We are officially four episodes in after the "Fear the Walking Dead" midseason break, and the show remains as lifeless as ever. Although the series is technically a spin-off of AMC's zombie apocalypse megahit, "The Walking Dead," it much of the time has felt more like a poorly executed derivative with its meandering plotlines, hard to like characters, and most importantly, lack of zombies. Unfortunately, none of that has seemed to have changed as we continue to follow Madison, Nick and the gang after the midseason bombshell (or lack thereof).

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That saw Nick murdering "Jeremiah Otto" to save the Otto ranch from a war over water rights with a Hopi tribe at the neighboring "Black Hat Reservation."

In Brother's Keeper, they seem to have remembered the show is about zombies

After last Sunday's episode, "Brother’s Keeper," it's plain to see that for the second half of this season, a deviation from the predictable and ho-hum trajectory set by the first half is unlikely. The first eight episodes before the break spent the majority of the time attempting to build dramatic tension surrounding the real intentions of the ultimately deceitful Jeremiah, the fate of the Otto ranch at large, and the brooding war with the Hopi.

We find ourselves now several weeks past the big midseason resolve, and absolutely nothing has changed. Sure, we finally got a much-needed injection of zombies in the form of “the horde” but compared to similar instances in "The Walking Dead," the entire affair lacked tension and was visually unimpressive.

Besides for the horde, things pretty much feel the same. The Hopi have joined the community at the ranch but are internally still very much at war.

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Jeremiah's son, Troy has assumed the mantle of the Otto family member currently attempting to sabotage the ranch, and we find Madison on another all-or-nothing mission to yet again use her newly found tough as nails persona to overcome any and all odds to save everyone. Honestly, the series is more and more reminding me of the zombies stuck in the fence on the edge of the ranch. Things are happening in the plot, but the story at large continues to feel like it is going nowhere.

Where did the show go wrong?

When looking back at the last three seasons, I'm not wholly convinced FTWD ever went right, but I will say this, it does its job. Even though FTWD just hit all-time ratings low after the midseason return, and has seen a drop in viewership over the last two years of more than 50%, it remains one of AMC's highest earners. There is also the point that - and let's be honest - FTWD has always been about giving the millions of The Walking Dead junkies out there their off-season zombie fix.

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Regardless of the series’ lack of focus and appeal, it’s safe to assume that as long as FTWD continues to fulfill its figurative band-aid role while maintaining profitability, it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

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