AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
6×12: “In Dreams”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Andrew Chambliss, Ian Goldberg, & Nazrin Choudhury
* For a recap & review of 6×11, click here.
* For a recap & review of 6×13, click here.
Whispers of “In Dreams” by Roy Orbison play as we find Grace lying on the ground, just before she’s attacked by a zombie. She survives, mostly due to a young woman who saves her; a bad ass young woman who uses a weapon similar to Morgan. That’s because this is a dream and the young woman is Grace and Morgan’s daughter. The young woman is named Athena, named for the Greek goddess.
Athena brings Grace to the community Morgan built. Of course Grace recognises it, but it’s been sixteen years apparently. We see an older, grey-haired Morgan, who doesn’t recognise Grace.
In the dream, the community’s thriving all those years later. Grace continues confusing the old Morgan, talking like they know each other. In this dream, sixteen years later, Grace is a person of the past in Morgan’s life. Because in the future, sixteen years on, Grace is dead; at least in this dream. So Morgan’s confused, obviously. He tells Grace she died after giving birth. And Grace realises Athena is her daughter. She meets a grownup Charlie and sees June again, who looks very much like Carol from The Walking Dead. She also runs into Dwight and Sherry, who’ve made a whole family, including a boy they named for cowboy John Dorie. Things are good in the future. They seem to have settled down. Al, Alicia, and the others have gone their separate ways, though they each seem to be doing well. Grace’s death, and Athena’s birth, helped everybody rally together in spite of tragedy.
Morgan tries to help Grace get a bit of time with their daughter, without having to confront the difficult reality of whatever’s happening here. They go to run an errand. On their way, they come upon a car with THE END IS THE BEGINNING spray painted across it, so Morgan’s on high alert. Grace goes to the car, remembering something from the past. Then, an explosion; it blows Grace back away from the car. She hears Morgan’s voice calling to her. She sees zombies everywhere around her. Then Athena snaps Grace out of it. But where’s Morgan? Grace hears his voice, whereas Athena can’t hear anything. She sees Morgan disappear like the wind takes him away.
And she can still hear him: “Come back to me.”
Grace starts experiencing a loop in time, continuing to a see zombie with a Don’t Mess With Texas shirt on and Athena repeating the same phrase, over and over. She finally realises it’s all a dream. She tries to return to the world, recalling memories from ages ago. She sees Morgan, she sees Riley, she hears Roy Orbison singing. She knows she’s been knocked unconscious, on the way to the hospital June had been building for them. Grace is actually with Morgan, ready to give birth.
But first she has to wake up.
Grace grabs Athena’s walkman, trying to use Roy Orbison to wake herself back up to reality. Meanwhile, Morgan attempts to do what he can for his pregnant lover while she’s passed out on the floor while talking to June over the walkie. And outside, a threat has found them: Riley and his men arrive, guns blazing.
In her dream Grace works with Athena to manipulate reality. They run across Riley and his men in the road, though. This sends Grace into throes of pain, which also affects Athena. Morgan’s rushing to move Grace in the real world while Grace is violently confronted by Riley in the dream. Grace manages to fight back, cutting Riley’s throat. This saves her and Athena for the time being.
The mother-daughter duo continue through the dream.
A white horse rides out of nowhere, giving the two women some time off their feet on the road. And the further Grace gets down the road, the closer she comes to waking up with Morgan in reality. She and Athena come to a barn, where they find a walker inside reaching towards a bird cage. Grace explains there’s a reason why her subconscious has created all this, due to the radiation and the fact she’s probably not going to make it through the birth and what comes later. She takes the time to talk to her daughter in this surreal dream world: “You‘re going to be the hope they need.” Then she sees zombie Riley and his men.
In reality, Riley and his men are about to break down the doors to get to Morgan. They want to key Morgan found a while back. He won’t give it up without a fight, either. As Grace and Athena fight the zombie versions in the former’s surrealist dream, Morgan fights the living Riley and his men. The men stand little chance against Morgan, and Riley winds up getting stabbed pretty good before running off, though promising Morgan: “You can‘t stop us.” I’m inclined to believe that, considering Teddy is a total maniac.
Morgan then finds Grace isn’t breathing, calling to June over the walkie while, in the dream, Athena’s surrounded by Riley and his zombie crew. Morgan works to resuscitate Grace and save her, as well as their daughter. In the dream, old Morgan saves his daughter, and Grace. In reality, Grace comes back to Morgan as she prepares to bring their daughter Athena into the world. But she tells Morgan she doesn’t think she’ll live.
Grace made a mixed tape for her daughter. She also records a message for Athena.
She tells Morgan about the dream right before Riley drives a truck through the barn, hopping out with a gun in hand. Riley demands the key, or else he’ll shoot Grace. She begs Morgan to give over the key—”the cost of peace“—and so he does, albeit somewhat reluctantly. Off Riley goes with the key, leaving the couple alone. All that’s left now is for Grace to give birth. She plays Roy Orbison and readies herself. A while later, little Athena is born. Except the baby isn’t breathing, and Morgan works to revive it. But he can’t save the child. That throws a wrench into what Grace believed she saw in her dream. What she saw were really the “last moments” of her daughter. Also dashes Grace’s hopes for a better future in general.
“Everything’s going to be okay; because of her.”