Don’t get me wrong; Nick is one of the more interesting characters on this AMC spin-off of The Walking Dead. As superficial as it sounds, he’s also pretty darn cute, which he manages even though he’s been wandering around in walker guts for weeks.
Does that mean I was riveted during every minute of tonight’s hour-long midseason premiere that he carried for the Manawa-Clark clan? No. Nope. Not even close. I wish I could say it wasn’t so, but I legitimately nodded off more than once, and had to rewind my DVR for some replay action.
The episode wasn’t all bad. In fact, there were parts I quite enjoyed. For starters, let’s go ahead and give a shout-out to the soundtrack team. Whoever picked the music for tonight’s episode deserves the props, because every song featured in the premiere was on point.
Visually, the episode was stunning as well, even when the subject matter was gruesome (say hello to Nick picking meat off of an eviscerated dog’s carcass). Then there’s also the matter of the brave new world that Nick discovers along the way, and some of the potentially engaging people he encounters who’ve already successfully piqued my interest.
Having said all of that, though, here’s the ugly truth: The episode was just kind of… meh. It was a midseason premiere, so I expected more. Much more, if we’re really being honest. If you look at Fear’s OG counterpart, The Walking Dead, those guys never fail to wow with their midseason premieres.
While I understand this episode was more about character development and Nick’s evolution, I think it was ill-timed. Fans are already on the fence about this series and have been since its inception — considering we’re still only in the second season, this is not a good sign.
So, yeah, we needed this midseason premiere to really pull us in and make us want more. It would have been fantastic if it had just put our doubts about the shaky series to rest.
Alas, that was not the case. Instead, we watched Nick kind of stumble across the Mexican countryside for an hour, almost succumbing to everything from ferocious dogs to walkers, to pissed off non-walker women. Was it suspenseful at times? Sure, but those moments didn’t manage to outweigh the moments that were utterly forgettable.
Rest assured, I am not the only fan who feels this way. A quick glance at Twitter confirms I’m in good company. And by good company, I mean I was absolutely not the only one who was decidedly un-impressed with tonight’s midseason premiere.
The second episode better be better than this first. If not going to have to wait for WD #FearTWD
— mel bryant (@misskashif) August 22, 2016
Forrest Gumping it for 100 miles on an aimless sojourn through a zombie apocalypse to fucking Tijuana, coulda used more foresight. #FearTWD
— Chris Gabel (@C_Gabely) August 22, 2016
I keep thinking #FearTWD won't continue being terrible…and I keep being wrong.
— Aaron Glass (@asglass) August 22, 2016
This show is starting to fall way down on my list #FearTWD
— Chris McGriff (@crimedog43) August 22, 2016
Trust me when I say there are plenty more where those came from. The sentiment seems to be that, while Frank Dillane does an incredible job of bringing Nick to life, there simply wasn’t enough substance in this episode. It lacked true grit.
Does this mean the show is doomed? No, of course not. This is only the middle of the second season, so there’s certainly still time to pull up before the ratings take a total nosedive. While it seems unlikely any of the existing characters (save maybe Victor Strand or Daniel Salazar) have enough juice to make that happen, here’s hoping the newcomers can.