Fear the Walking Dead Review: "Ugly Mustard" Makes for Thrilling TV -- And the Best Fear in Years

"God, John. That is some ugly mustard." When Morgan Jones (Lennie James) reunites with John Dorie (Garret Dillahunt) for the first time since Virginia (Colby Minifie) shot Morgan point-blank and left him for dead in the cliffhanger that ended Fear the Walking Dead Season 5, he finds the gunslinger in his darkest moment. Morgan survived Humbug's Gulch with the help of a stranger who left behind a note"You still have things left to do" — and he's spent the first half of Season 6 on a mission to find and free the rest of his group of survivors still living behind Virginia's walls.

In "The Door" and "Things Left to Do," the first two episodes of the nine-episode Fear Season 6B released to ComicBook.com and other press, mysteries are solved, secrets are revealed and the truth exposed, and standoffs turn to shootouts when the post-apocalyptic horror western returns on April 11th.

"The Door," the midseason premiere directed by franchise veteran Michael E. Satrazemis from a script by showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg, was to be last year's midseason finale before it was delayed amid the coronavirus pandemic. Likewise, "Things Left to Do" was to be the midseason premiere, and it very much plays like one — season-changing plot twists and all — meaning viewers now only have to wait one week in between blockbuster episodes to see the fallout from one character's shocking decision that dramatically alters the course of the season.

After the so-called ugly mustard that went down inside the Lawton settlement, where John investigated the suspicious circumstances surrounding the murder of one of Virginia's Rangers, he fled to his remote cabin to hide from the world without his wife June (Jenna Elfman).

Fear the Walking Dead John Dorie Garret Dillahunt
(Photo: AMC Studios)

When Morgan shows up to bring a hopeless John to the new home he's building for their family, the cowboy agrees to use his sharp-shooting skills to help Morgan and Dakota (Zoe Colletti) — Virginia's younger sister trying to escape her control — clear a walker-filled bridge blocking their way forward.

As Morgan builds up a community and a future away from Virginia — envisioning a real home for his friends Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), Althea (Maggie Grace), Dwight (Austin Amelio), Charlie (Alexa Nisenson), and more — things come to a head when Virginia wields her leverage over hostages Daniel (Rubén Blades), Luciana (Danay García), Sarah (Mo Collins), and the pregnant Grace (Karen David).

Fear the Walking Dead Morgan Alicia
(Photo: AMC Studios)

When the situation escalates, forcing the survivors to take sides, Morgan must navigate a breathlessly intense impasse complicated by not one but two factions of aggressors: justice-hungry armies led by Ranger Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) and Sherry (Christine Evangelista).

It's the kind of full-throttle storytelling that longtime Fear fans will recognize from the spinoff's shocking third season, once the show's best-reviewed run until the anthology-style Season 6 launched last October.

After an aimless and often lethargic Season 5 — at one time the preceding season was the only stretch of any Walking Dead show to be "rotten" on Rotten TomatoesFear the Walking Dead continues its dramatic 180 in quality with two more compelling and energizing episodes that are among the best ever produced by the Walking Dead spin-off.

Point blank: this is the best Fear in years.

"The Door": 4 out of 5

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"Things Left to Do": 4 out of 5

Fear the Walking Dead Season 6 returns with new episodes Sunday, April 11th, on AMC.