AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
6×01: “The End is the Beginning”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Andrew Chambliss & Ian Goldberg
* For a recap & review of the Season 5 finale, “End of the Line,” click here.
* For a recap & review of “Welcome to the Club,” click here.
After the wild events of the Season 5 finale, we pick up with Emile LaRoux (Demetrius Gosse) eating by the campfire when a guy called Walter (Damon Carney) stumbles out of the woods across Emile’s barrier setup to alert for zombies. He gives Walter some food and keeps watch at the edge of the trees. He notices the man has a key hanging around his neck. Then they hear a dog that comes growling out of the woods. The dog’s Rufus, and he belongs to Emile. After that, Emile chops Walter’s head off and takes the key. He also keeps the head in a box. That’s when Emile gets a call on the radio, from Virginia. She’s got “a job” for him to do. He’s first headed to Galveston, presumably to drop off the head. Virginia wants him then to go looking for our ole pal, Morgan Jones. Oh, my.
Our man Morgan is, indeed, alive. He managed to survive his brutal confrontation with Virginia. But he’s being hunted constantly. And though he survived, he’s very clearly FUCKED UP. Naturally so—and that makes for a hard journey. If I had to lay down my pick for most hardened post-zombie apocalypse survivor in The Walking Dead‘s universe, it’d be Morgan Jones. He’s been through so much, and he manages to keep living. Now, the walkers just stroll by him mostly because he’s basically half dead. He yells at one “I‘m right here” before taking it on, just barely coming out on top. I think what I love about Morgan so much is that, of all the characters who’ve gone through miles of shit, he seems to carry the trauma—physical and psychological—most visible of them all. Season 6 is introducing us to one brutally damaged man physically, just by those bloodshot eyes alone, and there’s some added realism to this new Morgan that I don’t find in such genuine form anywhere else in these shows.
Morgan has a seemingly good setup going, with a kind padded cell for a room. Bit of a metaphor, really, as he’s got to keep himself barred away from the outer world that threatens to drive him insane, or, y’know, kill him. The traditional padded asylum cell image is a vivid one. Morgan later is on the streets when he falls down, and again the zombies pass him by, until he almost gets shot by a man. The guy helps Morgan to safety in a shop, were he gets a look at the latter’s wound. Morgan tells him to get out of there because Virginia’s looking for him. The guy—Isaac (Michael Abbott Jr.), a soldier before society died—can’t turn his back on a wounded person, even if Morgan refuses the help. They hear someone outside and see Emile, who calls out for Mr. Jones.
Isaac, against Morgan’s wishes, steps out to speak with Emile. The bounty hunter asks about Mr. Jones, going on about the “social contract” when Isaac tries to question him about why he’s on the lookout for Morgan. He then starts to wonder if he’s ever met the former soldier, but Isaac denies knowing him, particularly because the bounty hunter carries an insane looking axe with him and that’d be memorable. Things get tense because Rufus can obviously smell Morgan. So Emile pushes to go inside, where the dog finds bloody clothes. Isaac claims Morgan died after they took shelter inside from walkers. Of course that answer does nothing to satiate the bounty hunter. And Morgan’s out back in the street, lying face down in the dirt. He comes to with Isaac looking after him, trying to help with the bullet left in his chest/shoulder. He doesn’t want the help. Isaac explains his wife’s pregnant and he was originally looking for a gun to clear out the walkers surrounding their camp. Morgan offers the gun he found, but Isaac only has a few bullets and suggests Morgan could help him walk some oxygen tanks through the walkers. Isaac’s seen the tape Morgan made on the road, and now he’s going to use the gun to force some help.
That’s done with when Emile hauls down Morgan’s shelter: a water tower. The structure comes crashing down, as the bounty hunter approaches the two men with his huge axe. Morgan points the gun at Emile, though he only puts a bullet in the man’s arm, he doesn’t kill him. He and Isaac rush for Emile’s truck, speeding out of there. They get a good distance when they find trees blocking the road.
Morgan wants to go back to the tower, in spite of it being destroyed. He says the tower wasn’t for him. Someone stitched him up, it wasn’t him. He blacked out and woke up with his wound patched. The person who did it left a note about a message. They wanted Morgan to live so he could continue doing what he’s been doing. Isaac tries to tell Morgan the tower’s no longer safe, for him or whoever he’s waiting for, and that where he and his wife stay it is safe. The former soldier wants to keep his family safe. In turn, he offers to keep Morgan and his people safe, too.
We soon discover Issac was a ranger for Virginia. He ran off from her service. He did see Morgan’s tape. After his wife got pregnant he realised what Virginia was offering wasn’t worth it, and so they took off together to work towards the kind of future Morgan and his people wanted to build. Isaac keeps offering to help Morgan take that bullet out, believing Morgan’s punishing himself by leaving it in.
The two men get to what looks like a dam, on the other side of which is where Isaac and his wife Rachel (Brigitte Kali Canales) have been living. Isaac hands over the oxygen tanks and sends Morgan to get them to his wife. He’ll be going the long way around that’ll take 2 days. So, down Morgan descends to pass through a horde of walkers. It isn’t easy. He falls at one point, and his scream draws a zombie that almost chomps him, when Isaac pops off a shot to kill it. This is the moment where Morgan decides he’s had enough. He sees Isaac getting surrounded by the undead, so he calls out to the zombies, and the two men fight tooth and nail to kill them. Morgan’s still dangerous with one good arm, and Isaac’s army training hasn’t gone astray.
In the end, they stand among a pile of zombie corpses, and the way’s clear.
They head on through, to where a lake used to exist by the dam which eventually broke. They find Rachel having more contractions and getting ready to have the baby soon. An odd juxtaposition with Morgan literally rotting, becoming half like a zombie, then seeing him in the midst of new life about to be born. Isaac talks with Morgan later about the rich soil there and how it could be a place to rebuild. But it seems like Morgan’s unconcerned with those ideas now.
Again they’re interrupted by noise. Isaac knows it’s Emile, the only person who could find them all the way out there. The bounty hunter’s tracked Morgan down after all. Not hard on account of the rotting flesh. Morgan says he’ll lay down without a fight, so long as Isaac and Rachel are left alone. Emile agrees. Morgan kneels and prepares to get decapitated. Except the former soldier won’t allow it, attacking Emile.
This gives Morgan the chance to start using his skills on Emile, knocking him unconscious. Isaac reveals he needs Morgan to continue on the hopeful project there, because he got bitten by a zombie a while back. Morgan says “I can‘t be who they need me to be,” he can’t bear the burden of being everybody’s saviour, but then Emile attacks once more. The bounty hunter sticks a finger deep into Mr. Jones’s wound, forcing him to near pass out from the pain. You know Morgan won’t stop, and he fights with every last ounce of his strength until he sticks his staff through Emile’s guts. Afterwards, he picks up that big axe and chops Emile’s head off! The most violence we’ve seen Morgan commit wilfully in a long time. The post-zombie apocalypse wasteland keeps changing him. Once the battle’s done he tells Isaac the message referred to in that note was: “To live.” Perfect cue for the cries of Isaac’s newborn child.
Once again Morgan wakes and he’s been patched. This time, the bullet’s been removed. Morgan finds Rachel there holding her baby girl. They named the girl after Morgan, in tribute to the man who helped her parents make sure baby Morgan made it into the world safely. Sadly, along with new life has come death, after Isaac succumbed to his bite wound. Not unexpected, yet still tragic. Later, Morgan sees the key that was around Emile’s neck, so he takes it with him. He also pulls his staff out of the dead man’s corpse, heading to face a walker. He opts to throw away his staff and takes up Emile’s axe. He can still wield it with one arm while his other’s healing. Elsewhere, Virginia and her people in the commandeered SWAT truck come upon a stack of walkers in the road. They see a box there, too. It’s marked Morgan Jones, however, inside it is the head of Emile. Virginia laughs. But she knows Morgan’s out there, more vicious than before. She calls out over the radio, hoping Morgan hears. She tells him all she needs is for his friends to believe he’s dead. If Morgan does anything to let them know he isn’t, Virginia claims she’ll kill his friends. His reply is chillingly awesome, letting her know he isn’t fucking around.
Also, who are the two men searching for “that key“?
And what’s the submarine all about?
“Morgan Jones is dead.
And you are dealing with somebody else now.”
Killer opening for Season 6!
Couldn’t care less about the haters. The series isn’t perfect, it has flaws like any other. But, it’s my favourite of The Walking Dead universe. Morgan is a huge part of that, so I’m glad his story continues, and in such wild fashion. Not to mention we have a bunch of other excellent characters who’ll keep on keeping on this season. Or until they get the CHOMP.