Fear the Walking Dead had an admittedly sub-par Season 2. Many of us lost sight of the excitement once gained from The Walking Dead spin-off. Many more, myself included, left episode after episode to sit untouched on rapidly filling DVRs. Fortunately it was not the end. The quality of The Walking Dead spinoff dramatically increased in Season 3 of the show. The question is, what exactly caused that wild shift?
The reasons vary quite a bit and many have their own opinions on why Season 3 improved. However, there is a central, solid reason for the obvious jump in quality the show experienced after Season 2. Most of them are a bit more subtle than the typical reasons shows will suddenly improve.
Season 3’s Writing Was Simply Better
Almost all of the specific reasons we see mentioned will boil down to this point. The writers for the show got it together and quite literally pulled the show up by its bootstraps. This is a bit surprising considering the lack of change in the show’s leadership. Dave Erickson was the showrunner for the errant season and continued in that position for the entirety of Season 3. As for how the writers improved, there are two major points.
First, the outrageously quick resolution to the conflict that plagued the second season is mostly eliminated in Season 3. Plot points were no longer rapidly resolved in order to introduce the next conflict. For reference, Season 2 had three major conflicts within the first half of the season. With Season 3 the audience was able to see the story continually grow as well as a large amount of development for the main villain.
Secondly, the characters in Season 2 were questionably developed. While some characters, like Travis, had some genuine growth, many just stagnated or inexplicably backslid. We see this most in Strand becoming someone who was present only through virtue of being innately tied to the villa. Season 3 genuinely found who the main cast should be and focused on them.
Are Things Looking Up From Here?
It certainly looks like we can expect the quality to improve following Season 3. After the finale, fans were left with a compelling reason to return and discover the fate of their favorite characters. Further, it seems the show has found its groove with pacing and the development of central characters. However, Season 4 will see the departure of Dave Erikson as showrunner. He will be replaced by Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg.
The changes in leadership could mean change in direction but it doesn’t mean fans should be concerned. There is much to look forward to as the group begins continues their struggle with Proctor John. Let’s not forget that the big bad for Season 4 isn’t the only thing to look forward to. The next season also promises to contain an exciting addition to the cast.