As we return for the third season of the post-apocalyptic series, let’s take it back right to the start in Season 1 and 2 when the virus that ravaged humanity was a catalyst in how the end of the world unfolded. Matriarch Madison (Kim Dickens) promises to look after her family at all costs, including dragging son Nick (Frank Dillane) and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) through a battle where the US-Mexico border has virtually disintegrated.
Each family sees the demise of humanity through their own fractured eyes, with their own moody motivations that see them fighting to survive in a seriously delineated time.
Episode 1 opens with Madison being dragged into a military holding facility with her daughter, demanding answers but playing along with the “processing” justification that the troops have for questioning a restless Travis (Cliff Curtis). Nick sits tight with a deteriorating girlfriend, and the soldiers mock and taunt their prisoners of a weary war as they show signs of “resurrecting” in the most unholy way.
Much of the tension simmers in the waiting, questioning periods and we’ve certainly seen a change from the sparse landscape to the claustrophobic interior that clusters together desperate individuals with questionable moral compasses. Life and death hangs by the balance, and mercy is shown sparingly. Life, and the power that humans hold over one another in desperado situations is examined as the layers are peeled away. Blood (and gore) is thicker than water, but not even family ties can hold them together.
Episode 2 similarly begins with the escape from the holding facility, with a similar premise of instant tragedy and separation. The dead with a capital D are closing in, but there is still the painful hesitation of those remaining survivors who challenge what is left of authority while equally trying to keep order within their own units. Fans of The Walking Dead are gorified with enough gruesome body snatches in this episode, after having teased it out in the premiere.
Jumping to another timeline may feel jarring at times, and this new take on a familiar zombie fable may pull on the rags of the show it is based on, but there is another intrigue in the characters to allay the stunted pace.
We will be aiming for the jugular for the next episodes for sure.
Tune in Mondays @ 7.30pm AEST on FX Channel on Foxtel Express from US.