AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 11: “The Code”
Directed by Tara Nicole Weyr
Written by Andrew Chambliss & Alex Delyle
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Close Your Eyes” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Weak” – click here
We get back to Morgan (Lennie James) on the road by himself. He looks for his friends, as well as shelter from the storm overhead. He finds a spot to hole up a while, until the weather breaks. Next day, things are okay outside. This is when he discovers he’s in Mississippi— news to him. Took a little truck ride, apparently. First thing he does is head out to scavenge any supplies around the area.
In a market, Morgan finds a bunch of radios. Then a voice comes over them: “Do you copy? Over.” The woman on the other end asks who’s speaking, so he tells her his short story. She’s part of the people who left the box he found – the same one Al (Maggie Grace) and June (Jenna Elfman) came across on the road. Quite the interesting moment. Whatever group this woman’s from, they’ve got outposts in several regions. Decent supplies, as well. Like good coffee, bottled water, and even a bathroom that isn’t a festering shithole of germs. There’s actually running water, a place to properly shit. Score!
Except the party’s over when Morgan hears a gun cock. He finds a man in a wheelchair on the other side with a shotgun, who’s not happy about the handicap stall being occupied. The guy’s name is Wendell (Daryl Mitchell). He’s surprised about Morgan talking to someone over the radio. Soon, he meets Sarah (Mo Collins). This team’s “living on the fringes” to “keep on truckin‘.” Y’know, for the good of humankind. They follow “the code“: help people who need helping. Regardless of all that, Morgan is worried for his friends post-hurricane, so instead of heading for Virginia, he’s going to loop back to try finding them.
Along the way he sees only death and devastation. Walkers everywhere, as usual. He can’t help but imagine his friends like that— dead and lost on the road someplace. On the radio, Morgan calls back to Wendell and Sarah, asking which “roads are clear.” He says he can’t get past the bridge. He wants to give up and head for Virginia after all, too scared to face what may lie ahead.
On the highway, Morgan stops to get his bearings. He hears a man screaming in a nearby field with his hands tied behind his back and a hood over his head. He falls in the middle of several walkers, but Morgan comes to his aid, killing the walkers and removing his hood. Meet Jim (Aaron Stanford)— he was nearly kidnapped for “recipes.” He brews beer in the post-zombie apocalypse. He wrongly calls it the “staff of life,” though I guess there’s yeast, so, not far off. Basically, this dude’s a craft beer brewer, a hipster in the undead wasteland.
Eventually Morgan and Jim find Wendell and Sarah. When Jim hears the woman’s voice he’s scared. Looks like he’s brought right back to the people who wanted to kidnap him. Wendell and Sarah aren’t who they pretend to be— they stole the truck from the man who leaves those boxes. Nasty business. This pair’s not into philanthropy. Worse, they want to know about Virginia, seeing as how it’s a proper operation like Morgan talked about. Not a good situation. Our man remains silent, unafraid of being at gunpoint after everything he’s seen and done. Doesn’t matter ’cause they’re heading for Virginia even without the full directions.
“You can’t protect what’s yours— it ain’t yours.”
Whereas Morgan won’t work with their captors, Jim would throw in the towel. The younger man talks about before the apocalypse, lamenting a “multi–national conglomerate” buying up his tiny brewery. He was headed for big money, then the world collapsed. In all this suffering, he’s trying to find fame. “History is built on beer,” he says, feeling optimistic about brewing in the wasteland. What a maniac. He does have a point about beer’s important, because it did play a prominent role in early societies. Still a fucking loon, though.
A clumsy situation puts Morgan in the way of a walker horde, and being tied up doesn’t help. He gets himself on top of a car for safety. But then he’s stuck, unless he gives his captors the directions to Virginia. He gives up half the directions, promising the other half when they arrive. Not good enough, Sarah tells him. It pushes him to reveal the whole set of directions. Rather than help, the other three decide they’ll leave. Oh, shit.
That night, Morgan tries calling to them again over the radio. He admits he could’ve “crossed that bridge.” He chose to turn around because he believes himself “a coward.” We know this isn’t true, it’s him being terribly hard on himself. As he always says, he gets close to people, then bad things happen to them. He uses this as an excuse to isolate himself. And he then urges the truck not to come back for him.
One thing Morgan does not do is totally give up. He tries to find a way free of his situation. He jumps from the car, trying to make up a hill. However, he slips down towards the walkers. It takes all he has to survive, so he fights with his life, finding a road sign to stand in for his stick. Bad ass motherfucker. Using the sign, he fights his way out back to the road, in the process confirming the good people of the world are doing good for a reason.
On the road, Morgan comes upon the truck again. He gave them the wrong directions evidently. He refuses to give them the right ones unless they’ll take him and others to Virginia. Looks like there could be a tentative agreement. At least for a while. Not only that, Morgan makes them put the boxes back along the signs. He also wants to find the owner of the truck again.
Well, someone hears him over the radio. It’s a woman, with a pet zombie named Pervis stuck to her wall. She’s listening to all the info Morgan’s giving out. That looks like bad fucking news to Father Gore. So, so creepy. She writes the message from those boxes on Pervis’s face. Now, they’re “headed for Texas,” too.
A fantastic episode! Loved the new characters showing up. Most of all, I love when an episode focuses on Morgan. He’s an amazing character, who crossed over from The Walking Dead perfectly well.
“Weak” is next time.