Fear The Walking Dead Season 2B Spoiler-Free Review: Great Through Three

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There's never been a better time to watch Fear the Walking Dead.

To date, the series has had trouble convincing fans that it is worthy of their continued viewership. Through the initial 13-episodes it has fallen short when compared to the well-established, The Walking Dead -- which has run almost 80 episodes and has over a decade of comics in its favor.

Furthermore, it would be naive not to acknowledge several frustrating aspects of Fear's first season and a half. Scattered through Season One were moments of brilliance and hope but each were dashed by questionable character choices and stuffy plots which made the series tough for some to buy into it as a suitable fill-in for The Walking Dead's down time.

Thankfully, the AMC series comes out of the gate swinging in the second half of its second season. The show takes the elements of its previous episodes which worked, builds on them, and adds all new welcome components.

Season 2A worked best in two scenarios: high stakes moments of action and character development through flashbacks.

The best of the episodes saw Nick and Luis gunning down enemies who boarded Strand's yacht and Strand's revealing flashback episode showing us the yacht wasn't actually his.

Early in 2B, we are treated to similar elements. Flashbacks guide the premiere's development and supplement some major moments in the later shows. On top of all of that, we get new characters who aren't thrown in to be disliked and killed immediately!

Perhaps the best news is that the pacing issues of previous runs are also completely eliminated (so far, anyway).

While the first episode centers around just one character, the next couple do an impressive job balancing different characters in different locations -- as if it we were zipping through Westeros in Game of Thrones fashion. It also offers up those gritty survival elements many wanted to see when they heard Fear would be a prequel. It has moments of grotesque gore and violence, a fantastic performance from Frank Dillane, the welcome return of an a somewhat familiar face, and none of it just for the sake of being there.

Every element of Fear the Walking Dead's midseason premiere builds on the post-apocalyptic world south of the American border and the characters we know there. Beyond the premiere, more characters see some interesting development; none of it is forced or out of place. New pairings result in discoveries by the characters and audience alike through both dialogue and actions and it's a welcome exploration of the mindsets of Ofelia, Alicia, Madison, and Strand but also keeps a sense of mystery and intrigue in the balance.

Having watched the first three episodes - almost half of the upcoming run - it's easy to say that Fear the Walking Dead has found its stride. The first half of the season saw a couple of good episodes lumped into the run of seven but they weren't enough to convince audiences that this series could compete with its older sibling.

As a viewer, I was admittedly skeptical of this collection of episodes myself. There were a few of the previous thirteen that I thoroughly enjoyed -- although the first season's finale and the Strand-centric hour earlier this season were great -- the show never managed to keep the pace intriguing or the characters from making blatantly bad decisions following them.

Beyond these first three, it's fair to have reservations (because I do, too) but with these episodes on the horizon, the series consistently delivers compelling content right when it needs to more than ever.

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For those who are skeptical of Fear the Walking Dead, watched the first few episodes and gave up on it, or avoided it all together, there won't be another jumping on point like right now. Diving into the group of west coast survivors as they are scattered and trying to find themselves and each other is the most fun and intense bit of programming Fear has offered to date, reminiscent of the early seasons of The Walking Dead's exploration of Atlanta with an injection of LOST-style flashbacks.

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Fear the Walking Dead will return for the second half of its second season on August 21 at 9 PM ET on AMC. For complete coverage, insider info, and more all season long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter and check out The Walking Dead on ComicBook.com on Facebook.