Airing Mondays at 9pm on AMC on BT TV in the UK
Director: Michael E Satrazemis
Writers: Andrew Chambliss and Ian B Goldberg
Essential Plot Points:
- The Clark clan, Victor Strand and Luciana awake in the Diamond, a community that’s been set up in a baseball stadium. It’s growing crops on the turf and has now existed for one year.
- Charlie, a young new addition to the Diamond, tells Madison where she came from, so Madison, Victor, Alicia and Luciana go out looking for her parents. They find Naomi (Jenna Elfman) instead, who tries to steal their truck but winds up in a tank full of walkers and has to be rescued.
- A bunch of trucks rolls up on the Diamond. Leader Mel (Kevin Zegers) tells Madison he wants everything they’ve got or they’ll be killed. She says no.
“Before”. That’s the word emblazoned across the screen as we start episode two, meaning this series of Fear The Walking Dead isn’t going to be the Morgan show completely. And while the end step switches momentarily to “Now”, it’s a great switch dramatically.
Despite the calm life of the Diamond, the drama of this series comes from conflict and pain, so you know it’s not going to be long before something comes along to upset this particular turnip cart. First off it’s the weevils killing the aforementioned turnips, then it’s what the group finds when it goes looking for Charlie’s parents. The camp she says she came from is decimated, with no apparent survivors, and the nearby town has been stripped of anything of value – even the lightbulbs.
It’s almost not a surprise when the “vultures” – as the future versions of our team call them – show up in their trucks to blockade the stadium. There’s no Negan 50/50 deal on the table – they want everything. Is Madison, who must be sick of finding sanctuary against the madness of the new world order only to have it stripped away, about to lose another home?
For all of that, this episode ends on a hopeful note. The discussions of the importance of hope have been many and varied through previous seasons of Fear The Walking Dead. Yet this is the first time there’s been such a visual representation of it, as everyone connected to Madison joins her as she hammers nails into wood as she carries on building her home within the stadium, despite the threat outside.
Perhaps that’s designed to emphasise a situation we contemplated in the first episode: if Victor, Alicia, Nick and Luciana are alive in the future, where is Madison? It’s the elephant in the room, but given that those four appear to be hunting the vultures, we’re getting ever more fearful for her safety.
Another Day in the Diamond continues the confident start to season four of Fear The Walking Dead, and we’re really enjoying where this show is taking us.
- Mel looks like he’ll make a good enemy. No bluster, no threats, just a sincere inevitability of what will come. Having taken from so many before, despite the fact that many of those tried to hold out, he almost seems bored by the proposition that this settlement won’t just hand everything over.
- Nick’s PTSD-like problems leaving the stadium, preferring the safety of its interior, are a good counterbalance for a man who once walked with the dead across Mexico.
- Some of the best points in this episode actually point to one of the bad things generally in both Fear The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: no-one ever talks about how to get rid of the walkers permanently. Short term tactics like flicking the fire cracker into the car park to focus them away from the gates are fine, as is leading them into an enclosed tank using speakers (very clever), but if people thought bigger these stupid, appetite-driven monsters could surely be channelled away or led to their destruction? Think the crusher in the junk yard in The Walking Dead S08E10 but on a larger scale.
Review by Matt Chapman