Season 2 is upon us, Fear the Walking Dead fans, so let’s take stock.
Liza’s a goner — but Travis (Cliff Curtis) and Madison (Kim Dickens) are that much wiser about walkers. An already defiant Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) only knows that his dad shot his mom. The wounded Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) is also mourning her mother and doubting her dad. And Nick (Frank Dillane) just got elevated from epic screwup to Strand’s second in command as everyone prepares to board his yacht, the Abigail.
We’ll come back to that last one in a minute.
Fear’s co-executive producer Dave Alpert says the fallout of the landlocked Season 1 and that gut-wallop finale will be realized early in Season 2, setting a dramatic stage for the crew’s watery adventure.
“We’re not yet in the place where The Walking Dead is — where significant loss on a recurring basis is part of everyday life,” he explains. “Seeing your dad take out your mom, that’s a crazy dynamic. How do you go back to pretending to be a family after something like that happens? How do you deal with your dad? How do you deal with the other kids? How do you deal with the other people on the boat? How do you deal with life after that? The emotional ramifications at the end of Season 1 are really going to launch our characters in Season 2 and impact all the storylines that they’re going to explore.”
Curtis says resilience (or lack of it) will prove a key factor across the board.
“My view is that relationships that are built through hardship are the relationships that endure,” he offers. “For Travis to have to do a mercy killing with Liza was very tragic for him and that bound Travis and Madison together, that they were there together at that moment. … I think he is still humanitarian at the core, but events that transpired and things they’ve got lined up in Season 2 are so beyond the realm of normalcy and the extremes that they’re having to face are so severe that Travis’ humanity is completely challenged.”
Speaking of which … about the mysterious Strand. By now, we all know that our little band of survivors will head out to sea with the suave and wealthy mystery man, deliciously played by Selma’s Colman Domingo. But what is his deal?
“In Season 1, Travis and Salazar [Rubén Blades] had ongoing tension, but I don’t think it’s anything compared to what’s in store with Strand,” says Curtis. “In many ways, he’s our savior. But Strand has his own sense of morals and standards and values that are not at all aligned with any of us — and we’re beholden to him because we’re on his boat. It’s a great setup.”
Not to mention the part where the guy who is literally steering the ship is a giant fan of Madison and Travis’ biggest familial challenge, for better or worse.
“Strand prizes Nick’s abilities and sees great value in him,” Curtis explains. “He’s like the write-off in the family, and now he’s the most valued member of their family according to Strand and how he values human life, how he assesses the usefulness of people around him for his own end.”
“His interest in Nick is, I would say, not entirely wholesome,” adds Alpert. “There’s going to be something really powerful that comes out of that storyline.”
And the other kids?
“You’re going to see all our younger characters take on a life of their own,” Curtis says. “They’re teenagers so they’re the perfect age to rebel against whatever their parents think might be the best thing to do. All of that’s going to happen at sea. Alliances are going to have to be made. Madison is going to discover who she is, in those situations. It’s going to test the Madison-Travis setup a lot. A lot, a lot, a lot. Did I mention, A LOT?”
Plus, with so many seaside Angelenos realizing I-5 is not the path to salvation, surely these won’t be the only folks to take to the seas. Making way for a fresh hell fraught with mechanical issues, rough skies and rougher waters, dwindling supplies — and the ensuing urbanized pirates — and luckless sailors who’ve passed on and turned. Or would they just stumble off the boat and sink? Curtis says viewers will have a good time finding out.
“The writers are just having a lot of fun cooking up nightmare situations for us to deal with,” he chuckles. “It’s not safer at sea than on land, I’ll tell you that much. Tenets from the original show are very much in play in our second season — that humans are far more dangerous than dead people. But I feel like we have our own show now; I don’t think we’re going to be under the shadow of the other show anymore. We’re finding our sea legs. [Heh!] The elements of water, the restrictions, containment on a vessel and all the threats you mention — yeah, it’s all there. It’s all happening.”
Well, not all of it.
“I just want to be clear,” Alpert says with mock seriousness. “Zombies don’t surf. So if that’s where you’re going with your question, I’ll cut that off right now. Zombies do not surf.”
Fear the Walking Dead premieres Sunday, April 10 at 9/8CT on AMC.