Fear the Walking Dead just repeated an entire episode from a previous season and pulled it off with the same character that led the original story. Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) was the focus of both Fear the Walking Dead stories. This time around, she was paired with Paul, a brand-new character.
For the midseason premiere, Alicia took the spotlight for the second time this season. After being separated from the rest of her group, Alicia found herself on the run from Arno and in the company of Paul, a deaf musician surviving alone in the zombie apocalypse. Fear the Walking Dead season 7, episode 9, titled “Follow Me”, put Alicia – and in turn, Paul – in Arno’s crosshairs. For a while, there was a sense that Alicia and Paul’s team-up would culminate in the latter becoming the latest addition to Morgan’s group. However, it was not to be. Though he had an opportunity to join them, Paul ended up giving his life to ensure Alicia’s survival.
What she went through with Paul and Arno in “Follow Me” should have felt like a familiar situation to Alicia, especially since it was basically a repeat of a season 6 episode. In “Damage from the Inside”, Alicia and Charlie were looking for Dakota and trying to flee the Pioneers when they took shelter in the home of a troubled taxidermist named Ed. Ed took a liking to the characters and even went as far to keep them from leaving. Similar to Paul in “Follow Me”, Ed used loud music to call a zombie horde, believing that it would keep them safe from Virginia’s people. At the end of the episode, Ed sacrificed himself to the zombies so that they could escape.
In more than one way, “Follow Me” felt like a retelling of Alicia’s experience with Ed in Fear the Walking Dead season 6. After all, the circumstances of both meetings were largely the same, as both events involved Alicia hiding out from her enemies. Plus, they both dealt with Alicia meeting and befriending a lonely survivor who lost his family. The use of the music in the episode’s ending and Paul’s tragic death at the hands of Arno only deepened the comparisons.
There were some differences between the two episodes of course, such as Alicia choosing to help Paul, as well as the fact that the loud music was part of an agreed-upon plan to beat Arno. But ultimately, both episodes offered the same journeys for Alicia, complete with the same, sad endings for her new friends. With Fear the Walking Dead inexplicably deciding to tell two nearly identical stories – and with Alicia both times, no less – Paul’s untimely demise wasn’t a big surprise.