AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 13: “Blackjack”
Directed by Sharat Raju
Written by Ian Goldberg & Richard Naing
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Weak” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “MM 54” – click here
Along the road, June (Jenna Elfman), Morgan (Lennie James), and the others go looking for her buddy Quinn (Charles Harrelson). Al’s (Maggie Grace) mostly concerned for her SWAT vehicle. Everybody stops around mile marker 21 to have a peek. Sarah (Mo Collins) and Wendell (Daryl Mitchell) are still busy concerning themselves with the beer man, Jim (Aaron Stanford), and doing their best to “stir the beef” a.k.a kill zombies. Then they discover the writing on the walker’s face, a sign of the filthy woman (Tonya Pinkins), though they don’t know this yet— only that some “sicko shitto” is out there.
Over the radio, they get the sounds of zombie Quinn. The woman responds to them, confirming she’s killed Quinn. Her voice is recognised by Morgan, who heard her once across the airwaves. He also met her on the roadside. The woman tells him not to leave boxes by the road anymore because they make others “weak.” She says she knows lots about him. What’s happened to this woman? What’s her story? Father Gore can’t wait to discover more about her, one way or another.
John (Garret Dillahunt) and Strand (Colman Domingo) are still together, after the storm’s destruction. The former’s building a raft while the latter has been reading a little Herman Melville. John is planning to go by raft, but Victor’s not interested, despite the fact the water’s risen and they’ve got no real way out. Mr. Dorie does his best to convince him, though it doesn’t do much. Strand has no faith left. The raft doesn’t float, plus there’s a “reptilian friend” swimming around out there.
At a public library, Luciana (Danay Garcia) goes searching for young Charlie, finding nobody except walkers. Until stumbling onto a badly injured, bleeding man named Clayton (Stephen Henderson) stuck in his car outside. She refuses to believe she can’t help as he tells her it’s a lost cause. She wants to find redemption, but he might be on his way out no matter what she does. All she can do? Try finding him “one last beer.”
After the creepy lady mentions things about Morgan the other new people in the group begin getting curious about him. This starts some paranoia and a bit of tension. That is, until Morgan makes clear he can just move on without them, considering Al’s a proper hand behind the wheel of a big truck. This keeps them at an advantage.
At mile marker 74, the truck crew stop with another box. Sarah and Wendell talk about how this is where they stole the truck from the man who’d been delivering the boxes originally. No telling if the guy is alive, or if he ended up as one of the crazy lady’s pet walkers.
While attempting to get a truck down from a nearby cliff, Victor risks his life for a bottle of booze, reaching inside the cab where a zombie sits strapped in with a seat belt. Luckily he makes it out alive after the truck goes tumbling into the lake. John chastises him for acting stupid simply to “tie one on.” Strand doesn’t see it that way, though, in all fairness, he’s an alcoholic. He heads off to get hammered, leaving Mr. Dorie to do some work on his own to try making himself a better raft. Afterwards, he convinces his friend to have faith in a way forward, a future.
Luciana can’t find a beer, feeling like a failure. This prompts Clayton to tell her a story over the walkie, about “when the world changed.” Before, he wanted to be alone, so he went away from everyone. Then post-apocalypse life came around, and he wasn’t able to help those he loved because he’d run off. He urges Luciana not to give up— just because you can’t save one person doesn’t mean you can’t save anybody. Not long later she comes to the box the others left, along with one of Jim’s beers inside. This allows her a tiny slice of redemption for not being able to help Nick while he was dying. She even used an ice pack to keep the bottle cold for Clayton. In return, he offers notebooks with locations to places he “left supplies.” This is the man who drove the truck, leaving the boxes. Season 4’s had so much compelling storyline and this has been one of my favourite portions.
John hooks up the truck battery to get the horn blaring. This draws walkers, in turn hopefully distracting the big, nasty gator lurking in the water. The gator begins chomping on zombies. But the battery dies and our pair are only a small way across. The walkers head away from the shore. Then the gator goes for the raft. John loses his paddle and takes a few shots. Only a moment later the gator puts a hole in their raft. They’re forced to swim back.
Luciana manages to link up with Morgan and the others again. She brings the notebooks to Morgan, showing them the various maps and other things inside. They’re all on the road again when they hear from Charlie and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) at mile marker 84, by another box.
They’re interrupted by the madwoman. Morgan talks to her and refutes her believing them weak: “It makes all of stronger.” He tells her he knows how she feels, being alone out there. She’s been through something horrible, no doubt. It’s not likely she’s going to accept the help Morgan offers. Not to mention, the woman’s not far behind, coming up on them fast with the SWAT truck. Shit. This could get very ugly very quick. The woman knows Morgan, incredibly well. She tells him: “You lose people, you lose yourself.” Whoa, that’s eerie.
And now she’s using those guns on Al’s truck.
Who’ll survive this one?
What a goddamn episode! Fear the Walking Dead has overtaken the original series, by far. At least for Father Gore, anyway. Love Morgan and all the other characters, especially all the awesome women on this series like Alicia, Al, Luciana, and now June. Should be compelling to see more of the mysterious woman. “MM 54” is next time.