AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 5, Episode 9: “Channel 4”
Directed by Dan Liu
Written by David Johnson
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Is Anybody Out There?” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “210 Words Per Minute” – click here
We start with tapes, made by Al (Maggie Grace) with help from Luciana (Danay Garcia), of Morgan (Lennie James), Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), Daniel (Rubén Blades), Grace (Karen David), Strand (Colman Domingo), Dwight (Austin Amelio), Charlie (Alexa Nisenson), John (Garret Dillahunt), and June (Jenna Elfman). They’re trying to reach out into the world, to spread a positivity rather than negativity. They’ve gotten calls from people about the plane landing, which inspired hope. All the same, right now they’re only focused on helping others, almost neglecting to remember they have lives themselves and it isn’t only about survival. Al gets her own turn on the other side of the camera. She’s remembering to treat people like people, not solely as stories.
The group have more trucks to keep pushing their message of hope out to the post-zombie apocalypse world. They were able to get help from Logan (Matt Frewer) and Polar Bear’s oil field, though they left him behind before reaching it in an effort not to let him burn them a second time.
Sarah (Mo Collins) keeps looking after the trucks, along with Dwight and Daniel. June and Grace look after a caravan on the road, helping anybody they come across with food and water, as well as protection. Although Grace continually worries whether she’ll “start to feel sick” any day from the radiation. Dwight is in a “polar opposite” situation than the one he was in with Negan and the Saviors. Alicia’s in a new place, as well. She’s learning new skills, both in terms of living and fighting, from Morgan, like what he learned from Eastman. She “hasn‘t killed” since we last saw her.
This new existence, for all the group, is good.
At least, for now.
“One becomes formed into something else:
Soundtrack note: Sarah rocks out to “Convoy” by C.W. McCall in the truck
Morgan and the crew try to help a woman named Tess barricaded in her home, concerned for her husband Ben after he went out looking for an inhaler in the ruins of the local drugstore for their asthmatic boy. Problem is there are mines buried in the yard. Morgan talks with Tess over the walkie, trying to get her to come out so she can see them face to face. He explains the cameras and why the group are filming. But Tess refuses to come out. She hasn’t been outside the house since “everything went bad,” they’ve had a self-sustaining environment inside. Morgan understands this, very well.
The group look for any trace of Ben. He could be absolutely anywhere. They split up to cover as much ground as possible while Alicia, Luciana, and Al continue filming. A bunch of walkers knock down the front of Tess’s fence, setting off another mine, and after a couple more explosions go off, the horde are mostly finished.
Strand stops a walker from getting at Alicia, who’s not yet back to killing zombies. They see it’s Ben, carrying a backpack full of items including an inhaler. A good yet tragic find. Tess and her boy are stuck back there in the house, sure Ben will return even after she’s told the dire truth. Poor Morgan keeps thinking of his own wife and son, causing him to rush for the house without thinking. Then he steps onto a landmine.
Al stops him from moving, but they’re faced with a real dilemma.
“This is by far the ugliest mustard I ever seen”
It’s a delicate situation. Morgan gently digs around the mine so Al can have a better look at the device. She’s only “fifty–fifty” sure of what she’s doing. Not great odds. They’ll have to take their chances. Morgan’s about to try pulling the firing pin out and he’s interrupted by Tess. She’s seen her husband work on the mines, offering help with a holding pin. Thankfully our man makes it off before the thing explodes. Nevertheless, it’s given them hope. Because Tess and her boy come outside to get the inhaler, to make human contact, and it assures Tess, as well as the group, there’s good in the world.
We see Grace finally getting to make that pad thai recipe that was on her fridge forever. Everybody sits for a beautiful meal together, along with Tess and her son. They’re mourning, though happy to be among people. The rest of the crew make it in off the road for the night, so everybody’s safe— as safe as they’ll get in this harsh world. And in the big tape Al’s compiling, we see they’ve all got their own reasons for surviving. That, in and of itself, is a good thing. They’re recognising things about themselves and growing from their mistakes.
This is the message they send to the world: help each other, help yourself.
In a gas station, a man watches the tape. He finds one of the boxes left behind. He’s able to get enough gasoline to fill up a bike, when he sees a couple cars pull up. It’s Logan and his armed buddies, unhappy about their gas being stolen. He still doesn’t know where the oil field is after getting his karma. They think this man is with “the people on the tape.”
Even though he’s not, they lay waste to his bike so he can’t follow them after they rob him. They leave the guy with just the walkie, telling him to call and let the group know they’re making “more enemies” than they are friends on the road.
Things are peachy. But it won’t last.
You know it won’t, and the rest of Season 5 will show us how wrong things can go.
“210 Words Per Minute” is next time.