It’s a good thing Fear the Walking Dead got off to such a great start otherwise this last limp to the season finale would have been extremely disappointing.
Typically with the series and it’s sister show, it’s this big build to the finale, but this year the writers shot their best shot at the onset. The storm carried the second half fine, but once the focus shifted to Martha the season went off the rails.
One of the more annoying tropes in the Walking Dead universe is this notion that people can and need to be redeemed. That mindset is fine for a dumb teen like Henry, but for a grown man like Morgan it’s aggravating.
Martha might have had a rough heel origin story, but it’s hardly as traumatic as some other characters. It certainly didn’t justify her actions throughout the season, some of which directly put Morgan and his crew in jeopardy. Does Morgan have some hero complex that compels him to make idiotic decisions? And why would anyone trust his judgment or his vision of the future at this point?
But let’s see how we get to Morgan’s amazing plan for the future.
Althea managed to get away and stumbled into a parking lot that eventually led her to Walker Jim and Martha, who likes her attitude. This is Opportunity No. 63 a character has had a chance to take Martha out, doesn’t and then ultimately pays for it.
But there’s no comeuppance here. Althea awakens and is reunited with the gang. Everyone’s OK and now it’s finally time for a Roooooad Trip! Destination: Alexandria. Not Morgan though. He’s going to find Martha. Apparently Morgan has turned Luke Skywalker and is convinced there’s still some good in her. This is idiotic or stupid. I’m not sure exactly which at this moment as it keeps shifting.
And also, Morgan wants to stop by the depot to pick up more supplies. For a guy with group commitment issues, Morgan sure is asking a lot. My favorite part was when Morgan gave John directions to Alexandria. I’m pretty sure he could find the one fortified place in Alexandria, Morgan.
The crew patiently waits at the rest stop while Morgan goes on his redemption quest. I really like June and John together. They have the kind of sweet relationship we haven’t seen in TWD since Glenn and Maggie. They’re gonna kill one of them real soon, aren’t they?
It doesn’t take Morgan long to find Martha, who’s badly wounded and driving Walker Jim in the back of a stolen police car. After putting poor Jimbo out of his misery, Morgan finally breaks through to Martha and convinces her to not just go with him, but share her origin story.
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Meanwhile, all is not good at the rest stop. Althea was the first to double over in pain, but now everyone else is sick. Morgan is a little rattled and makes the dumb mistake of trusting Martha a bit and she grabs his arm, forcing the car to crash. Oh Morgan. When will you ever learn?
Morgan awakens to see that he’s handcuffed to Martha who gives him the ultimatum — kill me or let me make you strong (i.e. turn you into a walker after I turn). To give him further incentive, Martha tells him she created the mess at the rest stop as she put anti-freeze in the water. I kinda think that’s on June and crew for not noticing the seal was broken. That’s just good hygiene. Besides, didn’t the gas station have a working water fountain anyway?
That’s enough to set Morgan off to want to kill her until he sees himself in the mirror with Martha’s taunting words scribbled on himself: I Lose People, I Lose Myself. Poetic. Still, it’s enough to give Morgan pause and he decides to slice his finger to break the restraint. That’s a negative good buddy. We’d be looking at one dead Martha in this case.
Morgan handcuffs her to the car as he won’t kill her, but he won’t let her kill anyone when she turns. How thoughtful. Tonya Pinkins has really delivered some of the most overblown hammy acting in the history of either series. I will not miss Martha one bit.
The next 15 minutes or needlessly dramatic. Now hobbled from the crash, Morgan moves in slow motion to the rest stop while the others groan and double over in equally slow motion awaiting their death. Morgan reaches them on the radio telling June about the antifreeze shot Martha mixed in the water and quick thinking June says ethanol can counter it. And there happens to be a truck full of ethanol outside.
Time for a dramatic slow-mo fight with walkers at the door to get to the truck. Strand and Luciana reach it, but the lever is stuck just as more walkers close in on them. Althea unleashes another salvo from her SWAT truck that wipes out the walkers and riddles the tank with enough holes to spill the ethanol. Time to die gang.
But wait! Morgan makes a dramatic arrival and asks June if ethanol isn’t just a fancy word for alcohol. This begs the question why no one reached for any of the brew in this rest stop, which is otherwise chock full of supplies. Sigh.
Morgan clears his face from the message and color is back on Fear The Walking Dead. No more grey tones. He takes the crew back to where he handcuffed Martha and finds an arm. Oh, she’s just turned and slowly walking down the road. Morgan kills her and then buries her. Did he bother doing that for Jim?
After all this fuss and because the logistics of a crossover are officially a time traveling nightmare, Morgan decides they’re not going to Alexandria. Martha got so bitter because nobody stopped to help her. In this wild and crazy walker frontier, people still need people. And he wants to that by setting up a new camp at the nearby jeans factory.
Surprisingly no one is outraged by this drastic change in plan and agree to help him start over. The episode ends with the gang rolling out in three fortified trucks presumably on the search for more survivors who could use some help and friends. Like its sister show setting up a base of operations is always the boring way to go. Hopefully next season can find some new wrinkles to make that work though I’m skeptical.
Still, there’s not a lot of shows on TV with three black guys, one of whom is the leader, in key roles so FTWD definitely is keeping my interest for another season. Hopefully next year the writers can start and end the season on a high note.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Photo Credit: AMC