Fear the Walking Dead's sixth season will shortly resume after a six-month break and while star Lennie James has promised "fantastic storytelling" from the show's first episode back, he's also warned fans that it's "utterly heartbreaking".
In fact, the actor - who plays Morgan Jones - even admitted to RadioTimes.com that he initially struggled to come to terms with how the season's eighth episode, 'The Door', plays out.
"The fact that, after all this time - and there are now two spin-offs from the original show - that we're still able to come up with episodes and stories and moments that rip at the audience and surprise the audience in the way that happens in that episode... it is a real testament to the storytellers that we have," said James.
"But if there was any time where I've fought and argued with everybody involved to make the outcome something different, then it was in this situation."
The sixth season, which aired its first seven episodes late last year, picked up with Morgan having barely survived an encounter with Virginia (Colby Minifie), leader of the Pioneers. Now, Morgan has Virginia in his sights and, James says, their rivalry "in these episodes is going to reach a climax, but it's not necessarily the climax that people might be expecting."
Looking ahead to the rest of the season, James also promised an episode that is "like no other no other episode that [the show has] ever done before", as well as a season finale "that has great big balls."
"Andrew [Chambliss] and Ian [Goldberg], our showrunners, have really exercised their storytelling muscles this season and they've done deep dives into characters, but they've also taken risks with how we're telling the story," he said. "There's one episode that tells the story in a way that we've never told it before, that explores a relationship, explores a loss, explores a love story, explores time, explores perception, explores choice. I am very proud of of that episode.
"And again, in the finale we're playing with time. There's a sense in the finale that the whole thing is told on a held breath, we just stop the clock and explore a moment. It's not days, it's not weeks, it's a moment. And we explore that moment from the perspective of almost all of our characters. And it's really ballsy. It's a really ballsy premise. And it's really ballsy storytelling."
The second episode of season six, 'Welcome to the Club', marked James' TV directing debut and received positive reviews from critics – and while he revealed that it was "very difficult" to get the job done while filming under COVID restrictions, James confirmed plans to return to the director's chair for Fear's already-confirmed seventh season.
"With the COVID restrictions, there is a big separation between the prep team and the shooting team – the crossover has to be kept at an absolute minimum," he explained. "So it's been difficult and too much of a risk to go between one or the other. But I will be directing another episode in the seventh season."