‘Fear The Walking Dead’: A Main Character Says Goodbye…Probably (RECAP)
Season 7 • Episode 6
Well, at least Al (Maggie Grace) isn’t dead.
But in “Reclamation,” it’s rather clear that despite not being bitten by a walker, shot by a child or trapped in a stadium full of gasoline-soaked undead, the intrepid journalist’s time on Fear has come to a close. She is, however, one of the rare characters in the franchise to get what some might call a happy ending — although really, it’s more bittersweet.
The basic plot of the episode revolves around Al’s continued obsession with telling people’s stories. If you recall, her ironclad determination to video interview everyone with whom she came into contact was born of her brother’s untimely death; she couldn’t be there for him when he died because she was out on a story, and in the aftermath, she decided that she had to keep telling stories to make his death meaningful. That’s all fine and good, if you can have a balance of living (well, as much as you can in the nuclear zombie apocalypse) and “working.” But as Morgan (Lennie James) points out, Al can’t find that balance.
She left the rest of her group to scoot around Texas in her tank; but Morgan, who has an incredible ability to locate anyone and everyone in his group, finds her and asks her to come back. She won’t, not only because she’s chasing stories, but because she wants to make sure Isabelle (Sydney Lemmon) is safe. CRM “reclamation teams” keep coming after her, knowing she went against their code to save Al and her friends when the nukes hit. Their intent is to kill her so she can’t spill any secrets. They don’t know she’s already gone to a cabin in Colorado to hide from the CRM — but Al does.
Al already knows more than she should about CRM, but she refuses to tell Morgan or Grace (Karen David) — who Morgan brings with him — anything, saying it’s “safer for them” that way. Morgan’s frustratingly insistent about it, trying to guilt-trip her into talking, and that’s where things start to go off the rails. A pair of CRM soldiers are scouring the area for Isabelle, and Morgan and Grace have a run-in with them that they barely survive; Al, realizing Isabelle won’t be safe unless they kill the soldiers, rigs a trap for the black-clothed baddies. Together, she, Grace and Morgan lure them to it and blow them to smithereens. (Gotta suspend a little disbelief with the whole cannon thing, especially when a walker manages not to trigger the trap.)
In the aftermath, Al’s still determined not to go back to the group, saying she has to keep telling stories. Morgan won’t take no for an answer, so he asks to interview her — just as she had once done for him, back in Season 4. He uses that interview as a way to make her feel badly about her decision to choose journalism over Isabelle (Morgan is kind of manipulative in this episode, not gonna lie), and finally, she breaks down. She says she can’t give everything up the way that Isabelle did, and she shouldn’t have “let [herself] become part of the story.”
In the end, however, after a final meeting with Morgan, she changes her mind. Using the CRM helicopter left behind (Uhh, I don’t remember Al taking flight lessons), she flies to the cabin and reunites with Isabelle. Together, they make plans to evade CRM for as long as they can together. Al smashes her camera, signaling that her storytelling days are done. She’s with the woman she loves. And with that, it seems we’ve seen the last of Althea Szewczyk-Przygocki.
- When I said I was excited for the Al episode, this isn’t what I meant! I had hoped for more CRM info or even flashbacks to explain what happened with Isabelle and the group; not only did we not get that, but Al’s also leaving the show (presumably). It’s unfortunate that two of the longest-standing crossover characters are now gone: Al and John (Garret Dillahunt) were first introduced with Morgan back in Season 4.
- I am happy, however, that Al wasn’t killed off. I can suspend a little disbelief about the helicopter-flying thing, because sometimes it’s nice to see a character get a happy ending instead of dying or being written out in ways that pose questions that linger for several seasons. If we never see Al again, I think this was a satisfying conclusion to her story.
- And yes, I do think Al is done. Between Maggie Grace being listed as a “guest star” for this season where her name was previously in the opening credits and all the pointed callbacks in this episode — the cup of noodles, the way Morgan was referencing what happened the first time they met, even seeing Al back in the tank — I’m pretty sure that although nothing was confirmed at the time of this writing, we won’t be seeing her again. Not on this show, anyway.
- Did anyone else think the use of the video camera was cheesy? I wasn’t fond of it when they leaned on it in previous seasons, and I wasn’t fond of it here. It seemed implausible to me that Al would’ve had the camera on in all of those moments. Plus, wouldn’t she have wanted to have video of Isabelle, if she truly believed she wouldn’t see her again? Why was it always Isabelle holding the camera?
- The CRM plot here didn’t make a ton of sense, but I’m willing to let it slide because at its core, this episode wasn’t about CRM. We’ve got World Beyond for that — which has gotten much better in its sophomore season. If you dropped it in Season 1, it might be worth picking it back up again.
- Rating: 3/5. Sad to say goodbye to Al, but a decent conclusion to her time on Fear — if she’s really gone.
Fear The Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC