AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Directed by Colman Domingo
Written by Mallory Westfall
* For a recap & review of “Welcome to the Club,” click here.
* For a recap & review of “The Key,” click here.
Morgan and Rachel have been getting by well enough together. He’s recently gone out to collect a bunch of things for Rachel, hoping to make sure she’s well stocked. She finds out Morgan has “someone on the inside” of Virginia’s colony. She’s worried, but he assures her they can trust them. Sweet to see baby Morgan, and also that adult Morgan hasn’t entirely lost his humanity, taking about his wife and son rather than cowering at their memory. I always find it compelling the way Morgan discovers new ways to keep on living, to keep renewing his faith in himself, as well as other people. Rachel tries to tell Morgan he’s still the man his friends knew, even if he’s changed. Because people can change while remaining the same. It’s the people who can’t retain the good parts of their old selves who truly become another person. Morgan’s staff being crafted into a new handle for the axe is a perfect symbol of this changing sameness; it’s still partly his old weapon, it just has a new twist to it.
Elsewhere we see Al and Dwight together clearing a house; they’ve got trusty GoPro units fastened to themselves, making sure Virginia sees and hears everything. They do what they can to distract themselves, like Dwight going through zombie pockets to look for somebody from Alaska. That doesn’t mean they’re not methodical, gradually moving through the building in order to be sure all the undead are now all the way dead. Al’s also keeping tabs on various radio communications, including Isabelle, out there somewhere. A momentary lapse nearly gets Al chomped, though Dwight’s not far and gives her a hand. The zombie’s been embalmed, too. Creepy. Afterwards, the two share “bad beer” and then Dwight figures out the deal with Isabelle. Al doesn’t want to risk anything to go find her, whereas Dwight suggests they head to where she thinks Isabelle’s located. He thinks they could fool Virginia by passing off a corpse as Al so she can escape to look for Isabelle.
“‘Cause I feel like I’ve been sixteen different somebodies since it all ended.”
On their way to “Drop Site Baker,” Al and Dwight come across a zombie who, finally, was a citizen of Alaska. A good sign? Or, a bad one? Right inside the building they see the graffiti THE END IS THE BEGINNING, which we earlier saw in the season premiere. I’m starting to get the feeling this is probably not a great idea. Obviously Dwight and Al have to clear a few zombies on their way upstairs. That’s when they stumble onto a cage with just a rat inside, then a zombie comes falling down right in front of them. The stairs going up are blocked with furniture, but just barely.
They make it into one of the floors safely, only to be held up by two people with guns. The people advise not to go to the roof because some of their friends were killed last time they went up. Dwight and Al are interrogated about the cameras, why they’re out recording things, and after that they’re told to record everything. Because this place has been stricken with illness, and things are going downhill fast. Dwight wants to help, but Al’s seen signs of “bubonic plague.” She pulls him out of there, rushing for the roof; even if she doesn’t know what might happen to her. Although it may be reckless I agree with Al, and not every single person is their responsibility, either. Not to mention they’re under the thumb of Virginia, a post-zombie apocalypse dictator. And eventually, Dwight keeps going with Al.
The pair continue heading up through the building. They do more bonding, talking about Isabelle and Sherry. It’s sad because Dwight has all but given up on hope of seeing Sherry again. He thinks it’ll never happen. The two go on looking for a way up, trapped on one side by walkers. This means they’ll have to follow the plague-carrier rats that are all over the building. Al busts a hole through the wall, giving them a way forward climbing pipes. An INCREDIBLY TENSE moment follows, as they have to navigate a narrow space full of plague rats. They perfectly fall through the other side of a wall into a room where people who’ve died from the plague are reanimated as zombies. Worse, Dwight’s gotten infected.
Al blames herself for what’s happened; Dwight says it isn’t her fault. She wants to help him. They don’t even know how long he’s had it. Obviously he didn’t just get it; could the rat in his sleeping bag days earlier have given it to him? Either way, Dwight’s not so much worried about getting medicine that could possibly save him, he only wants to help Al on her journey. They’re interrupted when the woman from earlier, Nora (Devyn Tyler), shoots the zombies outside the door, getting them out. She urges for help, and now that Dwight’s infected the two are more inclined. Before they can do anything they’ve got clearing to do. And it’s a nasty, tough job! Love when Dwight has a brief Pulp Fiction moment and grabs a weapon of choice. Poor Nora’s dealing with having to kill zombies who were once people she worked with and knew well. Soon, Dwight and Nora are off to a pharmacy together, and Al’s going to the roof, after a sweet ‘see you later hopefully’ between her and Dwight.
“No one should remember them like this”
Al waits on the rooftop, taking a chance to watch the short video Dwight recorded wishing her well, ending with “I love ya.” A helicopter’s soon heard in the sky nearby. So Al takes out a flare and sends one of them firing up into the air. She takes out her radio and calls for the helicopter. She says it isn’t safe to land due to those infected with the plague. She tells Isabelle it’s good to hear her voice, and the helicopter’s gone again into the night. Then when Al opens the supply crate to get a beer, she discovers a box of medication, too. A small silver lining along with the shitty beers. They might get to help those sick people, and perhaps Dwight will be okay. Al, like Morgan, has now found a new reason to stick with her friends. Also she’s starting to think the plague wasn’t “an accident.” Are those THE END IS THE BEGINNING people purposefully spreading plague?
Another silver lining: Dwight hears Sherry over the radio because of the flare. He rushes outside, and there in the alley he sees her again, after all this time. The two lovers are reunited for the first time in so, so long, since all the horrors of Negan and the Saviors. This may be the sweetest moment of The Walking Dead‘s universe. A beautiful reunion that restores so much hope, for the audience who loves Dwight (like myself); also for Dwight, Sherry, and even Al.
One of my favourite episodes of the series.
Beautiful, dark, and some good zombies!