Fear the Walking Dead: 210 Words Per Minute review S5 E10
My favorite episode of Fear the Walking Dead was Laura, the self-contained look at John and June’s early relationship. It was smart, sensible and approached love in this Walking Dead universe like a precious treasure. 210 Words Per Minute doesn’t reach those heights — there’s too many maddeningly idiotic decisions at play — but it does tell a more effective story about helping others than the club on the head version we’ve gotten for most of this season.
Ten episodes in now and the season has been all about Morgan’s crew forcing aid on others to feel better about themselves. The simplest change here, someone actually calling them for help, makes a huge difference in how the episode played out.
Chuck was holed up at the mall living his best Dawn of the Dead life, but in clearing out some walkers managed to get bit. No doubt Chuck approached walker clearing like everyone else in this world and went with a knife instead of some longer range weapon. His request for the crew was simple: kill him and bury him under the stars.
Morgan is all about hopeless causes and takes Dwight and Grace along with him. Gotta question the rationale in taking Grace anywhere when she’s potentially a liability on a rescue mission. I do like the idea of a character operating on an hourglass system where we know eventually they’re going to die. If the writers can manage to avoid the temptation to make every time Grace pauses or sweats a false alarm she could easily be one of the stronger characters in the back hand of the season. She’s got nothing to lose after all.
But she does pass out here forcing Morgan to politely ask Dwight to please get the first aid kit and eventually return to the convoy so they can stock up at the mall. It’s hilarious how after making them such a vital part of the first half, we haven’t seen the kids Alicia and Morgan were so desperate to rescue. I appreciate Dwight questioning Morgan if just for a second. Morgan doesn’t have an answer when Dwight asks how they’re going to handle Logan’s posse and still believes in the Power of Positivity. Wonder if Big E, Kofi and Xavier need a fourth man for The New Day?
For Morgan it’s not about being careful, it’s about doing what’s right. This seems like a great way to get your friends killed approach, but maybe that’s just me? While killing time at the mall, Grace wants to get a better sense of how much time she’s got left and wants to use the mall’s urgent care’s ultrasound. But after Morgan uses an RC car to distract the walkers, Grace thinks she’s found walker Chuck and makes a racket trying to kill him. People can’t possibly be this stupid…
Dwight meanwhile was successful in luring one of Logan’s crew who wants the location of the oil fields. This guy is a bastard and burns one of Sherry’s letters to make Dwight talk, but a conveniently timed walker distraction allows Dwight to take his gun. Morgan’s influence has made Dwight
stupid soft and he offers the guy the same chance Daryl gave him to change. I feel like that’s not going to work here.
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While I usually hate these, the wait the walkers out moment with Morgan and Grace is actually really compelling as they talk about taking chances in love and life and fighting past doubt and regrets. The romantic tension is subtlety played out and their interest in one another makes sense. Eventually they fight through the walkers and find Chuck, who’s not dead yet. For a character introduced in one episode, Chuck’s scene and subsequent death was surprisingly touching.
And this potential Grace and Morgan pairing also randomly developed here, but I’m down for it. The scene at the carousel was a nice moment of normalcy and genuine happiness we rarely get on this show. Daniel finally gets to give Dwight a shave and a haircut, but he also notices Morgan smiling like a love struck idiot as he looks at the carousel…and it terrifies Morgan.
The reality of course is that Grace is going to die eventually and after struggling so long to cope with the deaths of his family, watching someone else he could love proves too much for Morgan. He tells Grace he’s going to meet up with Al’s caravan to back her up and both have a tear-filled reaction as he drives off. I’m annoyed with Morgan for constantly spouting off about hope and doing what’s right, but appreciate the irony that Morgan the man can’t echo the sentiment of Morgan the leader. This conflict finally gives Morgan an interesting edge besides blindly believing that everything is going to work out because he’s doing what’s right.
210 Words Per Minute had some rough and questionable choices, but the Morgan/Grace interlude had me far more invested in them than in any other point this season.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Photo Credit: AMC