Although many have long written off The Walking Dead universe, it shows no signs of slowing down, with another yet spin-off pending. But even harsher criticism goes out to the first expansion, Fear the Walking Dead. At times, perhaps not without good reason. Most would probably argue that the show has seen more lows than highs. However, there are still plenty of adamant fans who will pardon some lesser moments. With such abundance, it’s easy to take zombie entertainment for granted. This show did improve over time, and the soft reboot has more to like than expected. Spoilers included, here’s how users rated some dismal troughs and rather overlooked crests.
10 Worst: ...I Lose Myself (6.4)
On the flagship series, anyone with a moral compass is brutally punished. But here, pretty much everyone has been afforded the opportunity to act as forces of positivity without penalty. And none have been so extreme as Morgan, who was a welcome addition, but a mixed bag. In this Season 4 finale, his attitude is tested against one of the all-time weakest franchise villains. Without a decent antagonist, any heroes’ actions are rendered hollow. Also, it may have been cheesy fun to have Jim’s beer save everyone, but it’s hard to imagine that not a single drop of ethanol was left in that tanker after the shooting. In this universe, implausibility is the number one issue for most viewers.
9 Best: 100 (8.2)
This is one time that conveniences were totally forgivable. Coincidence was the point of this story, which explores how Daniel survived. Ruben Blades has always been one of the most talented cast members, and his stark character the most intriguing. Indeed, it’s innately engaging for Daniel to question his purpose, when survival always leads him back to the violence he resents. The majority of the episode is in Spanish, adding a level of authenticity and sincerity. The episode moves quickly, with convincing drama and a wholly unique charisma. It could exist as an excellent standalone zombie tale of its own.
8 Worst: You're Still Here (6)
Perhaps Morgan isn’t necessarily the best role model. Alicia’s adamant no-kill policy extends even to the walkers, and for the viewer, that can be pretty frustrating. At least she gets over it by the credits. Alicia finds herself mesmerized by tree art, which quickly becomes tiresome. But the episode ultimately revolves around a new character, Wes. His pragmatic outlook is actually somewhat refreshing. And the accidental tear gas was a neat element of action. However, Morgan and Al’s standoff with Logan feels utterly void of sense or intrigue. In fact, it’s almost quite awkward, as none of the dialogue adds up.
7 Best: Brother's Keeper (8.3)
Season 3 continues to prove its invaluable place in the show’s history, as a highlight of its strengths. Even lightly touching on racism, the survivalist ranch offered a unique setting that earns the show’s right to existence. It was far more sophisticated and compelling than the preceding material. And although the psychologically unstable Troy was always a redundant story arc, it developed and concluded well. His relationship with his brother was enough of a variable to generate intrigue, and his banishment led to the inevitable. The secret between Alicia and Nick regarding the brothers’ father was a clever wedge to result in Jake’s demise.
6 Worst: End of the Line (5.8)
It’s pretty telling that nearly all of the lowest-rated episodes are comprised from Season 5. The soft reboot had a lot going for it, but since Martha, it’s been relatively troublesome all over again. Now, Virginia’s pomp and circumstance just doesn’t fit the intended tone, lending itself to strange acting choices. Worse, the mystery of her group’s motivations leave them with no personality. Without a distinguishing factor, there’s nothing to separate them from all the other human villains. Even the so-called “vultures” had a distinct take on apocalyptic survival. The wedding may be fun, but there’s no question that the poor ratings cast righteous judgment for the Morgan cliffhanger. No one wants his character to go out like this.
5 Best: Sleigh Ride (8.3)
This was the series finale, in truth. Primary characters, tone, and even cinematography were subsequently reimagined altogether. But the dam proves to be a gripping sendoff. Madison’s relationship with Nick was always a big draw for the series, and now comes to a head. Strand’s longtime contest with a callous, basically selfish attitude is tested. And Daniel’s understandable issue with the man leads to an incredible showdown. The villains of the dam are wrapped up within moments of being established. But it offers time for all of the dramatic threads to finally weave to a close. The Christmas fantasy isn’t unlike Carl’s garden fantasy, and serves a similarly poignant parallel to character destruction in the apocalypse.
4 Worst: Channel 4 (5.5)
So, this group had basically become the Ghostbusters of the zombie apocalypse. Launching the back half of Season 5 this episode unfolds with found footage. The resulting gimmick, with characters referencing some terrible incident, just doesn’t work. In fact, it essentially removes all of the tension from a well-executed sequence of disarming the bomb. The slow pacing of the show probably didn’t help, although the tone itself is more appealing than usual. In fact, this episode may have taken some undue beating. It simply didn’t advance the plot, instead establishing the crushing reality of the group’s new endeavor.
3 Best: What's Your Story? (8.3)
Bottle episodes only lean one way or the other — rarely do they allow middle ground for success. But this Season 4 premiere was an excellent soft reboot of the show. Instead of Morgan rescuing a lawman for a new beginning, the roles are reversed. And John Dorie’s blend of honesty, innocent humor, and gunplay skills have proven a high point of the show. The flashbacks in this episode provide the perfect transition for the uninitiated, featuring major players from the flagship series. The pacing is quiet and methodical, allowing unprecedented breathing room for Morgan, a long beloved character. And the trick that our old primary cast is reintroduced from a villainous standpoint is a clever, meaningful twist.
2 Worst: Channel 5 (4.7)
This episode is fully stocked with nearly every single issue that casual viewers and detractors use for hatred-ammunition. It feels like a battle between two political campaigns, complete with those bitter commercials. And yet, Virginia actively contradicts her message of peace — on camera — by deliberately attracting walkers to the protagonists. That kind of inconsistency is pretty insulting in the name of manufactured drama. Worse, although the bridge scene had some decent action, it was totally undermined by Tom’s inane death. No one would simply linger on a collapsing bridge. And Humbug’s Gulch was somehow utterly compromised, although the group has intentionally led walkers away countless times. Daniel himself led an entire stadium of walkers back in Season 1.
1 Best: The Good Man (8.5)
The first season of Fear the Walking Dead swiftly cast aside the main attraction of the show — exploring the breakout. However, after a basically stagnant episode concerning the National Guard, the show pulls every stop for the finale. The brisk pace is accompanied by well-shot, interesting action, as Daniel releases an entire horde of walkers. The rescue attempt is a thrilling payoff, but the dramatic aftermath is equally engaging. Liza’s death may be a familiar trope in any zombie story, but it’s handled tastefully and effectively— even akin to the comic book universe deaths. This is due to the pre-established focus on the intriguing, modern family dynamic at its core.