Al is quickly becoming one of my least favorite characters in these five seasons of Fear the Walking Dead. The End of Everything was an Al-focused episode that did nothing to change my mind. Typically, these spotlight episodes reveal some hidden truths and vulnerabilities to make the characters more relatable or at least more likable. That didn’t happen with Al, who continues to be a huge liability.
Early on, Al’s recording was a neat character trait, but it’s become an annoying crutch that’s devolved to being a storyline monkey wrench. Her pursuit of the truth and wanting to tell stories is fine and all, but not when it comes at recklessly putting others at risk. It’s not like she’s going to cobble together some Emmy award story that’s going to change the face of Walker World.
This episode found Al at her most insufferable as she played this lengthy game of cat and mouse with an armed woman (Sydney Lemmon) dressed like the radioactive soldier. Eventually, we learn her name is Isabelle. She wanted the tape Al had and despite having a gun with a walker style bayonet, Al acted like she was in control. This was kind of annoying and Al behaved like she was a pivotal character in the series that was never in any danger of getting killed in a spotlight episode.
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The episode basically played out with Isabelle and Al awkwardly working through their attraction and being tight-lipped about their agenda. For Al, it was just chasing another story. Isabelle wanted Al’s recording as she talked about a shadow organization that was working to fix everything. They’d even worked out their own water purification system. And with the team not reporting in, Isabelle’s friends were sending a reclamation squad in next. Al wasn’t interested in giving up the tape for nothing and wanted Isabelle’s story in exchange. This story for a favor trick doesn’t work as well when Al has nothing in return of value.
This could have been interesting, but Al is such a flat character and Isabelle was even less engaging. There were a couple of nice dramatic moments like Al luring a barbed wire walker to help free her and a perilous mountain climb, but this was a thin premise stretched out and dragged out for an entire episode.
As usual there were the common only in the Fear the Walking Dead style moments like a rockslide totaling Isabelle’s car in a ridiculously contrived moment. And Al and Isabelle go back and forth over who has control of the situation. Again, that could have been intriguing if both characters weren’t so devoid of charisma
Isabelle decides not to kill Al and instead makes out with her. Do TV LGTB characters just have to settle for anyone else who’s LGTB due to a lack of options? It’d be more interesting if we could get the occasional platonic friends who just happen to be LGTB.
After watching Isabelle fly off, Al radios Morgan and she reunited with Morgan, Alicia and the Kid Commandos. Hopefully next episode can get things back on track as it’s starting to feel like a long time since the outstanding Humbug’s Gulch, but I’m not so optimistic anymore.
Rating: 4 out of 10
Photo Credit: AMC