'Fear the Walking Dead' Premiere: Morgan Jones Is Dead, Long Live… Morgan Jones? (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Fear The Walking Dead Season 6 episode 1, “The End is the Beginning.”]
“The past is dead,” Fear The Walking Dead’s various posters, trailers and marketing materials promised viewers throughout the lengthy lead-up to Season 6. And, given the Season 6 premiere, “The End is the Beginning,” it seems that’s partially true, although the show still orbits around one of its biggest themes: helping people.
Here’s what goes down in this Morgan-centric hour.
The show picks up six weeks after the Season 5 finale (because Fear just loves its time jumps), and Morgan (Lennie James), shot at the end of last season, is living in a water tower. Well, “living” might be a stretch—in truth, he’s slowly dying. His condition seems to make him unappetizing to walkers; they repeatedly pass him by as he scavenges for food and hides from Virginia’s (Colby Minifie) rangers.
It’s on one of those outings to a dusty, long-dead city that he meets Isaac, who saw Morgan’s “we’re here to help!” video tape and now, well, wants to help. Morgan, on the other hand, thinks helping everyone is bull crap. He wants to be left alone, but Isaac won’t give up on him and offers to take the bullet out of his wound. That’s not quite out of the kindness of his heart; he needs to get supplies to his pregnant wife, but their home is surrounded. Morgan, with his immunity to the dead, could walk through the horde and deliver the goods to her. Sounds like a plan, right?
Another Dam Horde
Well, it’s not that simple. Morgan’s being hunted by a bounty hunter named Emile (Demitrius Grosse), who—surprise!—is working for Virginia. Throughout the episode, he tracks Isaac and Morgan to any safe haven they find, leveling Morgan’s water tower hideout. In the aftermath of that catastrophe, Morgan and Isaac take the axe-wielding dude’s truck and go back to Isaac’s home, which is nestled on the inside of a dam (how nostalgic does that make you feel, FTWD fans?). Isaac slips up and reveals he knows about Virginia, which makes Morgan suspicious until Isaac clarifies that he was once one of her rangers. After he saw Morgan’s video, he realized there was a better way, and he and his wife took off.
Morgan agrees to help Isaac, but in true Walking Dead fashion, it’s not that easy. The plan goes sideways, and both Morgan and Isaac end up battling the dead. Obviously, they win—wouldn’t be much of an episode otherwise—and they get the supplies to Mrs. Isaac. Hooray!
Morgan’s Mysterious Letter
Later that night, Morgan and Isaac have a heart-to-heart about helping and trying to be better people, during which Morgan again expresses that he’s just not that into being helpful anymore. He also says he doesn’t know who saved him from bleeding out when he was shot; he woke up in the water tower with a note that said he had “more to do.”
Their conversation is interrupted by Emile, who, again, figured out where they were. They battle the guy for a while and then, just as it seems all hope is lost—Morgan’s stick is shattered, after all—Morgan and Isaac get the upper hand. Morgan stabs the dude with the broken end of his stick and then, for good measure, decapitates the bounty hunter with his own axe.
Unfortunately, all is not well, because it turns out Isaac’s been bitten this whole time. He lives long enough to patch Morgan up, but the most Morgan gets to say in terms of a farewell is when he stands by his grave. Bummer. He also abandons his iconic stick for the bounty hunter’s axe, which feels like proof that edgy Mo-Mo is here to stay.
The End is the Beginning
Elsewhere, Virginia waits for Emile to deliver the goods, “the goods” being Morgan’s decapitated head. Instead, when she arrives at the exchange point, she finds Emile’s head in the box. She then gets on her radio and rants to Morgan about how she’ll kill all his friends if he tries to come for them, but he responds, “Morgan Jones is dead” and rides away on horseback, wearing a cowboy hat. Where is everyone finding horses?!
At the end of the episode, we see a duo of hipster-looking guys who earlier had hired Emile; they, too, are waiting for a head in a box that they won’t receive. One of them spray-paints “The End is the Beginning” on a structure, which, when the camera pans out, looks like some kind of beached boat/submarine. So that’s… weird.
- Man, just when Fear gets a legitimately cool post-Morgan-crossover character, they decapitate him and shove his head in a crate. Emile was bad*** without being super corny, and I wish he’d stuck around longer than one episode. This show needs characters like him.
- How was Morgan suddenly immune to the virus? Is it because he was so close to dead that the walkers weren’t interested in him anymore? Was it because his skin was rotting and they saw him as one of their own? CRM should really try and pick up Morgan, because it sure seems like he’s the cure. But sorry, Mo-Mo: walking among the dead was cooler when Nick Clark (Frank Dillane) did it.
- I hoped this was going to be Fear’s version of “30 Days Without An Accident,” which saw Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) go to help a woman and her husband, only to find he was already dead and she was going to kill Rick to “feed” him. Maybe it would’ve been better if Isaac really was going to sell Morgan out to Virginia, and we saw Morgan go back into “Clear-mode.” I miss Clear-mode Morgan. The closest we got to that was his eyes turning red.
- This show plays Calvinball with how long it takes people to turn/show symptoms of the bite. Carl (Chandler Riggs) took around a day to turn on the main series and was showing symptoms long before then, but Isaac seemed just fine several hours after he’d been bitten and was apparently well enough to perform surgery on Morgan with minimal supplies.
- I want to take every single walkie-talkie on this show and stomp it into the ground. The Walking Dead has managed to have a good post-apocalyptic drama while using them sparingly, and I’m tired of Fear relying on them incessantly for exposition and plot reasons. It’s so hard to hear anyone say, “Do you copy?” and keep a straight face.
- So, did Sherry (Christine Evangelista) save Morgan? That doesn’t look like her handwriting.
- All in all, this episode was better than anything Fear has put out in a long time. Does it live up to the pre-Morgan crossover installments? No. I tire of the “let’s help people!” theme. Virginia’s dialogue is… unnatural, to say the least, and there was a good amount of that “we have to live for more” stuff that doesn't mean anything. Isaac and his wife had all the personality and intrigue of cardboard cutouts. But on a show that tried to make beer-shaped hot air balloons happen, this was a step in the right direction.
Fear The Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC