SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers from the Season 4 premiere of Fear the Walking Dead, entitled “What’s Your Story?” Proceed with caution.
The long-awaited crossover between The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead — that was teased way back at Comic-Con 2017 — has finally arrived, touting familiar faces and a completely new feel to Fear.
You’d be forgiven if you did a double-take as Fear the Walking Dead’s Season 4 premiere began. The first ten minutes of the episode play more as an epilogue to The Walking Dead’s eighth season finale than the beginning of its sister show’s fourth. Following the war against Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the Saviors, Morgan (Lennie James) is concerned he’s slipping back into a version of himself we haven’t seen since TWD’s stellar third season episode “Clear.”
“I lose people, and then I lose myself,” he’ll reveal later in the episode. At the outset, he’s holed up in Jadis’ junkyard hiding from the world. Though Morgan has been publicized as TWD character making the jump to Fear, he’s far from the only familiar face to show up in the episode. He’s visited by Jesus (Tom Payne), Carol (Melissa McBride) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) – all who are trying to knock their friend out of his funk.
“You can hide, but you can’t run,” Rick tells Morgan – who immediately proves him wrong by picking a random direction at a crossroads and literally begins to run in that direction. He proceeds to jog, hotwire cars, and walk the soles out of his shoes all the way to Texas.
It’s here Morgan runs into John Dorie (Garret Dillahunt) – who is perhaps the most polite gunslinger in the entire apocalypse – who isn’t afraid to strike up a conversation and offer some hard candy. Morgan agrees to stay the night at John’s camp but slinks off as soon as the man is asleep.
Unfortunately, he quickly runs afoul of a local group of bandits before the infallible John swings in and botches a rescue. The two men’s luck isn’t fully exhausted as they’re saved by Maggie Grace’s Althea – a journalist who rides around in a SWAT vehicle with some nifty mounted machine guns saving wanderers in exchange for their story.
John offers up his story easily – eager to have finally found people to talk to after so long – but Morgan takes some prodding before he reveals a bit about his time in Atlanta, Virginia and the war he just finished participating. After some more needling, he also begrudgingly agrees to travel with the two while he heals up from wounds suffered by the bandits.
Not long after they set out the three come across an injured girl in the middle of the road. They get out to check on her and it’s here – in the waning minutes of the episode – that we finally see some familiar faces. The girl is Alicia, (Alycia Debnam-Carey) who quickly pulls a blade on Althea as Nick (Frank Dillane), Victor (Colman Domingo) and Luciana (Danay Garcia) burst from the ditches to hold Morgan and John at gunpoint as the episode ends with Althea curiously asking them, “So what the hell is your story?”
Morgan’s journey to Fear the Walking Dead heralds in a new era for the show. The series received a full overhaul for Season 4 with new showrunners in Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg, fresh faces joining the cast, a location change to Texas, and a time jump that catches the series up to TWD’s timeline. Some of the things that made “Fear” stand apart from the main series was its exploration of the early period of the outbreak and its smart use of the isolated landscapes around the California/Mexico border. It’s still unclear whether the shows new changes will benefit or if it will grow to feel too similar to “The Walking Dead.” The Season 4 premiere was a good start though.