Fear The Walking Dead's first season was a bit divisive. Fans were generally underwhelmed given the expectation that stemmed from how great The Walking Dead is, though there was a strong contingent (myself included) that really related to the characters in FTWD and was excited for Season Two. The first half of the second season, however, has received the same lukewarm response as the first season. If the showrunners want a more positive response from the audience, they need to consider these 4 suggestions moving forward :
1. Kill A Major Character
This suggestion operates under the notion that Daniel is not dead, which is a very reasonable theory given that there is no proof of his death. So far the only character that has died that the audience felt anything for was Liza, Travis's first wife and Chris's mother and that was the end of the first season. We have had 7 episodes since then and not a single meaningful death of a character that was developed enough for the audience to care about with the exception, of course, of the possibility that Daniel went up in flames at Celia's villa - which I don't believe to be the case.
Was it sad that Thomas, Victor Strand's lover, died? Sure, for Strand. But the audience did not know Thomas well enough to care about his death.
2. Develop A Major Villain
There has been a handful of times so far this season where our group was looking at a potential long-term antagonist. From the moment Alicia started talking to Jack on the radio in the premiere, I felt like we were being setup for the show's first major villain - Connor.
I was pretty disappointed that Connor's group was taken out so easily after just a brief time as our villains - we didn't even get a chance to appreciate the characters before they were unceremoniously duped into becoming zombie kibble. It was a cool little switcheroo type of misdirection that was another step Madison took towards becoming the Rick Grimes of FTWD, but the hype that built up Connor to the audience left me feeling underwhelmed by his swift demise.
After those dopes got chomped on, we met who I was sure would become our first major villain : Celia.
Her twisted view that the undead are still somehow the people they were when they were living is kind of creepy (though also reminiscent of our introduction to Hershel from The Walking Dead), but honestly we left off this season without really seeing her dangerous side. I know we were left with the assumption that she was killed by Madison's treachery, but we did not get irrevocable proof of her demise. What better way to come back and get all villain-as-fuck then to survive what Madison did to her and encounter both Daniel and Nick on her property after Strand, Madison, Ofelia, and Alicia take off?
3. New Characters
We need to meet some new characters, good, evil, neutral, or whatever, we just need them. Don't get me wrong - I like our group - but fans are split on the characters we have been following through 13 episodes so far. Besides that though, we simply need new characters to enter the fold for the purpose of what new characters mean in a show like FTWD. With new characters come new conflicts and new story lines. The fans need more stuff to happen - one of the biggest criticisms of the show from the first season was the pacing, which hasn't exactly been fixed in the first half of the second season.
I appreciate the development of our group and I, personally, like all of our characters so far, but without new characters and the deaths of major characters the show feels too safe to me. Which leads me to my next point.
There were very few scenes and/or moments this season where I felt scared or felt, like, you know, the group was in some trouble. For the most part, it all felt very safe. When Reed and his pirate pals boarded The Abigail ("Arrrr"), there should have been more tension than there actually was. When Travis was underwater fixing the boat, there should have been more tension than there was. When Daniel and the kids were on the shore and fighting their way back to the boat, there should have been more tension (though this was a pretty good scene). When the group was surrounded by zombified parishioners, there should have been a bit more tension, (this was probably the most suspenseful sequence so far this season}.
This show is supposed to be scary - even if just a little bit. So far this season has me feeling all kinds of safe for all of the characters to the point where I am nearly certain Daniel and Celia are both still alive. If you think about where we left off, none of them are in real danger except MAYBE Daniel and I'm not convinced that he is in serious trouble either. We'll probably open up on him in the mid-season premiere loading up a shotgun and cutting his way through the remnants of Celia's property (only a half-serious prediction here, but I wouldn't be surprised).
Matt is a writer/filmmaker in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Follow me on Twitter @Matt_InTheWoods