The Worst Show On TV Gets One More Chance To Change Our Minds Before It’s Gone For Good

Post updated 4/18/2023.

The worst show on TV is almost over. A part of me might even miss it once it’s gone. Miss the preposterous, goofy, hammy melodrama of it. The inexplicable writing choices, written by people who seem to have almost no grasp on how actual human beings behave.

I’m speaking, of course, about Fear The Walking Dead, AMC’s ugly stepchild of The Walking Dead, which got rather bad itself in its final few seasons. Still, even at The Walking Dead’s lowest point, it was never as utterly stupid and absurd as Fear. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely tried. There were moments in Season 7 and 8 of The Walking Dead that came very close.

But Fear just takes the proverbial cake no matter which way you slice it. Here’s the trailer for Season 8, which will be its last, and which comes after a massive time-jump that brings its timeline closer to that of the main series:

Why do I think Fear The Walking Dead is so bad? Let me count the ways. Let’s take a walk down memory lane, shall we?

Things were pretty good—if also pretty uneven—through the end of Season 3, and even got off to a pretty good start in Season 4. I had my quibbles, especially in Season 2 which got pretty bad toward the end, but things picked up and Season 3 was one of the best of any TWD show. It was really Season 4, when new showrunners took over, that things took a turn for the worse.

I started to write about all the problems this show had and realized that to truly summarize everything, I’d need a lot more room to work, so I’m going to publish a separate piece closer to when Season 8 drops recapping all the crazy, stupid, ridiculous crap between Season 4 and 7, from ethanol tankers to beer-shaped hot-air balloons to warring documentaries and nuclear missiles. This show is truly one of the most painfully bad shows I’ve ever seen. The sheer level of incompetence required to make such a disastrous zombie drama is staggering.

But as the title of this post suggests, AMC and the show’s showrunners, writers and cast have one more chance to change my mind and prove me wrong. One more chance to stick it to the haters. To critics like me who still can’t understand why someone dying from antifreeze poisoning, wouldn’t go fill a bucket up with the ethanol leaking from the tanker, or who find Tom’s death on the bridge one of the funniest things ever filmed.

It’s a slim chance, though. These guys have made four seasons of Fear The Walking Dead. That’s already more than the original show’s run. All I predict is one more season of the same dreadful writing, magical walkie-talkies and insufferable heroes and villains. I can’t wait.

Update 4/18/2023: All The Absurd Nonsense Between Season 4 and 5

I’m updating this post with a recap of the craziest, most preposterous, most agonizingly silly, stupid stuff that we’ve seen in this show between Seasons 4 and 7. This first update only includes Seasons 4 and 5, but tune back in tomorrow for Seasons 6 and 7 as well (bookmark this post and follow me here on this blog, as well on Twitter, Facebook and my YouTube channel).

Season 4

Season 4 started out okay but the writing was on the wall almost from the get-go when they killed off Nick. It sounded like actor Frank Dillane wanted out—almost like he knew things were taking a turn for the worse. Maybe he read the script and thought to himself, “I want no part of this.” Very wise, if so.

Still, I liked some of the new characters like John Dorrie (Garret Dillahunt) and Althea (Maggie Grace) and I was intrigued by the jumping timeline. At first, Al’s chronicling of the zombie apocalypse seemed like a cool new approach to the story. But then the two timelines started to get . . . weird. We started getting the story from Strand (Colman Domingo) and Luciana (Danay Garcia) and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) in bits and pieces told to the camera, but in a way that felt . . . weirdly artificial. The vague recounting of what happened to Madison (Kim Dickens) devolved into stupidity when characters began finishing one another’s sentences, but in clips Al recorded.

Meanwhile, the new bad guys had encircled Madison’s new baseball field fortress in a siege that involved . . . allowing her and her people to go out and scavenge for supplies whenever they wanted to. This was the first really glaringly stupid thing that the new showrunners included in Season 4, but looking back it feels downright genius compared to where things went.

Madison, we learned, was killed herding the zombies that the Vultures released in the parking lot into the baseball diamond to save her kids, who were parked outside. Why said kids didn’t just drive over to the entrance and get into safety remains unexplained and utterly baffling. But Madison was dead and she stayed dead for three more seasons, until the very end of Season 7 when she came back from the dead, with bad excuses for never finding her surviving children. (Nick was dead, but she didn’t know that and Alicia was still alive and kicking until literally moments before her mom showed back up. Because the showrunners have a cruel, infantile sense of irony and a tendency toward repetition, given this is exactly what happened with John Dorie Jr. and John Dorie Sr.)

After all of this timeline nonsense and the ridiculous Vultures storyline, with Madison and Nick dead and a new merry band of heroes, we were introduced to the show’s next villain, a lonely half-mad, middle-aged woman named Martha who my colleague Paul Tassi called a “nonsense” villain, which about sums her up. She was a truly terrible villain, and sitting in the shadow of the excellent Otto family arc of Season 3, she felt like a ridiculous cartoon villain rather than a real character.

Indeed, everybody on the show quickly started feeling like cartoons, led by the king cartoon himself, Morgan (Lennie James). The story of the Clark family—the heart of the entire show—was suddenly over, and now we had Morgan and Martha and none of it made any sense.

The crown jewel of Season 4’s stupidity was the ethanol scene. This remains one of the worst scenes on any TV show ever made. Martha has poisoned our ragtag group of heroes with antifreeze. The cure for antifreeze is ethanol—aka, alcohol. If you ever get antifreeze poisoning and can’t get to a hospital immediately, the bottle of whiskey in the liquor cabinet will do the trick—but you need to drink a lot of it.

So once our heroes realized that they were poisoned with antifreeze, they also discovered that—lucky for them!—there was an ethanol tanker nearby. The only problem was they couldn’t get it open to actually get to the ethanol. Then zombies attacked Al used her Swat van—with its mounted turret machine gun and endless supply of bullets (speaking of stupid nonsense introduced in Season 4!) to kill the zombies. It also poked holes in the ethanol tanker.

Good news, right? They could just grab their buckets and catch all that ethanol as it poured out, solving the problem they were having actually getting the ethanol. But no, nobody does this. Nobody thinks of this simple solution to their problem. They’re dying, but nobody goes out and just puts their mouth under the draining liquid to drink the antidote.

It was this moment that I began to despair. Not just for the show. I despaired because I knew there were people out there who would still think this was good TV after this scene. People who defend it and get mad at critics like myself for pointing out how gobsmackingly stupid this whole lousy episode was. This, you recall, is still Season 4 and even more brainless moments followed in the subsequent seasons, but there are still fans who claim it’s an amazing show who will defend it to the end. (Many of the show’s own cast, however, seem to feel differently as they have dropped like flies over the years, jumping off the sinking ship before it dragged them down with it).

In the end of the ethanol episode, Morgan showed up with some beers and that cured them! Never mind the fact that there is simply not enough alcohol in beer to counteract the effects of antifreeze poisoning. The showrunners have a beer fetish (which gets worse in Season 5) and so beer—not the ethanol tanker—is the cure.

Season 5

I’ll move through the next few seasons a bit quicker. I wanted to establish how the show went from such heights—Season 3 remains one of, if not the best season of any Walking Dead show—to such lows in such a short span of time. This is the problem with putting people with no talent in charge of a TV show. They inevitably screw it up. You can’t even really blame them. They can’t help that they have no talent! You have to blame AMC for not stepping in once they realized how badly things had gotten, but AMC turned a blind eye to all the show’s faults.

In Season 4, Morgan spent most of his time trying to convince people to go back with him to Alexandria. At the end of the season, he had a change of heart and decided that his true mission in life was staying in Texas and helping people to make up for all the bad things he’s done.

Get ready to hear that repeated ad nauseum. “Alicia, we have to go do this crazy, impossible thing to make up for the bad things we’ve done.” “You’re right, Morgan, we have to put ourselves at great danger in totally insane scenarios to help these strangers to make up for the bad things we’ve done.

Everyone became little clones of Morgan, and I started calling them Morganites. It was like this bizarre little cult devoted to helping people, not just because they wanted to help, but because they needed to atone. This is how sociopaths write character motivations.

The helping people thing began in Season 4, of course, where they started leaving boxes of supplies along the side of the roads just in case survivors would stumble on them. Not an efficient or sensible thing to do compared to setting up fortified aid stations, but this is Fear The Walking Dead, a show where everyone has the mental capacity of a drunk chimp with a concussion.

In Season 5, a bunch of the group actually flies a plane that they don’t know how to fly to some far-off Texas location to help some stranger they heard from on the radio and—SHOCKER—they crash. Now, since this is Texas they can’t get back to their previous location because, uh, they aren’t able to and need to fly. The crashed plane. That they don’t know how to fly.

But they meet up with Dwight! He walked here, but nobody can leave on foot. For reasons. They also meet Grace! She’s trying to prevent a nuclear meltdown at a nearby power plant, but she’s going to get radiation poisoning and fall in love with Morgan, and all this radioactive nonsense is just appetizers for Season 6, believe you me.

Alicia starts painting trees. It’s tree-painting therapy. She does this with a guy she meets named Wes. Wes is useless in every other capacity but he’s good at painting trees and later he’s going to become a bad guy just because. But that’s not until Season 7.

Oh, and Daniel shows up this season also. He’s also in Texas and they run into him, because Texas is both SO BIG that you have to fly to get places and can’t even get to those places on foot, but also SO SMALL that you just run into random people all the time.

And remember this. The first rule of Fear The Walking Dead is that walkie-talkies are the most powerful technology humankind has ever invented. They are the palantirs of The Walking Dead universe. You can reach anyone at any time at any distance for any reason and the batteries are never dead. Unless the plot suddenly requires them not to work for a few minutes. But don’t worry, they’ll start working soon enough.

In any case, lots of drama. They find some urchins who they help. Al meets a girl she falls for immediately. Strand brings them the airplane parts they need to fix the plane and fly it back home, across Texas, in a hot-air balloon shaped like a beer bottle. Like I said, beer fetish. It’s bizarre.

They meet some other bad guys who want the warehouse where they’re staying back, and want them to take them to some oil fields that only our heroes know about for some reason. When they do, it turns out that they’re not even the real bad guys. The real bad guys are these cowboys led by Virginia (Colby Minifie) who sent the other bad guys to find the oil fields. Nobody could find them despite having lived in this area their whole lives! CRAZY!

Virginia and our ragtag band of heroes start making documentaries in what is later known as the War Of Public Service Announcements. Virginia makes one to lure people to her side. Al and Morgan make one to counter Virginia’s. She makes another one in what is a growing arm’s race. When the good guys try to make one to counter it, the stupidest character on any TV show ever made—a guy named Tom—dies filming it by standing on a bridge that’s about to collapse.

Burn in hell, Tom.

In the end, Virginia and her documentaries win the day, and she captures all the heroes and splits them up, leaving Morgan for dead.

We should be so lucky.

Check back in for my Season 6 and 7 update tomorrow!

Update: As promised, here’s a recap of all the crazy nonsense from Season 6 and 7. A lot of people call Season 6 a good season, but I think that’s just because it’s better than Season 5 or 7 and so it seems good by comparison. But it’s still not actually good, and it has the great tragedy of losing John Dorie, one of the few remaining characters we actually like. Still, compared to the absolute disaster that was Season 7, 6 looks good by comparison.

Season 6

This is the cowboy season. I forget what the cowboys are called. They’re not very good bad guys. Virginia is an awful villain. She has most of the good guys working for her. Her sister kills John Dorie. Daniel (Ruben Blades) goes senile, first in a pretend way and then later for real. Because if you pretend something hard enough it happens IRL or something. Morgan is back and he’s trying to build a new home for everyone. It’s not a very nice home, but that hardly matters. All that matters is that Morgan stays busy to fend off the encroaching realization that he is a terrible, useless character that has done more harm to Fear than anyone other than the showrunners.

One thing leads to another and the group slowly starts to come back together and that’s when Teddy (John Glover) shows up. And John Dorie Sr. (Keith Carradine) also, right after his son dies, who happens to have a history with Teddy. You know how it works in Texas. You don’t see your son for years and show up right after he dies, just because! And the bad guy you were hunting decades ago, he shows up, too! It’s not a wild coincidence, it’s strong tight plotting by a team of highly skilled writers.

Um, yeah, so anyways Teddy ingratiates himself with Virginia’s sister and his plan, because he’s a psycho, is to launch nuclear missiles from a submarine that just happens to be beached on the land nearby, in Texas. And his plan works! He nukes Texas, but dies in the process. And Strand has a falling out with Morgan.

AND LUCIANA IS THERE. DOING STUFF.

Texas is fried, nuked, dead and gone. But Strand finds an office building where Howard (Omid Abtahi) lives and let me tell you something, this is a magical building. Or something. Pretty much everyone survives.

Season 7

Strand finds so many cool things in this building, including a uniform of some South American dictator, which he puts on and starts throwing people off the building when they piss him off, because now Strand is Evil™ and in Season 7 he’s going to be the nemesis of both Morgan and Alicia, but Alicia isn’t around because she’s following a zombie senator who knows where PADRE is and boy oh boy are you going to hear the word PADRE a lot. It’s the new we have to help people for all the bad things we’ve done which has, for reasons, gone out of fashion now. (For a while we got build a home for everyone but that also went out of style).

Strand is bad now, but he has built the first actually safe and thriving community in his Office Building, which is basically a New Eden, protected from the radiation. Oh, there is so much radiation this season. Nobody wants to leave, of course. They like nuclear wasteland Texas and probably can’t leave without a beer-shaped hot air balloon anyways.

LUCIANA IS STILL HERE.

So they fight over the office building and then other people show up who also want the office building and they pelter it with radioactive zombies so that they can live there, with the radiation, or something. Strand throws more people off the building.

Have I mentioned Charlie or the truckers yet? Yeah, Charlie is a character. She killed Nick but she’s also one of the good guys now. And Sarah and Wendell are truckers that are part of the group. There’s also Jenna Elfman’s character June. Dwight found Sherry, of course, because it’s Texas and you can literally find anybody in Texas because it’s so small, but also you can’t leave when it’s nuked because it’s so big!

Makes sense right? Yeah so, anyways, the cast is massive at this point. All these people have been around since Season 4, too, I just didn’t mention them in my earlier summaries because they are all totally useless. You could literally cut everyone I just mentioned and the show would be the same.

Luciana, though, man, she is super important and they do big things with her character. Big things. Very big.

In any case, eventually Alicia and Morgan are about to win and take the office building away from Strand even though he’s the one who got it up and running and built a community where they do yoga in-between tossing people off the roof, but hen it burns down. Oh, he put a big light on it to keep people away also. But it burns down so, nevermind!

Then Madison shows up, right after Alicia dies from a zombie bite that killed her super slowly for some reason. Screw everybody who ever thought maybe she was immune or had the audacity to come up with a fan theory involving a cure. You people are monsters.

Madison knows all about PADRE. She’s a madre, after all. But now she’s on oxygen and wields a massive sledgehammer in battle. She also steals peoples’ babies to take back to PADRE, presumably as food for the vampires who run the place. She takes baby Mo (Morgan and Grace’s baby, but not their real baby. Their real baby died to take the radiation out of Grace because that’s how it works! That’s science and don’t you even argue with me about it, okay? OKAY?)

So baby Mo is baby-knapped by Madison (who was only mostly dead) and now she’s at PADRE and it looks like in the trailer that some of our heroes are now at PADRE also and have been for years. I suppose PADRE is a home and the people there are just trying to make up for the bad things they’ve done.


I missed so many details in this rapid-fire summary of Fear The Walking Dead, but I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless. I may despise this show with every fiber of my being but I’ve had fun talking about all its absurdities with you fine people and a part of me will be sad to see it go. Not that sad, mind you, but you know what it is.

It’s the end of an era. It’s the . . . end of the world as we know it. And I feel fine.