‘Fear The Walking Dead’ Season 1 Finale: Here’s Why It Worked

The Season 1 finale of AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead aired tonight and fans are already taking to social media to rave about it. Here’s why the finale got it so right.

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains information about the Season 1 finale of AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead. Please proceed with caution if you have not yet viewed all available episodes.

Fear The Walking Dead premiered on AMC back in August to a record breaking 10.1 million viewers. Since the first episode, however, the viewership has dropped episode by episode. The most common complaints about the show were a lack of zombies, a slow plot and characters people couldn’t connect with.

However, the Season 1 finale of Fear The Walking Dead is already getting positive reviews. The Hollywood Reporter called the episode “explosive,” and Entertainment Weekly heralded the episode as a satisfying conclusion.

AMC's Fear The Walking Dead season 1 finale

Zombies

For starters, many fans were complaining about a lack of zombies in Fear The Walking Dead. Well, the Season 1 finale finally unleashed a mega herd of the undead to satisfy the fan base that needed to see zombies. In Episode 5 (entitled “Cobalt”) Daniel Salazar (Ruben Blades) tortured Corporal Andrew Adams (Shawn Hatosy) into telling him what operation Cobalt was. In the process, he learned that there was a stadium filled will 2,000 zombies. It was this knowledge that Daniel used to his advantage in his plan to rescue Griselda (Patricia Reyes Spíndola) and Nick (Frank Dillane) from the facility they were being held in.

As a result of this, there were more walkers than fans could poke sticks at. And plenty of creative weaponry usages as well. As characters were trying to escape the zombies, items such as hammers and bolt cutters were used to great effect. Of course, considering these zombies are only newly dead, there were heart stopping moments in the season 1 finale of Fear The Walking Dead when characters would have to bash the undead repeatedly until they were finally dead.

Oh, and for those of you who are just getting used to called the zombies in Fear The Walking Dead “the infected,” get ready for a name change! Showrunner, Dave Erickson, told Chris Hardwick on Talking Dead that there would be a brand new term used for the undead in Season 2 of Fear The Walking Dead.

Slow Burn

For all those people complaining of Fear The Walking Dead being too slow, there might be more than just a few thankful for the fact they decided to watch the full season before making their final judgement on the show. For others, like me, who are a fan of the usually disliked character development episodes in The Walking Dead, this episode brought a gratification that can’t be gained by death alone. While zombie and human kills keeps moving shows like Fear The Walking Dead forward, without the build up beforehand, shows like this end up losing their appeal.

Nick and his mother, Madison, in the season 1 finale of AMC's Fear The Walking Dead

The Family Finally Came Together

Many of the viewers tuning into Fear The Walking Dead were finding the characters a little hard to connect with. And that’s understandable considering there was a drug addict, a teacher who was busy believing everything the authorities said, and a man who, at first, seemed to be an escapee from the brutalities of the civil war in El Salvador, but actually turned out to be the one inflicting the atrocities.

However, along with the slow burn of Season 1 of Fear The Walking Dead, the character development kind of sneaked up on viewers and in Episode 6 (“The Good Man”) brought a wonderfully layered experience that would not have otherwise occurred if this was The Walking Deed and the unlikable characters were thrown into the deep end in a new series.

Scenes like the one where Nick (Frank Dillane) tells his mother, Madison (Kim Dickens), to leave him are all the more poignant because viewers know just how selfish Nick can be. And, for those fans that had an immense disliking of Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis), there was the added bonus of Travis developing a tougher persona that brings him more inline with being able to cope with the breakdown of society in Fear The Walking Dead. To see Travis beating a man would have meant nothing had we not watched his torturous journey.

People Died

Part of the fatalistic thrill of watching shows like The Walking Dead is the fact that anyone could die at any given moment. Over five seasons, AMC have constantly made us fall in love with characters we thought we never could fall in love with and then kill them off, breaking our hearts in the process. That totally happened in the Season 1 finale of Fear The Walking Dead. While many fans were concerned that with the death of Griselda Salazar in Episode 5, there would be no major death for the first season of Fear The Walking Dead.

Oh, how they were mistaken.

Liza says goodbye to her son, Chris in the season 1 finale of AMC's Fear The Walking Dead

AMC managed to take a character who — in my eyes — was relatively safe until at least Season 2, Liza Ortiz (Elizabeth Rodriguez) and turn her into a zombie bite victim. Liza was a student nurse, and this is why I thought she was fairly safe, a medic would be handy to keep around for a while in Fear The Walking Dead, much in the way Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson) was in The Walking Dead. However, Liza got bitten and after helping Ofelia with her bullet wound told her son she loved him and left the building.

It is this sort of thing that makes the Walking Dead franchise so popular. And, once again, AMC delivered right when you thought everyone would make it out of the season 1 finale alive.

AMC Went Where Fans Least Expected

Just when you thought L.A. was a different enough setting for Fear The Walking Dead, AMC goes and puts a boat in the equation. And, as Dave Erickson mentioned on Talking Dead after the Season 1 finale aired, life at sea on a boat will definitely be explored in Season 2 of Fear The Walking Dead.

Fear The Walking Dead returns to AMC with season 2 in 2016.

What did you think of the Season 1 finale of Fear The Walking Dead? Let us know by commenting below!

[Image credits: AMC / Justina Mintz]