At long last, the return of one of cable’s most popular dramas is about to debut its second season on AMC. After a shocking ending to its first run of six episodes, “Fear the Walking Dead” will return to finally address the many questions it left behind.
The series last finished in October 2015, and as a result many may have forgotten the finer details of where the drama left off. To help make sure no diehard zombie fans find him or herself left in the dark when “Fear the Walking Dead” premieres on Sunday, here are the broad strokes of what you need to know.
The final episode opened in a very different setting than we’ll find our intrepid heroes in Season 2 — a small suburban neighborhood. Most of the first six episodes dealt with the military’s initial response to the outbreak in Los Angeles. Madison (Kim Dickens) and Travis (Cliff Curtis) learned that their home was right in the middle of a quarantine zone that the National Guard was using as a base of operations in the city. However, when it became clear that the military establishment was losing its foothold, they started to round people up to execute its “Cobalt” strategy.
Thanks to Daniel Salazar (Ruben Blades) and his ability to torture information out of Andrew Adams (Shawn Hatosy), a National Guard soldier that his daughter had befriended, he learned that “Cobalt” is a fancy way of saying that the military has abandoned L.A. and will humanely terminate all non-military personnel in the area. This posed a problem given the soldiers had previously captured Salazar’s wife Griselda (Patricia Reyes Spíndola) and Madison’s son Nick (Frank Dillane) and brought them to a different containment outpost. With just hours to go before the military starts to fry L.A. they launch a daring rescue scheme.
Previously, Salazar had found a stadium filled with people that the National Guard couldn’t save. Instead, they simply locked them inside and hoped they wouldn’t get out. To cover their infiltration of the base, the group releases all the walkers and pretty much brings down the entire National Guard presence in the city. They break into where the hostages are being held, but don’t find Nick or Griselda.
It turns out that Nick had launched an escape attempt of his own with the help of his mysterious new friend, Victor Strand (Colman Domingo). The well-dressed and clearly wealthy man managed to snag a key to the cell that he would use at the right time. It turns out that the guards all being occupied with the zombie threat outside was the perfect time. While they were leaving, the others in the cells next to theirs begged to be let out, but Strand refused, acknowledging that they could hurt his and Nick’s chance for escape.
Eventually they all link up and Daniel learns that his wife died from the fever. Madison reveals their plans to retreat to the desert to ride out the apocalypse to Strand, but the mysterious man convinces her that he’s already got supplies at his house on the water. As they’re getting ready to leave, Adams returns with a gun after Travis defied Salazar and let him go. The vengeful torture victim shoots Daniel’s daughter Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) in the shoulder, forcing Travis to tackle him and punch him in the face a whopping 27 times.
With the road clear, except for a few walkers meandering about the freeway, they find their way to Strand’s place only to discover that it’s less of a home and more a luxury mansion packed with amenities. He shows Nick his expensive-looking yacht off the shoreline and sets the stage for Season 2 — survival on the water.
In danger of letting the first season end on a high note, the show shifts its tone from hopeful to sad by revealing that Travis’ ex-wife, Liza (Elizabeth Rodriguez), was bitten during their escape from the outpost. She’s a nurse who had been working on containing the outbreak all season, so she knows that there’s nothing they can do to help her. She asks Madison to kill her before the fever takes her and she turns, saying that if her ex or her son, Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie), tried to do it, it would break them.
Unfortunately for her, Travis comes down the cliff side at the exact wrong moment and Madison and Liza are forced to reveal what they’re talking about. The season ended with the group discovering that Travis executed his ex and Strand making preparations for them to join him on his yacht for a yet unknown location.
Luckily for fans eager to catch the premiere of “Fear the Walking Dead” Season 2, Dickens previously told The Independent that the premiere will pick up right where the Season 1 finale left off, with the group mourning the loss of Liza and trying desperately to leave Strand’s mansion before the Cobalt strategy wipes its way through the city. With eight survivors left of the original group, only time will tell what horrors await them both on land and at sea as they pile into Abigail to ride out Season 2.
Those interested in catching up on "Fear the Walking Dead" Season 1 ahead of Sunday's premiere at 9 p.m. EDT can stream it on Hulu or purchase it on iTunes or Amazon Prime.