AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 5, Episode 12: “Ner Tamid”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Andrew Chambliss & Ian Goldberg
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “You’re Still Here” – click here
* for a recap & review of the next episode, “Leave What You Don’t” – click here
Of note, for those unaware like Father Gore was until right now, is the episode title. The words ner tamid— Hebrew: eternal light— refer to a lamp that burns perpetually in Jewish synagogues before / near the ark of the Law.
Rabbi Jacob Kessner (Peter Jacobson) is in his synagogue performing a Jewish ritual when a walker comes growling at the doors of Temple Bene Israel. He goes to put the zombie out of its misery. He sees a gate at the edge of the parking lot swinging open, so he heads over to close it. He ends up in a tussle with a couple walkers, killing them and discovering Charlie (Alexa Nisenson) hiding in a car. He tells her about “the flame of truth” when she notices it burning inside.
Gotta love how Sarah (Mo Collins) brings a WELCOME HOME mat with her to lay out wherever their convoy stops. They’ve found another spot to camp a while. Everybody’s tired, though. John (Garret Dillahunt), June (Jenna Elfman), and the others are still waiting for Al (Maggie Grace), Morgan (Lennie James), Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), and Grace (Karen David) to meet up with them again.
Plus, Charlie’s missing.
Charlie and Rabbi Kessner are a pretty good team dealing with the “dead ones.” Interesting to see Kessner’s Jewish faith intertwined with the zombie apocalypse. He tells Charlie about t’chiyat hameitim— how “the souls of the dead would rise and be reunited with their bodies at the end of this world.” He’s concerned with tradition. This is his issue when the final battery is about to die, threatening to let the ner tamid go out. Charlie gets her pals on the radio, admitting she “ran away.” She’s been trying to find a place to “call home.” She asks her group to come meet her at the synagogue, and to bring car batteries.
When the group arrives, Charlie gets them to help the rabbi patch things up to keep more walkers from invading the property. Kessner has a yarmulke for cowboy John to wear. June goes with Charlie to scope things out. She doesn’t think it’s a great place to bunk down. The girl believes it’s better to find somewhere to stay longer than a few days at a time. She’s scared things will go back to how they were before the convoy. She near begs the rabbi to let her stay. He urges her to stay with her group.
Back at the convoy, Logan’s (Matt Frewer) “dick squad” turn up. This puts everybody in motion. At the temple, the fence holding walkers back has burst and the whole place starts swarming with hordes of the dead— Kessner’s own congregation. After things went bad, they were all at the synagogue. They lasted for weeks. Once supplies got low, Kessner left to get more, returning to nothing but zombies.
“Say a prayer for us”
John and June pull daredevil shit, using a ladder to cross cars in the parking lot. They only make it so far. The ladder eventually falls to the ground, stranding the couple on a vehicle halfway across. They’re okay, but it won’t get them back to the convoy any faster, and it’s not stopping the overflow of undead into the parking lot. Atop the synagogue Charlie’s wracking her brain. Rabbi Kessner tells the girl he’s been losing his faith— he was leaving the synagogue not to get supplies back during the fall of society, he was wandering to find a reason to keep believing. June says there’s only one option left, which Charlie doesn’t want to entertain, unwilling to leave a safe place.
They’ll have to say goodbye to the synagogue. Rabbi Kessner uses a shofar to call the zombies inside. He and Charlie escape through the back while June and John lock the front doors. The congregation are once more in their house of worship, shambling towards the ner tamid which, ironically, goes out.
Sarah’s truck runs out of gas on the road, leaving her and Dwight (Austin Amelio) in a prickly situation. She’s ready to “go down with the ship.” The two of them say brief goodbyes, in case this is their end. The guy Dwight let go is one of the men who stops, taunting them. But they drive off. Why?
The SWAT truck.
Dwight and Sarah meet the rabbi, then they’re all headed off again. They don’t realise the whole thing is a diversion, to get the SWAT truck far away from where Logan is headed. He’s managed to find Lonesome Quarry. He believes they’ve found “the promised land.” Has he found the oil fields after all? Uh oh.
Things are heating up. The introduction of Rabbi Kessner is an interesting one that Father Gore is excited about, and now that Logan is amping up the intensity there’s bound to more wild confrontations ahead for our group of survivors.
“Leave What You Don’t” is next time.