AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 5, Episode 1: “Here to Help”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Ian Goldberg & Andrew Chambliss
* For a recap & review of the Season 4 finale, “… I Lose Myself” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Hurt That Will Happen” – click here
We see a couple kids in the woods. The older of the two shows the younger how to shoot a rifle. They’re trying to bag a deer. One shot and the little kid hits it. Before they can do anything, “growlers” come upon them. Older brother can’t unjam the rifle. And just at that moment, a small plane comes crashing down, flying into the forest. The crash leaves debris everywhere, a fire burning in the crater it’s left.
This only brings more walkers out.
The two boys are crowded by the dead. Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) comes out of the smoke with a propeller blade to chop down zombies like a goddamn bad ass. In the plane are Morgan (Lennie James), John (Garret Dillahunt), and Luciana (Danay Garcia). She’s bleeding from a nasty wound. In the cockpit, June’s (Jenna Elfman) out cold, as is Althea (Maggie Grace). Everything’s a bit fucked up. Our survivors manage to gradually make sense of things. Although it’s distressing to see Alicia with that open wound on her hand, handling a bloody propeller blade fighting off the undead.
Good ole John helps June get free of the cockpit. Al tries to call Strand (Colman Domingo). Alicia and Morgan are fighting off walkers— she’s become one of the GREATEST zombie killers of all-time, there’ll be NO DEBATE! See that shit she did with the cord and the stakes in the ground? Genius.
But things are still absolute chaos.
Not to mention they’re in an area fenced off due to radiation. Al nearly gets chomped by a walker. It has on a suit of body armour. Might be useful to take some of that stuff— whatever doesn’t have a hole in it now. Then there’s poor Luciana, who’s got to be cut free of the wreckage with a hacksaw. A young girl arrives in a van to carry everyone off. This is the boys’ sister. She runs all the growlers down, making clear the survivors have “no idea” where they’ve landed.
Is she talking radiation? More human trouble? Or both?
The reason the group’s in this situation is because they’re trying to help someone they met over the radio— Logan (Matt Frewer). The kids in the van aren’t into helping strangers. At least not strangers they didn’t end up with by chance. Morgan tries to explain they’ve been attempting to “make things better out here.” But there’s vast dissonance between what it’s like to be a child and what it’s like to be an adult in the post-zombie apocalypse. The kids try to explain things in this area are especially horrific. They stop at a roped off part of road. It’s actually a bunch of zombies, their guts intertwined in a blockade. Above them are zombie heads decapitated from their corpses, as if they’re hanging apples rotting on the vine.
The group find a rest stop. They’ve got to try and help Luciana. She’s in rough shape. She never takes her mind off what they’ve been doing. She tells the youngest boy about their mission. John and Morgan talk about the place they’ve setup. There’s even a “movie night,” continuing the cowboy’s longstanding tradition. They want the kids to come back with them, be a part of the community they’re creating.
At the same time, Logan’s nowhere to be found. The kids are worried. They decide to get out of there, not willing to take a chance on a bunch of strangers. Who knows what horrors they’ve seen. After they’re gone, June removes the piece of metal from Luciana and they try to keep her from bleeding too much.
Logan’s actually down at the denim factory. Of course he finds the place is empty. He gets an up close look at the place. He’s able to gain an idea of what type of people Morgan and the others are, without them around. He sees the movie request sheet, all sorts of logs— probably for what chores, etc, everybody is doing— and sees the list of people who are either dead or missing. There’s comfort in his visit, also unease.
“You don’t have to be afraid”
“That’s what people always say
when there’s something to be afraid of”
Morgan’s able to get their new friend on the radio.
Then Logan says he’s taken over the factory, which belongs to him. He wasn’t just dropping by for a friendly visit. He drew the survivors away purposefully. Wow. Brutal. Another instance where our friends come to realise a harsh truth: you can’t trust anybody in this new world. Logan also shits on their mission to make it a better one. He isn’t interested. He’d rather survive on his own terms.
Should’ve listened to those kids.
What do our survivors do from here?
Morgan wants to find the kids. Alycia’s worried if they keep trying to blindly help people they might wind up dead. He thinks “it should be this hard” to help others, because of the things he’s done. She can’t accept it so easily, after all that’s happened to her family, from Travis to Nick to Madison. Despite all he’s experienced, Morgan refuses to give up.
Victor goes through Al’s tapes when he sees Daniel (Rubén Blades), after all this time. He’s probably concerned about unfinished business. Al’s gone to find the zombie in the body armour. She finds a pouch on it with a map inside. It has a symbol made of cricles on it, and there’s several clear cards with the same symbol. She calls back to Morgan, then gets stunned by someone in the same body armour.
A stellar opening for Season 5! Very exciting. Father Gore’s looking forward to whatever comes next. Nice to see a real intense, action-packed premiere. Gets the adrenaline and anticipation flowing.
“The Hurt That Will Happen” is next time.