AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
7×09: “Follow Me”
Directed by Heather Cappiello
Written by Andrew Chambliss & Ian Goldberg
* For a recap & review of 7×08, click here.
* For a recap & review of 7×10, click here.
Alicia’s clearly dreaming because she and a group of people are walking on the road when it’s like a radio frequency hits them all at the same time. She sees someone on the road ahead. She goes up to them, only to see it’s a zombie. The zombie attacks and falls on top of her, saying something she can’t quite hear until she wakes up: “Follow me.” Alicia comes to in a bad surrounded by fancy trinkets and her arm on the table. She has earplugs in because there’s classical music playing at deafening levels somewhere in this big Victorian-style mansion. She heads downstairs where the door’s open, blowing in the wind. She finds the room where the music’s blasting and a zombie shambling around. She knocks over the stereo, alerting a man at a table. He kills the zombie, more worried about his stereo getting knocked around. Then Alicia passes out.
What’s going on here?
Alicia wakes up again and starts asking the man questions. His name is Paul (Warren Snipe) and he’s been deaf for months; explains the music, somewhat. He found her in a barn a couple miles away, very ill and not doing well. Alicia says she wasn’t in a barn last she remembers. A girl saved Alicia and must have taken her there. Paul heard Alicia mumbling “Padre” in her sleep. She wants to leave, but he thinks she ought to stay, at least for now, considering she’s in awful shape. Suddenly outside there’s Arnold and his people looking for Alicia. He pushes his way inside despite Paul claiming he’s seen nobody. After a while Arnold and his friends leave, though Paul and Alicia can’t let their guard down.
Later, Paul asks Alicia about Arnold and she’s less than open about the situation. He serves Alicia up some haggis; can’t be picky about cuisine in the post-zombie apocalypse wasteland. Paul lost his wife and the last of his hearing when the bombs dropped. It isn’t long before Alicia wants to leave, but Paul thinks she shouldn’t rush. She blames herself for people being hurt, so she doesn’t want to get close to anybody, even if only briefly. Paul urges that he needs to fix his stereo before she goes. That’s the deal.
At a nearby music hall, Paul and Alicia scavenge for stereo parts. They also talk about things in Alicia’s recent past. Paul wonders what her plan is from here. Alicia explains what’s been happening in her world, as well as what’s happened with Arnold. Again she continues to blame herself for people getting hurt and dying because she was the so-called leader. Yet Paul tries to show her she can’t take all that guilt on her shoulders. He explains his own guilt concerning his wife. Alicia suggests Paul should go with her instead of back to his house with all those bad memories.
They’re interrupted when Alicia hears something outside, finding herself at the end of a gun belonging to Arnold’s people. Arnold has his caged trailer full of zombies and he wants to feed Alicia to them. Paul starts firing on Arnold and it lets the zombies free. He winds up breaking his stereo while trying to reload, but he can’t save it, ducking into a van with Alicia to keep away from the zombies. The reason Paul’s so adamant about his stereo is because playing that loud music is the only thing that drowns out his wife’s voice. Alicia then explains everything about P.A.D.R.E. and her guilt about leading people somewhere that was basically “just a dream.”
While I love Paul as a character, and appreciate that Snipe is actually deaf so they’re not having an able-bodied actor play someone with a disability, there isn’t much substance to this episode. The one good thing here is when Paul relates playing your own original music to Alicia’s situation, believing that she needs to figure things out herself rather than listening to someone else’s idea of freedom (etc).
That night, Arnold and his friends come back to Paul’s place but the musician uses extremely loud music to disorient them and draw walkers to complicate things. Paul has his pistol on-hand to kill any zombies coming through the front door. Things get sketchy for a minute when the bullets run out, though. Not to mention Arnold hasn’t actually left, he and his pals just go around back. Alicia gets to killing walkers until there are too many. She and Paul are overrun.
Paul tries to sneak up on Arnold and gets caught with a bullet. Alicia pulls Paul out of there and they barricade themselves in a room. She assures they’ll get out and make it back to her friends, along with medical supplies. Paul says he isn’t going anywhere. More for Alicia to guilt herself over. Nevertheless, Paul tells Alicia to believe in herself, that she’s meant to lead her people. Now he’s going to use his wife’s bagpipes as a distraction to let Alicia slip out unnoticed. A noble musical sacrifice.
Out on the road, Alicia comes upon the girl who saved her.
Then she falls over. She has a dream of being on the road again. This time she comes upon herself instead of a zombie. Her other self says: “Padre. Follow me.” She sees her friends behind them, too.
Then Alicia wakes up in a bed on the submarine with Morgan watching over her. She asks about the girl but he has no idea; she was alone when she arrived the night before. Alicia says she has a plan to gather “the army” they need to go up against Strand. She talks about her dreams and listening to her own voice. She’s going to the bunker again to use the radio, hoping she’ll be able to connect to people out there looking for “a safe place to live.” In a sense, Alicia wants to “become Padre.”