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Mid-season finale "Shiva" shakes up Fear the Walking Dead, tossing relationships into a scary and unique new climate while setting the stage for a biting cliffhanger.
Given the option to choose the most likely scenarios to keep viewers anxiously awaiting its return, the show runners took the opposite approach.
It's clear the intent of the finale was to shake things up and to inject a spark of conflict into the drama, but maybe the transparency of that intent is why it felt so perfunctory.
Whatever the reason, this hour was scary and creepy in a much different way than TWD, and it was enjoyable.
As respectable as those improvements are, as solid as Fear now is, efforts like "Shiva" remind us that the show's growth spurt isn't over yet-and neither are its growing pains.
This more humane philosophy has been framed by Nick's experiences as a drug addict. As he tells Madison in last season's finale, he feels as if the rest of the world is finally catching up to his own troubled, tumultuous existence.
What transpired basically turned the whole show upside-down, cutting old ties and simultaneously knotting new ones. Plus, one character went full-on Rick Grimes on an adversary.
"Shiva" is a collection of interesting ideas in need of better execution, but its central conceit is strong: How does a family unit survive such a profound, life-threatening crisis?
"Shiva" did well on the Travis/Chris front, and I liked how Madison dealt with Celia, but it seemed to want to serve the endpoint more than the characters.
With its midseason finale, Fear The Walking Dead scatters its "heroes" to the wind. "Shiva" grew on me when I rewatched it, though I'm not sure the execution was on par with its loftier ambitions.
Fear the Walking Dead has settled for merely telling us that Madison and her family are in danger, rather than showing us.
The mid-season finale of Fear the Walking Dead left the Clark-Manawa family broken, fearful and without a home yet again.
The main issue with the second season of "Fear the Walking Dead" is the same issue it had in the first season... Tonight's mid-season finale, "Shiva," worked to start to right that ship.