AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 5, Episode 3: “Humbug’s Gulch”
Directed by Colman Domingo
Written by Ashley Cardiff
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Hurt That Will Happen” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Skidmark” – click here
Our survivors are gradually clearing walkers all across the area, trying to figure out a perimeter then work inwards to, hopefully, locate Al (Maggie Grace). John (Garret Dillahunt) and June (Jenna Elfman) lose radio contact with the others, coming upon another roadblock of zombies— “bowel blockades,” as Mr. Dorie puts it. He worries about “serious people” there putting these roadblocks in place. Gunfire starts. They ram through the zombies to get away. But they need more firepower. Luckily, they see a sign for a place called Humbug’s Gulch, so John knows where they’re headed next.
An excellent postmodern Western scene with a tumbleweed blowing down the middle of a Wild West-looking street, where cowboy John and June pull up. It’s a state-wide business, recreating the American Frontier of days gone by for the eager consumer. John worked at another one elsewhere. He knows the layout. They go looking and find a stockpile of ammunition in a locked container.
Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Luciana (Danay Garcia) are on the road, the latter believing things are more hopeful, in spite of her injury. She says “whatever comes next” can’t be so bad if they’re willing to risk their lives to help others— might be putting a foot in the mouth there, we’ll see. They hear the kids’ voices over the radio. Alicia tries talking to them, offering help. The kids are worried about someone finding them, they won’t divulge their location over the airwaves.
In the Gulch, a dust storm is blowing. June and John have to make a run for the car before the town’s overrun by “the passed.” Either that or they wait things out in that town. Always sweet to see the two lovers together, wherever they are, even if they’re stuck in a precarious situation. When they do go for the car, they’re shot at by a mysterious figure. Their wheels are blown out, leaving them stranded.
John hits the unseen person, giving chase, only to be held at gunpoint by a familiar face from The Walking Dead— Dwight (Austin Amelio) has come to town. Dwight’s searching for his wife, Sherry. Right now, he gets knocked down and tied up under the care of June and her cowboy. Although he does have a car. Useful.
Alicia and Luciana hit something in the road, sending them off into a ditch with a flat tire. It’s a trap full of nails. Whoever’s blocking off these areas really doesn’t want anybody coming into their territory. Morgan (Lennie James) sets off in his vehicle while the two women carry onward by foot, not willing to wait “until it‘s too late again” to help those kids, or anybody else for that matter.
John, June, and Dwight turn the player piano on in the brothel to funnel the zombies away while they try to sneak out a window. Dwight jumps down and falls, drawing walkers— fun, again, to see the disparate terms for the undead, as he calls them walkers and John takes notice. The trio make their way gradually to Dwight’s car. He turns away last minute, running in the opposite direction to another vehicle— the one his wife was driving, that June and John pulled up in. Could Sherry have been taken by the same person who kidnapped Al? Her poor husband’s about to give up after the latest dead end. He feels he doesn’t deserve to find her. He contemplates putting a bullet in his head.
John and June refuse to let that happen.
“Then just don’t be that person”
On the road, Morgan catches up with Luciana and Alicia, trying to locate where the kids have gone. Alicia— turning a new leaf in the post-zombie apocalypse— reaches out, speaking to the children sincerely over the walkie. She talks about losing Madison and Nick. The kids don’t respond. Encouraging to see Alicia hasn’t lost the best parts of herself, the stuff she learned from her mother. She’s holding onto her humanity.
John and June clear a path for Dwight. Our cowboy stands in the middle of that street like he’s having a Wild West duel, shooting down one zombie after another. Dwight uses an axe but falls under a dead walker. He holds the axe up for John, who does one of his Gulch trick shots— the “San Antonio Split“— to split a bullet off the blade, killing two approaching zombies with the last bullet in the rifle.
Later, the group comes back together. Dwight and Morgan see each other for the first time in ages. Another strange meeting out in the wasteland. Dwight tries to apologise. Morgan knows “how it ended” for him and embraces people trying to change, as he’s done himself. The group move on, finding another blockade of zombie guts. They also get a call on the radio from one of the kids. One of the boys says they’re going back to the truck stop. The group rushes off to their destination.
On the road, they find the van the kids were driving. Inside, one of them is covered in blood. That’s because the kids are playing tricks. They’re part of the crew setting up the zombies at the roadblocks. Oh, shit.
Big question is, who else is out there lurking?
Another solid instalment so far in Season. This year’s shaping up to be one of the best yet, in Father Gore’s humble opinion. The characters are headed in good directions, the plot has some new elements, and, of course, there’s a new group of worrisome people with which our survivors must deal in order to keep surviving.
“Skidmark” is next time.