Fear The Walking Dead season 6 takes a Carl Grimes idea from the main show – and does a much better job with it. When trailers aired for The Walking Dead season 8, by far the biggest area of fan discussion was Old Man Rick. In what appeared to be a flashforward sequence set after the time jump from the original comic book, a visibly older, graying Rick walks with a cane. The season premiere expanded on these curious scenes, depicting Rick, Michonne, Carl and Judith living happily in Alexandria, now is a flourishing community. All the local settlements are living happily together, and even Negan’s there.
The true nature of these idyllic glimpses into The Walking Dead‘s future was revealed later in the season. On his deathbed, Carl Grimes describes a “dream” to his father. As Carl’s perfect vision for Alexandria is explained, it becomes clear that the flashforward scenes from the trailer and premiere were a fabrication of Carl’s hopes and wishes. During his final battle with Negan, Rick finally “sees” the future Carl did, and is inspired to show mercy on the Saviors.
Fear The Walking Dead season 6 borrowed the same idea in latest episode, “In Dreams.” Suffering injuries and entering labor, Grace is unconscious while Morgan gets her to safety. In Grace’s mind, however, she awakens approximately 16 years into the future, meeting an older, white-haired Morgan. The community in the valley is thriving and Dwight and Sherry are back together, while Daniel and Strand are apparently now the two old guys from The Muppets. Crucially, Grace meets her unborn daughter as a teenager – a healthy and precocious youngster with her mother’s kindness and Morgan’s affinity for putting zombies on their backsides with a big stick. The vision convinces Grace of Morgan’s future plans, assures her that the newborn baby will be fine, and helps the character accept impending death. Tragically, it’s the child who doesn’t make it.
Fear The Walking Dead‘s Grace dream is executed considerably better than The Walking Dead‘s Carl sequence, not least because the more recent effort offers the audience proper resolution. Despite featuring prominently in marketing, Carl’s vision was just a cursory glance at the future he hoped for. The Grimes family and a select few others are seen living happily, but details are frustratingly vague. Grace’s reverie fixes that mistake, revealing potential endings for various major characters. Morgan is the leader he always hoped to be, June is a doctor with Charlie as her apprentice, Strand and Daniel are the aforementioned Muppet pals, while Dwight and Sherry finally settle their differences. Viewers know this sequence isn’t real (and the episode’s ending hammers that point home in brutal terms), but unlike The Walking Dead season 8, Grace’s dream embraces on the “idyllic future” premise wholeheartedly, rather than just dipping a toe in.
Grace’s dream has purpose in a way Carl’s did not. The Walking Dead used Carl’s future as justification for Rick’s refusal to kill Negan, tying into the youngster’s controversial death. Many fans consider the whole ordeal an unnecessary deviation from the comics (where Carl survives, and Rick still spares Negan), and the flashforward was just one element of a muddled, contrived attempt to get Chandler Riggs off The Walking Dead. On the other hand, Grace’s dream serves as a heartfelt meeting between mother and daughter. The final scene of “In Dreams” is a harrowing moment that needed an emotional backbone to do justice. Grace’s dreamscape provides the means to explore the bond between mother and daughter, before the episode’s final, cruel twist plays out.
Some might argue that the interplay between Grace’s unconscious vision and the real world veers too much into Inception territory to sit comfortably in The Walking Dead‘s horror-based universe. At least Fear The Walking Dead was honest and up-front about the nature of its flashforward though. The Walking Dead made the scant few minutes of Carl’s vision look vital to the season 8 narrative, despite the scenes proving largely inconsequential. Not only does the spinoff dedicate an entire episode to Grace’s dream, but the audience learns the true nature of the futuristic scenes after half an episode, not half a season.