A whole new type of zombie has appeared in Fear The Walking Dead and it could just be the best undead variation the entire franchise has offered thus far. With 13 seasons in total comprising the franchise's canon, the world of The Walking Dead has been forced to put a variety of unique slants on their zombies in order to keep them both interesting and dangerous. From super-decomposed mushy zombies and corpses covered in spiky armor to zombies hidden in mud or blazing with fire, there have been a multitude of creative twists on the franchise's rotting contingent.
Currently in its fifth season, The Walking Dead's spinoff cousin began with a literal bang, as the protagonist group, led by series original Alicia and The Walking Dead's own Morgan, were involved in a plane crash while attempting to ride to the rescue of another band of survivors. Evidently, trained pilots aren't a common commodity in the zombie apocalypse and the group had been forced to improvise, with fiery results. Just as much of a concern as the crash, however, are the various radiation and "keep out" signs that the group keep seeing in their new location.
These signs aren't just for show either. In Fear The Walking Dead season 5, episode 2, Morgan and Alicia happen upon a woman named Grace who, in what should be a huge red flag for the pair, is wearing a full HAZMAT suit. Grace explains that she had been working at a nearby reactor during the early stages of the outbreak with a large group of other workers. Eventually, maintaining the plant became untenable and a meltdown occurred, causing the deaths of almost everyone inside. Unfortunately, the circumstance of their demise has rendered the reactor workers not just zombified, but radioactive. Grace explains that while driving a pointy object through the skull of these particular Walkers might be tempting, it could also expose a person to the radiation and prove just as deadly as a zombie bite in the long run.
The single saving grace of this bleak situation is that all the reactor workers were wearing dosimeters at the time of the meltdown. In effect, this means that Fear The Walking Dead's protagonists are forced to check any zombie they come across for a dosimeter before attacking and, should they spot one, must be extremely careful in how they dispatch the creature, all while maintaining a healthy distance.
One of the foremost criticisms of The Walking Dead franchise is that with each passing season, the zombies that were once the focal point of the series have become an afterthought. The more viewers see characters effortlessly dealing with the roaming undead, the less threatening they seem and most of the time, the zombies are little more than part of an episode's scenery. Fear The Walking Dead's radioactive zombies are so effective because they completely resurrect the aura of threat around the undead and all of the tension and horror that a single zombie could elicit way back in The Walking Dead season 1 comes rushing back.
Fear The Walking Dead season 5 continues with "Humbug's Gulch" June 16th on AMC.