AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 14: “MM 54”
Directed by Lou Diamond Phillips
Written by Anna Fishko & Shintaro Shimosawa
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Blackjack” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “I Lose People…” – click here
We begin in a time a while ago at mile marker 54, where a car crashed. The man inside had part of the steel divider sticking into his abdomen. The woman with him is the filth-caked lady we see later down the road, Martha (Tonya Pinkins). She assured the man he’ll be okay: “Someone will help us.” Then, a truck passed by, not slowing a bit. Behind it came another car, an SUV, and nobody bothered stopping. So, Martha was left to wait out the inevitable until she was all by herself. Eventually a walker stumbled out and she had to kill it. She was unable to do anything for her man, as he slipped away gradually from blood loss.
This is the beginning of how Martha got where she is today, going from an “English teacher” to an insane woman bent on revenge. She had to watch her significant other die, turn into a zombie, then have to die by her hand, all the worse because her faith in people was useless. After all that she wasted away in the wilderness, succumbing to madness.
Then, a woman stopped the truck to drop off a box by the roadside. She saw Martha, asking if there was anything the lady might need. Martha soon killed her and anyone else she came across at the mile markers, using each of her victims as a fresh zombie to help her get the killing done. She went looking for “Polar Bear,” in hopes of killing him and somehow making her situation okay again. At some point, she got talking to Morgan (Lennie James) after he stumbled onto the base of operations, bringing us back to the present fully.
“When you help people they never learn to take care of themselves”
In current day, Morgan and everyone else have hit the deck, as Martha unloads from the SWAT truck. Lucky for the crew, none of them are dead. Morgan, June (Jenna Elfman), and Al (Maggie Grace) get out of the back. Al goes for her vehicle, and zombies pile out of the back, as does Martha. The filthy woman confronts Martha, asking her to take him instead of anybody else. She refuses, believing he’s stronger than the rest. After a minute, Wendell (Daryl Mitchell) gets the drop on her and pumps a shotgun round in her shoulder. Sarah (Mo Collins) and Jim (Aaron Stanford) nearly get blown to bits when their truck goes up in flames, taking all the beer supplies, the boxes, guns, and everything else with it. On top of that, the explosion brings plenty of the undead out of the nearby forest for our relatively gunless friends to fend off. Martha’s able to move, so she leaves them on the road helpless again.
A while later, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Charlie (Alexa Nisenson) come upon the scene finding nobody there, only dead walkers. They know the woman on the walkie had something to do with it. Now, Alicia’s left to figure out what they’ll do next and where they’ll go. She chooses heading east. But she’s decided not to look for her friends. She’s doing the one thing she knows is within her reach: take Charlie to the beach.
Meanwhile, Morgan, Sarah, and the rest see a horde of walkers heading in their direction as they move forward, knowing it’s going to grow bigger and get worse as time passes. Doesn’t help Wendell’s wheelchair is busted, leaving Jim to drag him.
Down the road the group find a place to hide. June gets everybody patched, and Morgan’s busy worrying how long they can stay there. They search the place trying to scrounge any materials they’re able to find. Sarah comes across a new set of walkies, which is great. Al starts prodding Wendell about how he “got in that chair,” and he relates his childhood accident to making him want to help others rather than become cynical, though he quickly learned he had to work harder than everyone else.
“Bad shit happens when you try to help people”
Like Morgan expected, they get overrun with walkers. Jim keeps blaming Morgan. On instinct, everybody looks to Morgan for answers. They head upstairs to find another way out. The higher they go, the higher the horde climbs, too. Their only option’s to access the elevators. Sarah and Al go to find the generator, and Morgan goes with Jim to the elevators. Al sends her friend off to be with her brother while she takes the scary route through a ton of zombies on her own. Just in time, the generator starts up, and the crew get inside an elevator as a horde bears down on them. They get to the roof, where all’s clear. But what about Al? Will she survive the gauntlet of the dead?
Morgan and the rest are left to figure out how to get down from the roof. This is when June goes to clean Jim’s wounds, discovering he was bitten in the chaos. The bite’s in a place where they won’t be able to do anything to help. No more “beer to make” for poor Jimbo— it’s the end of the line. And naturally, Morgan will bear this on his shoulders, too. He’ll never get used to losing people, and maybe that’s a good thing.
Elsewhere, Alicia and Charlie look for a car and keep walking. The young girl’s disheartened, wishing they kept looking for Morgan and the others. Alicia sees it as futile. She only wants “something to be good” right now, to keep their morale up. Not far from there they hear water. It’s not a beach, just a flooded area. Could it be the same one where John (Garret Dillahunt) and Victor (Colman Domingo) are? Judging by the cowboy hat they find, Father Gore says it’s a yes. Particularly when they look across and see the two men standing at the water’s edge. At least, that’s what I think they see. We’ll have to wait until next time.
What an episode! Love the story of Martha and I’m excited to see where it goes next in regards to our crew. Can’t wait for the next episode. It’s always interesting to see Morgan in the position he’s in currently, when he’s doubting himself and the world. Either way, “I Lose People…” is next time and it’s gonna be wild.