Its characters are not separated for long, and although this may be contrived, it ensures the focus is on the complicated and endlessly fascinating dynamic of the Clark/Manawa family. Of course, this is something that will undoubtedly be tested further after events of ‘The New Frontier’ and I look forward to how to show chooses to continue their story.
‘Eye of The Beholder’ and ‘The New Frontier’ also do a fantastic job of regulating the flow of tension and calm, leading to an up-and-down experience which keeps viewers constantly on their toes. By the end of the two episodes, it feels like one has run a marathon. The constant flow and ebb of tension is exhausting in the best way – if not for the faint of heart. The show is as capable as shocking its audience as The Walking Dead, with shock deaths, psychological horror and difficult-to-watch gore (I’m thinking of one particular scene involving a spoon).
Separating Fear‘s characters also presents some beautiful moments of contrast. ‘Eye of the Beholder’s early scenes flip between a claustrophobic thriller with Travis and Nick caught in some shadowy anxiety-inducing nightmare, and Madison and Alicia, bathed in light and communicating openly with Troy for a resolution. Madison and Alicia’s scenes are a wonderful reprieve from the intensity of what is happening to Travis, as the episode takes a little while to warm up.
Overall, ‘Eye of the Beholder/The New Frontier’ is a strong start for Fear the Walking Dead‘s third season, though everything looks set to change from here on out. It’s a show that is not afraid of taking risks, while still remembering what it is about, which could lead to another excellent season of television. We’re hopeful, anyway.