AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 1: “What’s Your Story?”
Directed by John Polson
Written by Scott M. Gimple, Andrew Chambliss, & Ian B. Goldberg
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 finale, “Sleigh Ride” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Another Day in the Diamond” – click here
A man named John (Garret Dillahunt) reads a book by his truck, then hears a noise nearby. Seems he’s been alone for a while, he hasn’t talked much in ages. He uses the occasion to say a few words just for the sake of it. He offers “strawberries” and a rest by the fire for whoever it may be out there in the dark. He even has a few books, too. John is all but dying for someone to talk to and be around.
Then from the woods comes Morgan Jones (Lennie James). A-ha! Not only do we have new additions to the cast, there’s a slightly reworked bit of theme music for the opener of this episode, as well.
“There ain’t been a lot of nice”
So, we skip to Morgan in the garbage dump where we just saw him on the Season 8 finale of The Walking Dead. He gets a visit from Jesus (Tom Payne), who wants hi to come back and be amongst the community. That’s just not what Morgan wants or needs. He later gets a visit from Carol (Melissa McBride), pleading that he come back to the Kingdom. Later, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) comes with his own pleas. He tells Morgan the world will find its way back to him, one way or another. This sends Morgan back out on the road on his own all over again.
It’s like the beginning again, in a sense. Walking the roads, using any cars found until they run out of gas, the engine dies, or the tires deflate. Along the way, Morgan finds a man in bad shape hiding in a vehicle. He tries to leave the man some First Aid supplies, but the guy doesn’t want them, and tells him to leave. Feels like another sign that Morgan ought to slip into his nihilism. So, he keeps walking.
Then he stumbles onto John Dorie, out there by his lonesome. John offers Morgan a comfy spot to sit for a bite to eat, though the latter’s not overly excited about it, not after from where he’s come, what he’s seen. John asks about a woman with a pistol like his – an ivory gripped piece; seems he’s been looking for her. Either way, he lets Morgan know he can stay the night. This is partly an exercise for Morgan, to see if he can trust people outside of the group he’s known so long, to see if that part of his humanity remains after everything. He doesn’t stay the whole night through, heading off while Mr. Dorie sleeps.
But he’s blindsided after coming across a tent in the trees.
“We’re always on our own”
Morgan wakes to a few men holding him at gunpoint. They’re not as friendly as John back there, they don’t want to let him go so easy. Lucky for our man, Mr. Dorie’s keeping an eye on his back. Except for the fact there are other men with guns around the place, putting both John and Morgan in a nasty spot. Then a SWAT truck pulls in – the driver’s a woman named Althea (Maggie Grace), and she’s a little more friendly than these dudes. She has things to trade, and her truck is also a roaming battleship, rigged with guns.
She gets the pair of new buds out of harm’s way and back on the road. But now Althea tells them: “You guys owe me.” She’s collecting information. She’s a journalist, keeping track of the post-zombie apocalypse. She videotapes John, talking about where he’s been since the fall of society, the woman he’s seeking – Laura – and so on. For his part, Morgan offers canned food; he doesn’t want to be part of a documentary. Afterwards, he’s ready to leave.
Before that happens, Althea’s buddies have caught up with them. Big fucking trouble. You know Morgan won’t go out this way, neither will Althea or John. They turn the tables on the men, though. Morgan takes a bullet in the leg, but not fatal. He gets out of a horde of walkers using a grenade and hiding in the bathtub of a trailer. The only threat left are the zombies, as the men all get killed. So Althea gets to the truck and pumps the undead full of bullets, as Morgan and John take cover beneath them. Looks like these three are sticking together a while longer.
We see the trio get to now one another a tiny bit better. Morgan offers to let Althea tape him. He talks about his life in the post-zombie apocalyptic wasteland. He tells her about the places he was before now – Alexandria, the Kingdom and its “pet tiger,” and all the other things. Eventually Morgan gets sick of it, wanting to get moving. He finally tells Althea he loses himself by losing others, so being alone is, effectively, a way of avoiding that, despite its own downfalls.
And like usual, off Morgan goes, no matter if he’s got a fucked up leg from getting shot.
“Boy, I tell you what. That is some ugly mustard.”
Morgan winds up back at the car from earlier, where he saw the man lying down. Further up the road the man shuffles by himself, likely a zombie himself now. Morgan gets himself in a rough place when he falls in the road, two walkers stumbling towards him. He can’t get hold of his stick again. That’s when Mr. Dorie saves him. Morgan still wants to know if the man up the road is dead. So the two go up to check, finding him undead and putting him down. Morgan insists on digging a grave, too.
Another road trip. They’re going nowhere in particular, just anywhere so John can search for his Laura. Nevertheless, it’s something; a destination, no matter how nebulous.
In the middle of the road a ways off, the new friends come upon a person; a young woman. She’s not doing so well, either. Who is it? It’s Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) out there on her own warning of “bad people.” Well, it’s just a ruse: they’re the bad people. Nick (Frank Dillane), Strand (Colman Domingo), and Luciana (Danay Garcia) are waiting on the roadside, now they’ve got the trio hostage by gun and knife. Wow. The group doesn’t look like they’re doing so hot since last we saw them in Season 3.
This was a killer opener for Season 4! Really switched things up, plus gives us a crossover from The Walking Dead. And it’s all so exciting, to me, anyway. Looking forward to what this season is going to bring. Almost like the characters we’ve known in this series up to this point come off in this initial premiere as the villains, though surely it’ll all work out. Just going to be compelling to watch that happen. Lots of interesting things are poised to go down.
And at this point, the timelines are meeting, so that means Alicia and the others have been out there for about 18 months, give or take, since the finale of Season 3. Because Morgan and The Walking Dead are around that point in the timeline. Very, very interesting.
“Another Day in the Diamond” is next week.