Fear the Walking Dead season 6 fully embraces its Western theme

Fear the Walking Dead has flirted with Western elements before, but season 6 is completely Western in tone and scope, and it works, turning out the show’s best season in a while.

Ever since Fear the Walking Dead started peppering itself with Western elements, it’s been finding its stride. With its new direct, simplified theme, the introduction of sharp-shooter John Dorrie (Garret Dillahunt), and most recently, the entry of Virginia (Colby Minifie) and her horse-trotting, cowboy-hat wearing posse, Fear the Walking Dead has managed to differentiate itself from the original series, The Walking Dead.

But if the last season seemed a bit meandering, FTWD is back with a vengeance in season six, fully embodying a Western. The result is the series’ strongest season yet.

There are perhaps a few episodes from past seasons that rival season six (season four’s “Laura,” being one of them), but this is the first time that an entire season (at least the first three episodes that I screened so far) has such a rich, consistent tone. It’s clear that the series made the right decision to incorporate the Western theme seasons ago. That decision now pays off in dividends as we brace for the sixth one.

The premiere episode of season six picks up Morgan Jones’ (Lennie James) storyline in the most awesome manner. Left for the dead by Virginia, Morgan’s in bad shape at the outset of “The End Is the Beginning.” This chapter showcases Lennie James’s acting chops yet again, similar to the tour-de-force performances James put in for The Walking Dead’s “Clear” and “Here’s Not Here.” James does so much with so little, and when he says the words “I’m still here,” he speaks volumes.

The first episode of the season sets the tone for a superior season with a thrilling cat-and-mouse chase that is reminiscent of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Don’t get me wrong, however: “The End Is the Beginning” stands all on its own and is one of the better episodes that Fear the Walking Dead has ever produced. By the time you get to the suspenseful conclusion, it will leave you riveted.

What follows are episodes that feel both spare and filling all at the same time. It’s clear in season six that Fear the Walking Dead has found its winning formula. The series oozes confidence and is now the superior of the three TWD shows currently in circulation on AMC. Having a clear enemy helps, and as Virginia the fascist Western dictator, Colbie Minifie (so excellent on The Boys) fits the bill perfectly.

Minifie also told Decider in an interview that she has a “great bit” with Dillahunt’s John Dorrie later in the season. That should prove fascinating.

Next: 6 things to expect from Fear the Walking Dead season 6

How excited are you to get back into this series? What are your theories on what happened to Morgan in the interim? Will June and John be able to get back to each other again?