AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Directed by Sharat Raju
Written by Ian Goldberg & Andrew Chambliss
* For a recap & review of 7×15, click here.
* Season 8 recaps & reviews to come!
Someone, perhaps, Alicia, is under a hood. They’re being interviewed.
Is this PADRE? Hmm.
Elsewhere, Morgan’s got a nice second-level treehouse built from the raft, keeping himself and the baby safe from any walkers below. He’s got to play survivalist and dad at once. He uses a tape of Grace singing Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay” to keep the child occupied as they go about their day. It also shields the baby from at least a few of the horrors of daily existence in the post-zombie-post-nuclear apocalypse.
Eventually Morgan and child reach a house. He steps inside carefully, only to discover a woman named Ava in the bedroom. He wants to help Ava, after realising she’s been taking pregnancy tests. She advises that he should leave: “This is no place for kids.”
At night in the tree-rafthouse, Morgan’s surprised by a man with a terrifying mask on. When he comes to he’s at the shore with a bunch of masked folks. He’s worried about Mo. But the masked people say Mo isn’t his, and neither are the other kids he supposedly took. Clearly Morgan doesn’t know what’s going on, however, that doesn’t matter. The masked men force Morgan into a grave they’ve dug, then they start filling the grave in. They’re interrupted by gunfire, and when Morgan checks to see what’s happening there’s somebody with the baby. That’s when Morgan sees Madison Clark, still alive. Madison’s there to take the child and she won’t take no for an answer, either. She says the baby’s better off with her, threatening Morgan with death if he dares follow them. WHOA! I always knew Madison was going to be alive, since we never actually saw her die; thems the TV rules, folks. Finally she has returned, though in a wildly unexpected fashion.
Looks like Madison has friends helping her steal children, as she calls someone over the radio on her way to a boathouse nearby. Her ride’s taking longer than anticipated. She has a lead on a “new egg” so she leaves little Mo and heads out to check things for herself. She hears someone over the radio and tries to get a location on them, looking to snatch up another child. We also see that things haven’t been exactly kind to Madison, considering she has to use an oxygen tank every so often. And while she’s out searching for the next kid, she runs into Morgan again. She warns that the people she’s with will kill him “in ways you can‘t imagine.”
Morgan marches Madison off down the beach. We get a look back at the first scene and it’s actually Madison being interviewed. Someone tells her: “We will tell you who you‘re going to be from now on.” Ominous stuff. Back at the boathouse, Madison tells Morgan that little Mo’s already been rescued by her people. Then Morgan sees a notebook from PADRE. He wants Madison to take him to wherever they’d have taken Baby Mo. Instead they wind up in a fight after a zombie turns up and distracts Morgan, but in the midst of it he sees Madison’s wrist tattoos: Alicia and Nick.
Now, Morgan understands who Madison is, and things are so much more complicated. He says he’ll tell Madison everything about her kids in exchange for Mo. Madison says the only way to do that is to “rescue another kid” to replace Mo. Morgan wonders if pregnant Ava will suffice in place of an already-birthed child; Madison says it’ll work. Not moral, but is anybody wholly moral in this post-zombie, post-nuclear apocalypse? Not really.
The pair keep walking and talking. Morgan doesn’t say much about Alicia, and certainly not about Nick’s death, though he does mention Alicia’s been searching for PADRE. They make it back to the house where Ava’s hiding and we get another glimpse of Madison’s dealings with PADRE, being inducted into the ranks of child stealers. Morgan and Madison go to see Ava, who’s only concerned about her husband Jim. Madison talks about PADRE, calling it the “best shot” kids have for a future in this world, and Morgan plays along, too. That doesn’t mean Morgan is sold on PADRE. The more he hears about PADRE, the less he likes it, as Madison explains PADRE has “rewritten the book” on how people live their lives, especially the way we have attachments to things and people. Sounds a bit robotic, or perhaps fascist.
Morgan, Ava, and Madison are interrupted by a group of people after Madison, so they have to make a run for it. Ava trips and gets hurt on the way. They take cover in a family crypt close to the house just to be safe for Ava’s baby. When Madison tries to check Ava’s baby she realises that Ava isn’t actually pregnant. Because Ava actually knows Madison. She had her daughter Odessa taken. She wants to be brought to her daughter. Madison then says Morgan won’t be getting Mo back. And things are rapidly devolving here. Morgan realises Madison is too far gone. She doesn’t even want to see her kids again, so that’s no bargaining chip. Then why is Madison out there doing what she’s doing? Her “own reasons.”
Shit goes sideways after Ava smashes Madison’s oxygen tank, then gets her dead grandfather’s hunting gun out of the crypt. Oh, man! Ava gets on the radio and calls for the people who came hunting Madison. She wants Morgan to tell the people on the radio where to find Madison’s kids. Very awkward since one of the kids is dead and the other is AWOL. But what does Morgan do? He claims both Alicia and Nick are dead. Madison can’t take that, refusing to believe it’s true or that Morgan even knew her children. Morgan tells the truth about Nick, but he lies about Alicia partly.
Suddenly, the world’s a lot less bright for Madison. She sits in disbelief, as Morgan and Ava stand by the door with the radio. Now there’s no deal for the posse on the radio, meaning Ava has to work with Madison and Morgan to get out of there safely. That does mean they need Madison to help, though she’s near catatonic at the moment until she asks about what Nick and Alicia were doing when they died. Morgan says they were looking towards better things despite being in a bad place at the time. Madison explains that her work with PADRE, which she was forced to do, makes her feel ashamed, and that’s why she doesn’t want to see her kids again.
Then the posse come looking at the crypt. The trio are stuck now. Madison tells Morgan to let them in, but he wants to find his daughter. After a moment, Morgan tells the posse he’ll hand Madison over and lets them into the crypt. The man leading the group puts a bag over Madison’s head and they prepare to dig a new grave on the beach.
The posse return after putting Madison in the beach, leaving her to watch the tide come in for her. They want to go to PADRE but Morgan thinks there’s no sense charging in like idiots. Ava convinces the men to leave Morgan alone, and Morgan promises to keep out of their way. She’s going with the men to find her daughter. When they’re gone, Morgan rushes to the beach and saves Madison from the approaching tide, as well as soggy zombies on the shoreline who’ve reanimated particularly hungry; a great double-back after Madison saved Morgan on the beach, except from actual living people. While Morgan digs Madison out he tells her how her kids helped him when he was in a very dark place, seeing what Madison instilled in them: “So in a way, I kind of owe you.” Poor Madison still can’t breathe well, meaning Morgan has to not just dig her out by get her some oxygen, too. They both also see Ava and the others are the zombies floating up on the shore, already dead from trying to infiltrate PADRE. Zombie Ava knocks Morgan over, and Madison’s able to save him again. What a rough day!
Madison wants to help Morgan get Mo back, but she warns the only way to do this will be to “take them another child.” He thinks there may be another way to do things, though. So Madison gets in contact with PADRE and they meet some men at the boathouse. Morgan claims he knows where to find other children, but says he has to go along with the group in order to give up the location. The PADRE men agree. They blindfold Morgan and Madison before heading out to PADRE’s secret location, and we see there’s a ship off the coast awaiting their arrival. Lots of interesting things to come for next season just with this final shot.