TV On DVD: Fear the Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season [Blu-Ray/Digital]

After suffering a major identity crisis for the last three seasons, “Fear the Walking Dead” finally finds it footing. By throwing everything it’s established out and keeping only a few main characters here and there. What began as an urban retelling of the zombie apocalypse involving two families, the Manawas and the Clarks, is now really nothing more an immigration allegory with characters basically bumping back and forth. “Fear the Walking Dead” managed to have the opportunity to really unfold an epic tale of a mixed race family, and how they learned to get along with get to know each other. Their mixed and uneasy union would have to be tested. Except, all we get is a lot of goofy switches of the premise, and wastes of some good characters.

The Salazars are tucked away, the Manawas are pretty much all but gone by the time season three continues, and the Clarks remain the primary brood, all of whom have to stick together through less than clean methods. Madison is especially tasked with making good with a wealthy rancher who, with his two sons, are smack dab in the middle of a land war with a vicious and vengeful tribe of Native Americans. Not only do they have their eyes set on taking back their land, but they’re finding new ways to infiltrate the farm, including weaponizing the walking dead. Meanwhile, Strand walks in to another war occurring across the country as a group has seized the last water, now contained within a dam.

“Fear the Walking Dead” is pretty dull until the final half where the stakes are raised and the cast is thinned down considerably. Season three is apparently where the entire crew has pressed the rest button, and it shows with less an emphases on gimmicks and multiple settings, and now has slimmed itself down blowing the whole kit and caboodle to the ground. “Fear the Walking Dead” hasn’t cemented its stance like the original series has, but again, it does get very good by the second half, when character Alicia finds herself stuck in a bunker with fellow survivors during a zombie raid. Things go from bad to worse when the group within realize something is blocking the air vents and that their oxygen is slowly running out.

From there “Fear the Walking Dead” takes a pretty steep dramatic upswing with strong turns by the remaining cast, a lot more genuinely entertaining episodes, and an ambiguous finale that literally leaves things in the air. If the show continues this track it may finally run as an extension of the original series rather than as an unfocused and under developed drama morally confused characters.

There’s an audio commentary for “Eye of the Beholder with Creator/Writer/Executive Producer Dave Erickson, Co-Executive Producer/Director Andrew Bernstein, and Actor Kim Dickens, an audio commentary for “Children of Wrath” with Co-Creator/Writer/Executive Producer Dave Erickson, Co-Executive Producer/Director Andrew Bernstein, Writer Jami O’Brien and Actors Kim Dickens and Dayton Callie, and finally on disc four there’s an audio commentary for “Sleigh Ride” with co-Creator/Writer/Executive Producer Dave Erickson, Co-Executive Producer/Director Andrew Bernstein, Kim Dickens and Colman Domingo for “Sleigh Ride.” There are also a slew of extended and deleted scenes for episodes 1-5, episode 7, episode 11, episode 13, and episode 14.