Morgan Has a No Good, Very Bad Day on ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Fear The Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 9, “Channel 4.”]
Fear The Walking Dead has a whole new look… well, for one episode, at least.
In the tradition of The Office, Parks and Recreation and other documentary-style shows, “Channel 4” uses the ol’ “talking heads” and found footage techniques to explore a day in the life of Morgan (Lennie James) and his pals.
Another time jump has occurred, and it seems like everyone’s found some measure of peace. They explain how they’re assigned to different positions in their new convoy and how successful they’ve been in finding people. Sarah (Mo Collins) mentions that they ditched Logan (Matt Frewer) after it became clear he still just wanted the gas for himself, but it’s safe to say that’s not the last they’ll be seeing of him…
An Explosive Situation
Most of the episode revolves around Morgan trying to help a woman in a house with her son. She’s waiting for her husband to bring an inhaler for the kid, but she refuses to go outside. It’s soon clear why—her husband implanted land mines around the house, so, as she explains it, “no one could get close.” Walkers slip through her fence and start setting off the bombs, and while Morgan, Luciana (Danay Garcia), John (Garret Dillahunt) and Althea (Maggie Grace) keep in communication with the woman, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), Strand (Colman Domingo) and June (Jenna Elfman) go out in search of her husband and an inhaler.
Aside: I need to quickly vent about this plot point. This woman hadn’t left the house in years, so presumably, the mines have also been there that long. In two years, they’ve never had walkers go through the fence and set off the mines? This is also silly because it creates some huge challenges when they need to make runs for supplies, and it blocks off escape routes.
June searches a department store for the life-saving medicine, but they find the shelves empty. “He’s already been here,” June tells Morgan. Elsewhere, Alicia finds a tree painted with the saying “if you’re reading this, you’re still here,” which reminds her of her mom. She and Strand encounter a walker with a backpack. Inside that backpack they find an inhaler, and they realize the dead man is the woman’s husband.
Morgan sprints through the fence, which ends up with him standing on a land mine. When the others get back, that’s where they find him. They break the news to the woman that her husband isn’t coming back and tell her they have the inhaler. Their kindness prompts her to leave the house for the first time in years, and she saves Morgan’s life.
The whole group goes back to the campground convoy, and all is well. Grace makes a pad thai recipe she’d been wanting to try since the beginning of the apocalypse. Alicia resolves to find whoever’s writing on the trees. Morgan resolves to find a way to say goodbye to his wife and son, because his grief and guilt nearly got him killed. Suddenly, all the characters look into the camera and prompt the audience to reach out. The camera zooms out slowly, and it’s revealed the entire episode has been “found footage” a man is watching.
More Enemies than Friends
The man turns on a radio, as if to call them, but he shakes his head and shoves it in his bag. He then goes outside and starts to fuel his motorcycle, but he’s stopped when a few cars pull up. Logan and his crew emerge from the vehicles. It appears Morgan’s group ditched them, and they’re out for revenge.
They decimate the man’s motorcycle and steal his gas, firing dozens of shots into every part of the bike. Logan then throws the man a walkie and tells him to call Morgan’s group and tell them “they’re making more enemies than friends out here, and we have more bullets than we know what to do with.”
- This entire episode was a lesson on why telling-not-showing doesn’t work. I’m hugely confused by what happened with the oil fields, and Sarah’s forced, “humor”-riddled explanation didn’t help. How did she know Logan wasn’t on their side? What did he do? How does the group have gas now?
- The dialogue was so clunky. We don’t need someone to say “it was loaded for Morgan,” and then follow that revelation with Morgan saying, “it was loaded for me.” We just heard that. We don’t need more of Morgan trying to help someone by using his own experiences as an example: We’ve been hearing that since the beginning of Season 4. I didn’t count, but I can only assume the word “help” was used upwards of 20 times.
- Why would Morgan’s group make tapes when very few people should have working televisions, and those who do certainly don’t need help? Movies were a huge deal on The Walking Dead in Season 9, but on Fear, they’re apparently commonplace. It doesn’t make sense.
- I’m not holding my breath for the tree artist to be Madison. As much as I want Kim Dickens back, her character wouldn’t be painting on trees. She’d be looking for her kids.
- In things I did like about this episode, as some fans have noticed, the costume designer seems to be pulling from Alicia’s family history to inform her character’s wardrobe. In 5A she was wearing a jacket similar to Madison’s, and in this episode she wore a gray jean jacket similar to her mom’s, as well as a tan jacket that looks a whole lot like Nick’s from Season 1. It’s probably intentional, and even if it isn’t, it’s a cool nod to earlier seasons.
Fear the Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC