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Series / Fear the Walking Dead

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"When civilization ends, it ends fast."
"You don't get tired of surviving. You just push on. You- you got to."
Alicia Clark

Fear the Walking Dead is the second television Zombie Apocalypse series in The Walking Dead Television Universe. While The Walking Dead (2010) is an adaptation of the original comic, Fear is an original story featuring original characters created by Robert Kirkman for the show.

Further distinguishing Fear the Walking Dead from its big sister series is its premise and place in the timeline. The Walking Dead kicks off two months into the apocalypse. Fear the Walking Dead shows the Zombie Apocalypse in its early days, as news reports begin to come in of a strange virus sweeping the country. What follows is the struggle of a Los Angeles family to survive during the ensuing mass hysteria and the chaos of the collapse of society as the dead begin to rise. From Season 2 onward, the series returns to the franchise's roots by showing the main cast as they navigate the post-apocalyptic West Coast and eventually the southern portions of North America.

Fear the Walking Dead debuted on August 23, 2015 and has also aired a web series, Fear The Walking Dead: Flight 462, and a short film, Dead in the Water. Crossover characters from The Walking Dead began appearing on the show in Season 4 as it occasionally begins lining up with its timeline. The series concluded with its eighth season on November 20, 2023.

Has a recap page and a character sheet.

Fear the Walking Dead contains examples of:

  • Advertised Extra:
    • Alex. AMC hyped up the "Flight 462" shorts, which aired throughout all of The Walking Dead Season 6, claiming that one of the characters would have a starring role on Fear. Alex did wind up being promoted to the main cast, despite appearing in a mere two episodes, having minimal impact on the plot, and getting Put on a Bus with the rest of her new group for some unknown reason that still hasn't been revealed.
    • Madison was revealed to be returning to the show in Season 7 after the mid-season finale. Eventually, she does show up in Season the final episode, before returning to regular status in the following season.
  • The Alcoholic: While always a pretty hard drinker, Strand starts focusing on drowning his sorrows after experiencing tragedy in Mexico, to the point that he'll risk his life to acquire a bottle of liquor.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Strand in several senses. Ambiguous, possibly only platonic flirtation with Madison, the strange relationship with Thomas Abigail falling somewhere between In Love with the Mark, Straight Gay, and If It's You, It's Okay... Word of Saint Paul from their actor might say it best: " Strand's complicated." In Season 8, he’s now married to another man.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: In Season 4, Alicia and Naomi loot an abandoned camp in a waterpark.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The series ends with the surviving cast splitting up but most of them remaining part of a large, dedicated network of traders and do-gooders, ready to continue helping people survive across the country.
  • Anyone Can Die: This is The Walking Dead, after all.
    • Season 1: A number of recurring characters including Griselda Salazar and Liza Manawa.
    • Season 2: Chris.
    • Season 3: Travis, Ofelia.
    • Season 4: Nick.
    • Season 6: Janis, John, Virginia, Dakota, Teddy.
    • Season 7: Will, Paul, Ali, Arno, Howard, John Sr., Wes, Ava.
    • Season 8: Adrian, Grace, Shrike, Finch, Charlie, Marty, Ben, Troy, Russell.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Zigzagged, while several citizens of L.A. react to police brutality and challenge them when they go into "move along" mode, they don't seem to notice how people are resisting direct gunshots to the heart or lungs and are still active. Word of God says that this reaction is due to the lack of modern zombie fiction in the Walking Dead universe- people are far more likely to think "guy who did bath salts" than an obscure variety of The Undead.
  • Arc Villain:
    • The National Guard unit led by Lt. Moyers in Season 1.
    • The pirates led by Connor in the first quarter of Season 2.
    • Celia Flores and her cult in the second quarter of Season 2.
    • Los Hermanos Cartel led by Marco Rodriguez in the second half of Season 2. Brandon and Derek are also villains during this time.
    • Dante at the beginning of Season 3.
    • The Black Hat Indians led by Qaletaqa Walker in the first half of Season 3.
    • Troy Otto throughout Season 3.
    • The Proctors Motorcycle Club led by Proctor John at the end of Season 3.
    • The Vultures led by Mel and Ennis in the first half of Season 4.
    • Martha in the second half of Season 4.
    • Season 5: Logan's crew and then Virginia and the Pioneers.
    • Season 6: Virginia and the Pioneers up until the last quarter of the season, in which Teddy and his Doomsday Cult take over.
    • Season 7: Strand, who forms part of a Big Bad Ensemble with Arno’s band of Stalkers.
    • Season 8: PADRE, led by Ben and Sam Krennick. Sam dies and Ben seemingly reforms to the side of good, but Troy returns in the back half as the main antagonist... before getting supplanted by Ben and Russell as the final antagonists for the season and the show in general.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Take what you need, leave what you don't" for the middle seasons, the catchphrase of the caravan that Morgan eventually takes leadership of.
    • "It's what Alicia would do" for the final two seasons, as much of the cast comes to respect and revere Alicia Clark and try to follow her example.
  • Armies Are Evil:
    • The National Guard troops are not presented in a particularly sympathetic way. They sow mistrust by withholding information, abducting civilians and generally using brutal tactics. It only gets worse from there. Maddie discovers corpses of people outside of the safe zone who were seemingly shot by the military in spite of lacking infection. Travis also sees that whoever sending morse code messages to the safe zone got shot after telling Moyers about him. Later, it is revealed that they have been ordered to execute a protocol codenamed "Cobalt": put down everyone suspected of infection and then abandon California, while Los Angeles is subjected to napalm bombing. In the Season 1 finale, several troops assault Chris and Alicia whilst trying to steal their car, and others are reported to have been looting the streets after abandoning their posts.
    • Subverted with PADRE. They started out as perfectly good people planning to help retake the mainland from the dead, but after the death of their leader, his children succumbed to despair and turned the organization into an army that steals children from their parents and brainwashes them into believing they must live without familial ties.
  • Artistic License – Law: John is wracked with guilt because he tried to graze an armed robber's leg with his pistol but missed and hit a major artery, killing the man. Police officers don't shoot to wound. If John wasn't trying to kill the suspect, he wouldn't have been shooting at him in the first place.
  • Back for the Dead:
    • Cole, Doug, and Vivian, a couple of Mauve Shirts from Season 4, return in the Season 6 episode "Mother" after presumably dying in Season 4. The episode wastes no time revealing that they all had a Face–Heel Turn, nor does it waste time having them all killed by Alicia or zombies.
    • After being absent for half a season following getting a terminal diagnosis due to radiation burns, Charlie returns for a single episode of Season 8 only to commit suicide by the end of it.
  • Back for the Finale: After the show shifted focus to Morgan, the final season brings back Madison and Troy Otto to take the reins as the main protagonist and antagonist, respectively. Alicia also returns in the final episode after leaving the show at the end of the previous season.
  • Bad Boss: Lt. Moyers, who is as cruel and unreasonable to his own men (who are low on morale, supplies and sleep) as he is to the civilians they are guarding.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: Occurs frequently.
    • The military's execution of the residents inside the house signaling to Chris in the safezone in "Not Fade Away" is only seen and heard in the distance for a few moments.
    • When Lt. Moyers, Lt. Castro and the military unit go into the library to clear out walkers, the action is only heard from Travis' perspective as he listens over the radio, with the only action being seen when the team retreats out the front door of the library and throws a grenade to stall the walkers.
    • The military's last, futile effort to stop the infection in the Season 2 premiere (via bombing the burning city with jets) is mostly heard in the background as the group flees towards the Abigail.
  • Beware the Living: The fall of civilization forced normal people into savagery just to survive, and gave the worst people free reign to indulge in their depraved fantasies, including right-wing survivalists murdering Mexican refugees, and a serial killer setting up a doomsday cult.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: After finding out Brandon and Derek "mercy killed" Chris before going to the hotel in "Wrath", Travis brutally murders both of them, and accidentally Oscar.
  • Black Dude Dies First: The only named character to die in the pilot episode is a black man.
  • Big Fancy House:
    • Chris and Alicia break into an abandoned one in their neighbourhood, and after trying on the residents clothes, proceed to trash it.
    • Victor Strand's beachside mansion seen in the season one finale.
    • Victor Strand and Thomas Abigail's fortified mansion in Baja, Mexico.
    • Strand finds a big mansion with a giant wine cellar in season 4 where he can drown his sorrows. After he's drawn away from it, he mourns it greatly.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Calvin. He is introduced in the pilot as a polite and clean cut friend of Nick's, who lives in the suburbs and vacuums his mother's minivan. This is later revealed to be a facade, as he is actually Nick's drug dealer, and later tries to kill Nick so he can't tell others about the dodgy heroin he has been selling. It is also implied he killed other clients who had adverse reactions to his drugs.
    • Jack, the young man Alicia talks to on the radio in Season 2. Although he seems like an innocent survivor in need of help and rescue, it is later revealed he and whom he pretends to be his brother and sister-in-law is working for Big Bad Connor, when they board the Abigail, almost kill Strand, and take the rest of the group hostage, later kidnapping Travis and Alicia.
    • Celia, the kind and welcoming caretaker of Thomas Abigail and his fortified estate, and the latter's mother figure, who poisons an entire parish to keep them from eliminating the estate workers - and their families - who have become undead and whom she's keeping in the estate's wine cellar.
    • Virginia pretends to be a friendly, helpful soul, but is in reality a brutal and vindictive despot.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Season 1: The group manages to escape Operation: Cobalt, but it’s with the morally ambiguous Victor Strand - and they’re not just leaving the city behind, they’re leaving society which has finally fallen, the apocalypse having begun.
    • Season 7: The group has fled the irradiated Texas for good, but Alicia has left them due to her mistaking herself for dying, and they’re led to believe she’s perished. Madison has returned only to introduce PADRE as the next antagonists.
  • Boom, Headshot!: The primary method of killing zombies.
  • Book Ends: The first shot of Nick in "Pilot" is an upside-down view of him waking up after a drug-filled night, leading to him horrifyingly discovering his zombified girlfriend and to a greater extent, first stages of the zombie apocalypse. His death episode, "Good Out Here", ends with him getting shot, and as he's lying on the ground coughing up blood from a chest gunshot, imagines himself lying on a field of bluebonnets, before closing his eyes for the last time.
  • Bottle Episode: The show moves to a more anthology based approach starting in Season 4 with usually only a handful of characters focused on each episode. This particularly comes into play with Seasons 6 and 7, the latter of which was produced entirely during the COVID-19 pandemic and necessitated a smaller cast per episode. Season 8 returns to more of an ensemble cast approach, albeit with many of the recurring and minor characters (and some major) missing to keep the show’s focus tighter.
  • California Doubling: Aside from the pilot (which was filmed on location), the majority of the first season was filmed with Vancouver doubling for Los Angeles. The second season inverts this: in order to utilize the isolated beaches and a massive ocean-side infinity pool originally constructed for the filming of Titanic, production has moved to Northwestern Mexico, just across the border from California (thus creating a case of California Doubling for California).
  • Call-Back: In Season 1's "Not Fade Away", Madison says they need to put another coat of paint in the room a walker's brains were blown all over in the previous episode.
  • Canon Foreigner: All characters introduced in the show are created exclusively for it and don't have any counterpart in the comics.
  • Character Development:
    • Strand struggles mightily with his conscience, resolving to be a better person but still retaining his instincts for self-preservation.
    • Nick begins the show as a rather useless loser junkie but slowly grows to become a more responsible survivor.
    • Alicia is a pretty normal high school girl in the beginning, but becomes a significantly more hardened survivor.
    • Morgan arrives on the show still reeling from the horrors of the Savior War and begins to adhere to something similar to his infamous "all life is precious" mantra, though more lenient. The conflicts with the Pioneers and the Doomsday Cult harden him into someone willing to kill to survive and protect again, though thankfully without his past insanity.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Nick has several, gained through being a heroin addict.
    • He is skilled at breaking and entering to fund his addiction. It later comes in useful when the Clark family needs to acquire a weapon.
    Nick: Okay, the Trans have a shotgun. I tried to steal it once.
    • He is very familiar with pharmaceuticals, which proves useful when the group needs to find the right medication whilst searching the airplane wreckage in Season 2's "Ouroborus".
  • Cliffhanger Copout: Several episodes in Season 7 end on a cliffhanger, but the following episode (or even the following scene after a commercial break) will pick up with the cliffhanger having been resolved offscreen.
  • Closest Thing We Got: Lisa is only a nursing student, but tells the enclosed neighborhood she is a nurse practitioner and 'basically a doctor' so they will trust her to treat them. Dr. Exner also decides she is better than nothing, and lets her work on the military base.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Daniel slowly removes layers of Cpl. Adams arm to extract the location of his wife and Nick. It is later revealed he did the same thing during the Salvadoran Civil War, unbeknownst to his daughter.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Victor Strand. The only reason he bribes the soldiers to spare Nick is to utilise his craftiness as an addict for his own benefit, not out of a sense of goodwill.
  • Cool Boat: The Abigail. Unfortunately, its large size and capacity make it a prime target for other desperate survivors in Season 2.
  • Cooperation Gambit: How Victor Strand and Thomas Abigail ended up together. Instead of having Strand arrested for stealing his credit cards and making expensive investments, Abigail instead recruits him so they can begin to make money together. Their relationship ends up becoming much more personal, however.
  • Couch Gag:
    • Each title sequence in seasons 4 and 5 is a landscape that changes depending on circumstances in the episode. For example, in the episode preceding a tornado, storm clouds are visible, and in the episode where the tornado is raging, the letters from the title fly off.
    • Seasons 6 and 7 goes further than this, with each episode including one or two main character's silhouettes, befitting of the season's Bottle Episode storytelling style. It is set in a differently colored background, while the sun or moon is above their head.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Many examples - Strand, George Geary, the residents of Broke Jaw Ranch. etc.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Several seasons, particularly Season 4 and 5, opt for a heavily washed out color palette. Ironic as those seasons depict Morgan reforming the main cast into a group of do-gooders with the show taking a more optimistic tone.
  • Developing Doomed Characters:
    • In the pilot, we're introduced to Artie, the school principal, played by a recognizable actor and given a little character treatment. He's bitten offscreen and dies in the following episode.
    • Season 7 introduces a slew of one-off characters who all perish by the end of their first episode, including Will, Paul, and Ava. To date, only Ava has had some significance to the plot post-mortem.
  • Devoured by the Horde:
    • In "The Good Man," when a large horde of walkers are invading the military base, the walkers knock down a watchtower with two guards on it. When the guards try to get back up, they were already surrounded by the walkers and they start eating them.
    • In "Sonny Boy", John Sr., already suffering from terminal radiation poisoning, goes through Strand's moat to deliver Mo to Morgan, and afterwards learns he was bit in the process. Knowing either the walkers will kill him or the poisoning will, John sacrifices himself to the horde to give himself a quick demise and to try to distract them from Morgan, and is quickly overrun and eaten.
  • Disappeared Dad:
    • Maddy's first husband and the father of her children died before the start of the show.
    • Travis is himself a disappeared dad to his own family. His own teenage son behaves resentfully to him for what he perceives as abandoning him and his mother.
    • John Dorie, Sr. left his family out of shame for orchestrating Teddy's conviction and imprisonment by planting evidence on him, even though everyone knew Teddy was guilty. He never got to reunite with his son before he was killed by Dakota, but he did learn that his son did ultimately forgive him.
  • Disc-One Final Boss:
    • Melvin, the Vulture leader, is killed nearly halfway through Season 4. Martha takes over later on.
    • Virginia is forced to surrender to Morgan’s group in midlate Season 6, with Teddy becoming the new villain for the remainder of the season.
    • Arno dies in mid-late Season 7, leaving Strand as the sole antagonist. After he too is defeated, PADRE is introduced as the new antagonists in the finale.
    • PADRE peacefully surrenders and reforms under Madison’s leadership by the mid season finale of Season 8, with its leaders Ben and Sam reforming and dying, respectively. Troy Otto is revealed to be alive to serve as the Final Boss of the series.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Travis objects when Daniel shows Chris how to operate a shotgun.
    Travis: "You know how I feel about guns!"
  • Doomed by Canon: Society itself, as it had already collapsed by the time Rick Grimes woke up from his coma over on The Walking Dead, meaning the survivors can do nothing but try to survive on their own.
  • Downer Ending:
    • Season 5 ends with Morgan’s group separated as they are forcibly brought into the Pioneers’s vassal states by Virginia, who then shoots Morgan and leaves him to the walkers out of pure spite for defying her.
    • Season 6 ends with the cast taking shelter from the ten nuclear warheads Teddy successfully launched at Texas.
    • Season 7 ends with the cast about to fall into the clutches of PADRE, the new antagonistic group.
  • Drama Bomb:
    • In "The Dog", Nick loses all patience with the adults trying to keep the kids in the dark with what's happening and speaks the truth bluntly.
    Maddie: Susan's sick.
    Nick: She's not sick. She's dead.
    Alicia: [freaks out over Matt, who they left sick in bed in the previous episode]
    • Similarly, in "Not Fade Away", Alicia snaps at Travis and Madison when they begin to bicker, telling them that there's no room for marital squabbles in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.
  • Dramatic Irony: The earliest episodes, of course, thrive on it. Viewers know exactly what's happening while the characters don't.
  • Driven to Suicide: Dr. Bethany Exner, though whether they went through with it isn't shown.
  • Dr. Jerk: Dr. Bethany Exner, a government doctor working with the National Guard. She seems to mean well, but is revealed to be responsible for Nick being forcibly removed from home and taken to the 'medical base'. By the end of Season 1, she really does want to help people, and is so distraught that her patients can't be evacuated she then kills them and presumably herself.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: After leaving Mexico tragically, Strand is very keen to get drunk at every opportunity and occasionally convinces others with something to mourn to join him.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The series ends with the surviving group members all finding a sense of closure to move on with their lives, with most of them remaining part of Luciana's large network of suppliers across the American South. Daniel remains with her as her official adopted father, Dwight and Sherry return to the Sanctuary to rebuild it into a proper safe-zone for the group, June and Odessa become a family unit and head for John's home, and Strand leaves the group on good terms, having atoned for his past misdeeds, with his new family - and he gets to see that Madison survived the Final Battle and has reunited with a very much alive Alicia. The Clark's adopt Tracy and decide to return to Los Angeles to build a community there to honor Nick.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Most of the first half of Season 3 revolves around the protagonists teaming up with white supremacists against Native Americans. The former kidnapped Madison's family and Travis and nearly got them killed multiple times, while the latter are responsible for inadvertently killing Travis in the second episode.
  • Eye Contact as Proof: Morgan tells John to look him in the eye and tell him whether he really believes killing is the only way to survive the post-Zombie Apocalypse world. John says he doesn't...or at least, he hopes he doesn't really believe that.
  • Eye Scream: Madison thrusts a spoon into Troy's eye to take him hostage and escape captivity at the start of Season 3.
  • Face–Heel Turn: In Season 7, Strand becomes the primary antagonist after he founds a community and seeks to prove Morgan's more merciful ways wrong. Towards the end of the season, Wes defects from the group to join Strand, but even turns on him when he recognizes Strand's weakness for Alicia.
  • False Reassurance: Travis and Maddie try this on his son Chris and her daughter Alicia, respectively. Daniel sees right through it.
  • False Utopia: One of the key themes that runs throughout Season 1.
    • Many of the L.A. residents are either ignorant or not prepared for what's happening around them. It even prompts residents that would otherwise be savvy in the real world to be brutally wrong when a mischaracterization of a crime scene causes people to start rioting, exacerbating the situation.
    • Travis also gets this in "Not Fade Away". When the National Guard takes control of the neighborhood, he goes for a jog and tries to ignore the problems around him. It takes the realization that the military is going to bomb their neighborhood and him stepping up to protect his family that causes him to shatter this illusion.
    • In "The Good Man", just before they drive out to find Nick and Liza at the military command post, they see neighbors going about their business (walking a dog and eating dinner) like nothing is wrong. Ofelia tells Madison to ignore them before they drive off.
  • Five-Finger Discount: Whilst negotiating with and bribing his military captors, Victor is able to steal the key for the cage he and Nick are imprisoned in.
  • Foregone Conclusion: In the first season, any attempts at salvaging society, treating the walker virus, or trying to learn of its origins will end in failure.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Travis is teaching his class about Man versus Nature conflict, which is essentially what a zombie story is in spite of the supernatural premise. The specific scene in question has a man put his hands in gore.
    • In "The Dog", Madison asks Liza to kill her if she ever gets infected, and to not let Travis do it as it would break him. At the end of "The Good Man", Liza reveals that she was bitten when the military base was overrun with infected. She initially asks Madison to kill her, echoing her words about not letting Travis do it, but Travis finds them before Madison can do it, leading to him shooting Liza.
    • Nick has a battered copy of Watership Down among his bedding at the abandoned church. This novel's story foreshadows much of what's to come: warnings of catastrophe, a desperate escape from a militant stronghold, and a displaced band of survivors seeking refuge from a figurative or actual ship.
  • Free-Range Children: Despite being a proven runner even before things went south, Nick is often free to wander around unsupervised.
  • Gasoline Lasts Forever: Averted. By the time of Season 5, all of the old gasoline has gone bad or run out, so a functional oil well which can make more gas becomes a major source of conflict as multiple factions seek to claim it for themselves. Infinite Supplies is also averted; though they can make gas, they still only have the one well and nothing close to the pre-apocalypse automotive infrastructure, so characters are often seen riding horses instead of cars and trucks unless they're traveling long-distance.
  • Gentleman Thief: Flashbacks reveal that Strand became a combination of this and a Con Man after Hurricane Katrina rendered him bankrupt. He stole Thomas Abigail's credit cards, then used them to make expensive investments. However, he intended to make enough money to bring himself out of the gutter but also to repay Thomas afterwards, with interest.
  • Government Conspiracy: The constant helicopters and sirens, and at least one police officer stocking up on water also indicate the government authorities know more than the public, who are kept ignorant of the walker threat because there's absolutely zero media coverage.
  • Helicopter Blender: In "The Good Man", a zombie-bitten soldier is running around in a panic when the military is evacuating their base as it's overrun by the dead and runs straight into the tail rotor of one of the helicopters waiting to lift off.
  • The Hero Dies: Subverted. Unlike its mother show's lead, Rick Grimes, who was Put on a Bus but did not die, Fear's top-billed character Madison Clark is seemingly killed off halfway through Season 4. The Season 7 finale, however, reveals she survived her apparent death.
  • Home-Early Surprise: The neighbor tried to get home to his wife early when things started getting weird but couldn't get a flight. He instead got a rental car and drove into Los Angeles without a hitch because everyone was at that point trying to get out. His unfortunate surprise was nearly getting bitten by his newly zombified wife — and then saved by the military blowing her head off before she could.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills:
    • Luis is able to gun down two pirates who board the Abigail in rapid succession, from a fast moving speedboat, a considerable distance away, being piloted by Nick.
    • John Dorie is a hell of a shot with his revolver, having worked as a trick shot performer at an Wild West show.
  • Improvised Weapon: Starting in season 4, Alicia's primary weapon is the sharpened barrel of a machine gun.
  • Informed Judaism: In season 5, Sarah reveals that her last name is Rabinowitz and is Jewish enough to ask a rabbi about making atonement during Yom Kippur. Her fellow survivors are surprised by the revelation, as nothing about her had previously suggested that she was Jewish, and her being a country-music-listening truck driver with a Southern drawl somewhat clashes with stereotype (not unrealistically, though—Jewish rednecks are not unheard of).
  • Ironic Echo:
    • Strand's comment to Nick after saving him from being taken away by the National Guard: "I didn't save you, I obligated you". A flashback in Season 2 reveals that Strand was told the exact same thing by Thomas Abigail, the man he stole money from after becoming bankrupt, after Abigail decided not to press charges but instead recruit Strand to work for him.
    • Madison calling The Nation a group of savages, but she stops herself before actually finishing the sentence. However, in an amused indignant tone Jeremiah finished the sentence for her. The irony probably not lost on her considering she called Jeremiah out for the same reason.
  • Irony: Sarah tells Jim that he is a "grade-A asshole", when, previously, she and her brother kidnapped him, forced him to make beer, and then blindfolded him and left him in the middle of nowhere. Exactly who's the real grade-A asshole here?
  • Just Before the End: The setting and the appeal of the series, although almost nobody knows it in-universe.
  • Karmic Death: The entire National Guard platoon, who locked hundreds of civilians into a stadium to be devoured or turned by walkers. By the end of Season 1, most of the soldiers responsible are eaten by those same civilians.
  • Kick the Dog: Lt. Moyers, the commanding officer of the National Guard, mutters a threat to shoot everyone in the safe zone after they ask too many questions. In his next scene, he's too busy driving golf balls into an abandoned neighborhood to listen to Travis's concerns.
  • Kill It with Fire: The purpose of Operation Cobalt. It's effects are shown at the start of season 2, where it is revealed that LA, San Francisco, San Diego, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver have been firebombed by the military.
  • Lack of Empathy: Strand has this in droves, although it proves to be useful in the desperate situation the group is in. When faced with a boat full of refugees in Season 2, he refuses to let them board, claiming his "mercy quota" has been filled. He later cuts the rope that was keeping Alex and Jake's raft attached to the Abigail, dismissing them as "dead weight".
  • The Lad-ette:
    • Sarah, the truck-driving, beer-swilling, tough-talking former marine.
    • Downplayed with Al, who sports a short, butch haircut, dresses in men's clothing, is good with tools and drives a SWAT van, though she's not aggressively masculine in personality.
  • Limited Wardrobe: For the next 3 episodes, despite staying in his mother's home for nine days, Nick is still seen wearing the clothes he stole from a dead man in the hospital in the pilot. The group later averts this in Season 2, as many of them scavenge for fresh clothes at the airplane crash site.
  • Long-Runner Cast Turnover: The show begins with a focus on the extended Clark-Manawa family: Maddie and Travis, their three kids from previous marriages, and Travis's ex-wife. After only three and a half seasons, only two members (Alicia and Madison, though neither know the other is alive) is alive from that family.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: A brief scene of Nick waking up in a meadow full of flowers just as he died.
  • Meaningful Name: Strand's boat, the Abigail is revealed to be named after Thomas Abigail, his partner and business associate who is likely the true owner of the boat.
  • Mercy Kill: Comes up often when survivors encounter a mortally wounded or bitten person.
    • After finding a survivor in the Flight 462 wreckage, Chris tries to help him up, only to discover the man has a severe spinal injury. With the survivors blessing, Chris then kills him with a blow to the head.
    • Luciana is implied to give one to Clayton after delivering him a cold beer.
  • Mildly Military: The National Guard unit led by Lt. Moyers acts rather non-military, golfs instead of handling problems handed to them, have low morale and poor discipline, use incessant radio chatter, and don't work out a proper rotation of rest if soldiers are awake for 50 hours while their CO is using his free time to golf. Any real military officer would have kept the safe zone properly protected, guarded and happy. There are also the problems with the military and the government keeping as tight a lid on the zombie outbreak as possible, leading to more infected and the situation going out of control. Lack of artillery or air support during their campaigns is also rather strange, as well as their ROE (rules of engagement) consisting of killing everyone outside a safe zone and no transportation of healthy civilians out of a combat area.
  • Militaries Are Useless:
    • The National Guard prove remarkably incompetent throughout Season 1. It is especially pronounced in its finale, in which a mass of zombies attack their fortifications. The panicked soldiers fire on full auto in spite of needing headshots to kill zombies. Even against stationary zombies amassed at their fences, their gunfire has almost no effect. They're quickly overwhelmed.
    • The National Guard unit protecting the suburb keeps the walkers out and gives rations, but it's not particularly helpful in explaining what's going on, and cares very little about the mental state of certain residents.
  • The Mole: Charlie in Season 4, who gets brought to the Diamond as a refugee and reports on the camp's provisions to the Vultures.
  • My Beloved Smother: Maddie, driven from guilt, tries to keep tabs on her adult junkie son and is willing to keep putting him back in rehab in the hope that it takes this time.
  • Ms. Fanservice: In early episodes, Alicia wears mostly shorts showing off her legs. Then there's the scene in "Cobalt" where she plays dress up at the abandoned house of her rich neighbors.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: George Geary, the survivalist the group meets on Catalina Island, believes the outbreak is natures way of culling humanity.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Madison considers "killing" Susan, one of her neighbors who has become a walker. She fears what would happen if Susan's husband Patrick returns home and is attacked by her. However, Travis stops her, which results in Patrick almost being bitten when he actually does come home.
    • In the Season 1 finale, Travis goes against Daniel's wishes and lets Cpl. Adams free, believing he will not be a threat. He later turns up at the army base and tries to kill Daniel and Ophelia.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • Travis delivers one to Cpl. Adams after Adams breaks his promise to run away and returns to shoot Ofelia.
    • Travis does the same with Derek and Brandon in Season 2 after he finds out how Chris really died.
  • New Old West: Seasons 3 and 4 have shades of this, both taking place in the Southwest. Season 3 features a dispute between a group of white settlers and a local Native American tribe who claim their land. Season 4 includes the introduction of John Dorie, a lawman and bona fide gunslinger who used to work at a Wild West show. The arc villains of the first half of Season 4 are also called the Vultures, which also fits a western theme. Seasons 5 and 6 lean farther into the western feel of, bordering on an apocalyptic Cattle Punk vibe with some nods to Weird West fiction for good measure.
  • Number Two: Luis Flores, Thomas Abigail and Victor Strand's right hand man and muscle.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Travis the pacifist delivers a brutal and frenzied beating of Adams after the soldier shoots Ofelia. Travis obviously feels guilty for letting him go the first time.
  • Ominous Owl: The one carved on the tree in the hacienda, similar to Luis' medallion.
  • Plot Armor: While mitigated by the fact that she's inside the air vent at the time, when Alicia is trapped in a bunker with dwindling air, she somehow has enough air to fight off a zombie while the rest of the Red Shirt characters around her die of asphyxiation.
  • Police Are Useless: During the riot in L.A., an infected riot officer is seen brutally attacking a colleague on the ground. Despite the large police presence, no other officers notice what is happening.
  • Police Brutality: After the L.A.P.D. gun down two infected people in broad daylight, the public misinterprets it as simply trigger-happy cops shooting unarmed civilians, and begin a protest that later spirals into rioting.
    • A Coast Guard spokesman on the radio actually asks forgiveness for this trope applying in the wake of the burning of L.A., ashamed that they can't save anyone.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: The people at Brokejaw Ranch are sexist and have a whites-only policy.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • A rather large theme of the series, as word about the infection is slow to spread. At first, it's implied that the government is actively trying to cover it up, but as the scene with the Cruz family demonstrates, many people simply just don't pay attention to what's happening around them.
    • On a more personal level, Nick, Madison, and Travis' constant reluctance to actually tell the rest of their family about what is going on. This leads to situations that put all the main characters in potential peril. Alicia in particular is left in the house unsupervised to watch Nick without any knowledge of the walker virus. It's largely only a factor of fortunate timing that being kept in the dark didn't lead to her taking actions that would get her killed or bitten.
    • The National Guard seems to think that the people under their protection don't deserve to be properly filled in on what they are doing.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Said by Daniel to some National Guard troops, just before he leads a herd of walkers towards the gate.
    Soldier: Don't make me shoot you, old man.
    Daniel: You should save your ammunition...
  • Prequel This series starts during the two months that The Walking Dead's Rick Grimes was in a coma, when civilization had just begun to collapse. By Season 3 and 4, it becomes an Interquel until the show jumps to catch up to the main show’s ninth season by its fourth season. However, a large Time Skip takes place in said ninth season, punting this show back to Interquel until Season 8, which sees Fear have its own massive time jump that catches it up to the final season of the main show (which had already concluded by the time of its airing).
  • Put on a Bus: Several characters leave the series for prolonged periods of time, with some absences explained and others not.
    • Daniel Salazar is missing between Seasons 3 and 5.
    • Madison eventually is revealed to have survived her apparent death in Season 4 and returns at the end of Season 7.
    • Wendell goes missing for a period of time between Seasons 6 and 7.
    • Rabbi Jacob Kessler disappears at the end of Season 6 despite evacuating with the rest of the group. He receives an offhand mention once in the season, but he doesn’t return until “Divine Providence” with no comment on where he’s been.
    • Al and Isabelle leave the show around midway through Season 7 as they go on the run from the CRM.
    • Alicia is more like “refuses to get on the bus”. She refuses to join the others in evacuating a soon to be inhospitable zone due to believing she’s going to die, but she eventually apparently recovers and decides to stake out a life there regardless of the danger. It would be confirmed this is her last episode for the indefinite future as her actress wanted to leave the show. She returns in the show's final episode.
    • Season 8's first half sees the following characters fail to put in an appearance: Victor Strand, Luciana, Charlie, Sarah and Wendell, Jacob, and Josiah, all of whom evacuated into rafts in the Gulf of Mexico with the others. Only Victor, Luciana and Charlie are mentioned but their whereabouts are unconfirmed, and PADRE mentions that there were less people on the rafts than they were expecting to presumably cover why so many characters haven’t returned yet. In "Anton", Strand returns and claims all the other members of the evacuees died, though Luciana and Charlie both return. After the series concluded, the Rabinowitz twins, Jacob, and Josiah all failed to appear, but the showrunners later commented that they didn't intend to kill off the former three, and imagine they're part of Luciana's network of survivors offscreen.
    • Morgan leaves the show at the mid-season finale of Season 8, intending on reuniting with Rick and the Coalition, and takes his daughter Mo with him.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: A theme in several seasons from Season 4 onward.
    • A hurricane separates Morgan from the group in the back half of Season 4 with the focus mostly being on him trying to reunite the group so they can go to Virginia.
    • Speaking of Virginia, an actual woman named Virginia who runs a network of communities under an iron fist captures the group and separates them throughout her franchises at the end of Season 5. Season 6 then devotes most of its time to the group trying to escape Virginia’s clutches and regroup to retaliate.
    • Season 6 ends with the cast scattering like roaches when Teddy nukes Texas, with the first half of Season 7 once again devoting much of its time to the group trying to find each other again.
    • The first half of Season 8 sees a downplayed example since only a small portion of the group reunites with each other - Morgan, Grace, Dwight, Sherry, Daniel, and June, with all other members of the group completely absent. The back half of the season sees Luciana and Charlie return, though the latter ends up killing herself.
  • Quick Melee: When Nick is running away from National Guard troops, one of them stops him by hitting him in the face with the butt of his rifle.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Captain Castro. Despite pulling rank and acting hostile towards Adams, he is shown to be equally tired of Lt. Moyers antics and is relatively helpful to Travis.
  • Rescue Equipment Attack: Madison smashes the undead Artie's head with a fire extinguisher when he attacks her and Tobias at the school.
  • Riches to Rags: Strand is obviously a high-class gentleman with a taste for fine fashion, watches, and liquor. A flashback in Season 2 reveals that he was once a wealthy property owner. Still is, technically, but money doesn't mean anything after the apocalypse.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The riot against police brutality on a minority has obvious shades of the Ferguson riots and growing controversy over police brutality, even though the series takes place in 2010.
  • Safe Zone Hope Spot: The survivors have it just as bad as the characters on the parent show, if not more so; El Sereno is less of a "safe zone" and more an "internment camp", La Colonia is opressed by cartel gangsters, Abigail Estate is run by a madwoman who keeps Walkers in the basement, Broke Jaw Ranch is a Crazy Survivalist compound full of white supremacists, Texas is nuked by a serial killer, and so on.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man:
    • Victor Strand wears an immaculate black suit despite being placed in a military internment camp. When he gathers supplies to face the zombie apocalypse, he can be seen packing dress shirts and ties.
    • Thomas Abigail (Victor's partner) wears even nicer suits.
  • The Sheriff: John Dorie is an updated example. He's a southwestern police officer who wears a cowboy hat and even performed trick-shot stunts at a Wild West show before the apocalypse.
  • Shown Their Work: At the end of Season 1's "The Dog," National Guard troops are seen spray painting official FEMA markings on houses in the Clarks' neighbourhood. Similar markings are seen on houses in the neighborhood Nick goes to in Season 2 to meet with Strand's contact.
  • South of the Border: In Season 2, Strand reveals that they are headed to Mexico, as he has a fortified house in the hills of Baja California. Even after splitting up, the survivors spend most of the season there, only heading back to the border during the finale.
  • Spoiler Opening: In "Ouroboros," Michelle Ang is credited as a series regular, hinting that Alex will be back from being set adrift before too long. She comes back two episodes later.
  • Status Quo Is God: The fourth season has Morgan decide to lead the group back to Virginia to join the Coalition in the main show. Since that would destroy the premise of this series being a completely different setting, at the end of the season finale Morgan changes his mind. When Morgan does finally start heading back to the Coalition, he only brings his daughter Mo with him, leaving the show back in the hands of the Fear-original characters.
  • Straight Gay: It is revealed in Season 2 that Victor Strand is in a relationship with a man, Thomas Abigail, for whom he named their boat. While a cultured man with a sophisticated taste in the finer things, he has no other stereotypical gay traits. In Season 8, his new husband Frank similarly has no stereotypical gay traits.
  • Suicide Pact: George Geary, the survivalist ranger on Catalina Island is revealed to have made one with his family. His wife is against it, urging the group to take their two young children to safety. However, their young daughter takes her pill early, dies and reanimates, infecting her parents and leaving the two surviving sons - a teenager and a child - to an uncertain fate on the island.
  • Swiss-Cheese Security: Madison gets out of a fenced security area using bolt cutters and with little problem.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Tobias tries to stab a recently infected walker in the head with his knife. The knife bounces right off the skull, rather than going through it, as unlike in the main series, the body has not had ample time to decompose and become weaker.
    • In Season 7, several characters including Charlie and John Dorie Sr. begin suffering from radiation burns and poisoning in the aftermath of Teddy's nukes. Despite their efforts to be careful, many of their protective measures, especially their hazmat suits, had to essentially be improvised from limited resources and turned out to be imperfect.
  • The Dog Bites Back: It's implied that Lt. Moyers is killed by his own men (who he had been treating like crap) when they enter a library overrun with walkers. The soldiers then proceed to abandon their posts to try and find their families.
  • Time Skip:
    • Of nine days between "The Dog" and "Not Fade Away", in which time the Clarks' neighbourhood has been fenced off as a 'safe zone' by the National Guard.
    • About a year passes between Seasons 3 and 4, enough for the show to catch up to the main show's eighth season.
    • The biggest time jump so far takes place between Seasons 7 and 8note , a whopping seven years. This once again catches the show up to the main show, albeit to its' already concluded final season.
  • Too Clever by Half: Nick tries to pass himself off as sober, which fools his family, but when a doctor comes along, she quickly deduces that he's not going through withdrawal.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Travis, by the end of Season 1. He goes from being a pacifist who hates guns, to actively wielding a shotgun when the group breaks into the military base. He also beats Cpl. Adams almost to death after the latter shoots a member of the group.
  • The Tooth Hurts: John Dorie has a Sweet Tooth and is frequently seen eating hard candy. In "The Key," John Dorie finds out he has a horrible cavity and can't eat or drink properly without feeling pain. He ends up pulling out the bad tooth himself with a pair of pliers.
  • 20 Minutes into the Past: The series premiered in mid-2015 but is set in 2010 (the same year the first season of The Walking Dead was released and takes place in).
  • Unexplained Recovery: From Season 5 onwards, many of the main characters survive seemingly fatal wounds and it's revealed that someone miraculously saved them and patched up their wounds off-screen...somehow. The most egregious example of this is Madison, who was seemingly left to either burn to death or get devoured alive by zombies. When she reappears in the Season 7 finale, the only explanation we get in regards to how she survived is that "she's full of surprises."
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: As people riot in downtown LA, some people are being eaten on the ground by walkers. No one notices.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Virginia's Pioneers pretend to be a charitable group looking out for everyone, going so far as to spread propaganda videotapes encouraging survivors to reach out to them for help. In reality, they're a pitiless and brutal empire.
  • Violence Is Disturbing:
    • After Madison is forced to kill an infected Principal Art Costas after he tries to attack a student, she goes home and breaks down crying in the bathroom.
    • After Daniel blows a walkers head off with a shotgun, Chris promptly runs outside and throws up, visibly disgusted.
  • Wham Shot: In "Not Fade Away", after being skeptical about the supposed light signals coming from outside the perimeter, Travis decides to try and see them himself. He does, but not before they are replaced by muzzle flashes and sounds of distant gunfire.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • We never find out what happens to Tobias from Season 1, who is second only to Daniel as the most savvy character of the show. However, the showrunners have confirmed that Tobias is still alive.
    • The fates of those people taken away by the military, such as Patrick and Doug, are never shown. However, it is heavily implied in "The Good Man" that anyone who was dragged out was killed and cremated, including the deceased Griselda Salazar.
    • Mickey is only around for one episode in Season 7 before she’s offhandedly mentioned as not wanting anything to do with a scheme regarding the Tower, and is never mentioned or seen again.
    • Numerous members of the group do not appear in the first half of Season 8 with their whereabouts unknown or even completely unmentioned. "Anton" has Strand claim that the group members who didn't make it to PADRE all perished - as of the penultimate episode of the series, this leaves the Rabinowitz twins, Josiah, and Jacob as seemingly among the casualties.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In the Season 2's "Shiva," Nick decides to split off from the main group (correctly) pointing out that they have a tendency of destroying every safe haven they have come into contact with.
  • While Rome Burns: The commander of the National Guard is more interested in using an abandoned neighborhood street as a driving range than listening to Travis's concerns.
  • Worst Wedding Ever: Doesn't get much worse than the wedding held at the Rosario Beach Hotel just as the outbreak began; the bride's father died from a heart attack during their dance, and reanimated when she tried to rescucitate him, attacking her and causing an outbreak in the hotel. Oscar, the groom, and the bride's mother were among the survivors, and kept the now-zombified bride locked up in the honeymoon suite, unable to put her down.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit:
    • How a group of hostile survivors are able to board the Abigail in Season 2. One of them is pregnant, so she cuts the top of her leg to make it look like she is miscarrying, resulting in the group immediately taking them in. Once aboard, they disarm the group and take control.
    • How Althea, Morgan and John are captured. They stop when they see a woman crawling in the middle of the road, moaning gibberish. It turns out to be Alicia, who is acting as bait for Nick, Strand and Luciana to seize them.
  • You Can't Go Home Again:
    • The Salazars' barber shop, which also doubled as their apartment, is looted and destroyed in the riots. The Salazars are also refugees who fled from El Salvador (presumably due to the Salvadoran Civil War).
    • In the Season 2 premiere, the group is forced to flee Los Angeles as it is firebombed by the military.


Video Example(s):


Fear the Walking Dead S02 E12

These survivors show how possible it is to start over in a world filled with zombies.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / GoodTimesMontage

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