Fear the Walking Dead – Channel 4 review S5 E9

Fear the Walking Dead returns from its midseason break, but it’s more of the same. Channel 4 was another spinning its wheels episode with a wacky telethon feel to it. In that sense it was different from anything else we’ve seen this season although that’s not a great thing in this case.

Not that we needed an episode where the gang is interviewed for a video package to know it, but this cast is way too bloated. There’s far too many characters and all have bought into this goofy theme of redemption and being earnest do-gooders. Helping others isn’t a bad thing, It’s actually admirable, but this crew comes off so silly and naive whenever they try.

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To sell their special brand of propaganda, Al has gathered up a slew of video cameras to record their exploits. This is to show they’re actually good people and aren’t working some scam. It seems somewhat self-serving, not to mention the weird visual of the crew doing a sort of reality show take on their exploits.

They’ve come up with a solid system and after stealing Logan’s fuel tank, they’re operating like a traveling caravan dispersing aid wherever it’s needed. This is a very different set-up than the main The Walking Dead show, but FTWD is lacking any kind of excitement or sense of danger. Granted, the writers can’t immediately start killing off characters, but it’s lacking that anything can happen feel for most of the season.

With such a large cast you’d think the characters would have some fun interplay, but the only ones of note are Salazar wanting to give Dwight a haircut to make him more presentable. It’s a nice character touch for the former barber and a good quirk from a guy who can easily go into psycho survivalist mode.

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The gang reflects on their encounter with a woman named Tess, who was holed up in her house unable to come out. Morgan projected the loss of his wife on her, but it turns out Tess’ husband was out getting asthma medication for their son. And the minefield in the front yard.

For starters this is absolutely the most idiotic plan. Why put the mines in your front yard instead of the immediate vicinity around the home? Also, it’s not like the walkers could see spray paint or signage. Why not have an obvious way to detect the mines in case something blows out into the yard. Naturally the gang is stumped on how to solve this pesky problem.

While half the crew goes searching for asthma medicine, Morgan, John, Al and Luciana consider their options as walkers start “finding” the mines. That didn’t seem like a real problem, but the crew is worried the explosions could damage the house.

Meanwhile, Alicia, Strand and June find Tess’ husband, who was killed and turned after finding the medicine. With a different format that could have made for a nice Walking Dead tragedy. Instead, it felt more like a backdrop for Morgan to resolve his apparently unresolved grief over his wife and son as if his later seasons on The Walking Dead hadn’t occurred.

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This culminates in Morgan going into the yard to get Tess, but stepping on a mine. Will he survive to do the reflection interview? Guess that’s not much of a spoiler after all. Tess does come out and eventually helps him (temporarily) disarm the mine. And after all that, Tess decides to join the convoy. Alicia wants to find out who’s painting those uplifting messages on the trees and then it’s time for the hard sell.

It was hard not to get a PBS telethon vibe from this segment. I could almost hear Morgan saying just give what you can as whatever you can contribute is appreciated as everyone encourages people to help others or if they’re in need to join them.

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A guy watches the tape on a battery operated VCR and TV(?) and blows it off, but might change his mind after Logan’s crew catches up with him and destroys his motorcycle. Logan asks him to deliver a message that they’re making enemies…apparently from trying to help people?

Channel 4 wasn’t the return Fear the Walking Dead needed as the season continues spiraling along with this uneventful Good Samaritan subplot.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Photo Credit: AMC

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