Fear the Walking Dead
“What’s Your Story”
April 15, 2018
HI EVERYONE! Sooooo I maybe took some time off from Fear the Walking Dead last season because after two seasons of a show where not much happened and no one was watching (hi, all six of you who both watch the show and read this blog!), I kinda got burned out and thought my time would better be served writing about rich ladies with purse dogs who get into fights about $5,000 gift cards from Bergdorf Goodman (which is an actual thing that happened on Real Housewives of New York).
And I didn’t watch last season of Fear the Walking Dead until the back half of the season at which point I was all, “Oh shit, did this show finally become kinda good?” But by then it was too late to recap because other junk and I had just kinda resolved that I missed the boat and needed to be at peace with it.
BUT THEN, THESE FUCKERS MOVE THE SHOW TO MY GODDAMNED BACKYARD, ADDED A BUNCH OF REALLY GOOD ACTORS AND TURNED IT INTO A PROPER CROSSOVER WITH THE WALKING DEAD, SO I GUESS I HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO WRITE ABOUT IT NOW. And that is how we have come to this point.
Alright, so over on The Walking Dead, after Morgan started seeing a bunch of ghosts, and after Morgan killed a bunch of guys who had just saved his life, and after Morgan very nearly killed a little kid, Morgan put himself in timeout over at the garbage pile once the All-Out War came to its anticlimactic conclusion. However, his friends in the form of Rick, Carol and Jesus — or imaginary manifestations of them, it’s not entirely clear — wouldn’t leave him alone, reminding him that he cares too much about people to not live among them and trying to convince him to move back with them. So Morgan runs away. Literally.
Morgan runs, walks and drives himself halfway across the country, at once point stopping to try to help a wounded man in an SUV, only to have the guy growl at him to go away, they’re all on their own out here. So Morgan’s like, “ALRIGHT FINE,” and takes his leave.
Morgan soon arrives in Texas …
WELL, HOWDY, Y’ALL, AND WELCOME TO OUR BEAUTIFUL STATE. ALL WE ASK IS THAT Y’ALL DON’T MESS WITH IT, THANKS.
One night, Morgan sees a walker wandering through the woods heading towards a man by a campfire who is yammering away at the person he can hear in the woods, but not see — which, dude, are you new here? BE QUIET. QUIT JABBERING ABOUT HOW LONELY YOU ARE AND YOUR GIRLFRIEND OR WHATEVER, YOU’RE GOING TO GET YOUR FACE EATEN OFF. But before Morgan can Jedi stick the walker, the chatty dude shoots the zombie in the head.
And chatty dude is VERY happy to see Morgan — re: the whole lonely thing and asks what Morgan’s story is. Chatty Dude introduces himself as
Francis Wolcott Jack McCall Burt Chance John Dorie. John offers Morgan food and a place to sleep and asks if in his travels Morgan met a woman carrying a pistol like his, he’s been looking for her for some time.
Morgan accepts John’s offer for a place to rest but sneaks out as soon as he thinks John is asleep.
Further up the road, Morgan finds a tent with a lit lantern in it and while poking around it, is immediately knocked upside the head. When he awakens, Morgan tries to explain to the thugs who have captured him with their little trap that he’s just passing through — if he could have his Jedi stick back, he’d be very much obliged, please and thank you. That’s when John arrives guns a’blazin’ to save his “friend.” This backfires, and John is quickly outnumbered by thugs.
However, both the “gunslinger” and the “karate man” as the thugs name them, are saved in the nick of time when a giant S.W.A.T. vehicle pulls up, driven by Shannon from Lost.
She offers a trade: cigarettes and ramen in exchange for the men, but Head Thug is not interested, so she opens the secret panel on the truck to reveal a bunch of machine guns pointed at them. WELL, THAT’S HANDY IN A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!
Morgan and John load into Shannon’s truck and drive off with her, where she explains that they now owe her for saving their lives — nothing comes for free in this world. She brings them to a trailer park — marked curiously by a flag that reads “51” — where she takes out a video camera and explains that she is a journalist, and the price for saving their lives is that they have to tell her their stories: what they’ve seen, who they’ve met, where they’ve been, where they’re going …
John happily obliges, telling Shannon about his girlfriend Laura and that while the story of how they split up is not a happy one, it will be once they find their way back to one another. But when Shannon turns her camera to Morgan, he’s like, “HARD PASS, and now if y’all will excuse me, I have some lonely wandering around in the wilderness to get to.”
However, before he can leave, as John is trying to give Morgan some new socks for his trip, the men spot the thugs arriving. Fighting fighting shooting fighting. At one point, Head Thug pulls Shannon out of the truck, but she tosses her keys into the bushes before making an escape. When Head Thug feels around for the keys, he’s promptly bitten by a rattlesnake because WELCOME TO TEXAS, BITCHES.
Meanwhile, Morgan chases after a sniper who has positioned himself on a trailer roof — which means one thing: someone is going to fall through a trailer roof. But before that happens, Morgan manages to get himself shot in the leg. This doesn’t slow Morgan down, however, and he keeps fighting until thug is dangling from the roof, being pulled at by walkers below. Redemption Morgan pulls thug to safety, and that’s when thug tackles him for his efforts, and — surprise surprise — they fall through the roof of the trailer. Which is filled with walkers. Thug immediately has his face eaten off, but Morgan, thanks to a Deus ex Grenade he happens to find in the trailer — I MEAN OK BUT WHATEVER — manages to blow his way to safety.
Head Thug is shot by John, Shannon uses her machine guns to save Morgan and John from the horde of walkers, the end.
Back in the truck, John bandages Morgan’s leg, and Morgan and John both reveal to Shannon that they have a “no-kill” rule and she’s like, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUR BRAINS?” Morgan asks about the “51” flag which they took with them, for some reason, and Shannon explains that they started showing up in the last few weeks, before reminding Morgan that he still owes her his story. And Morgan is like, “FINE. PULL OVER. LET’S GET THIS OVER WITH.”
Morgan tells Shannon that he’s from Georgia/Virginia, where he lived in a couple of communities called Alexandria and The Kingdom and there was a tiger. They were good places with good people, but there was a fight and they won and now he’s here. When Shannon asks why he left, Morgan explains that “[he] loses people and then he loses [himself]. Alright, nice meeting you guys, it’s been real, bye!”
Morgan hobbles down the road when he comes across the SUV from earlier with the wounded dude in it, except now the SUV has been driven into a ditch, and wounded dude is not in it. Instead, wounded dude appears to be shambling down the road up ahead of Morgan. Morgan tries to catch up with him, but trips and falls and is nearly eaten by some ditch zombies. Fortunately, John appears out of nowhere again and saves Morgan’s ass. Again. Morgan explains that he needs to see if the guy on the road is the guy from the SUV, so John helps Morgan, they catch up with SUV guy who is definitely a walker, and they kill him and Morgan buries him.
Morgan agrees to return to the truck, but just until his leg heals. As they continue on their trip, they notice a woman crumpled in a heap in the middle of the road and pull over to check on her. But SURPRISE, BITCHES, when they approach her, it turns out it’s Alicia, she’s armed, and her pals, Nick, Mr. Strand, and Luciana are armed and have them surrounded.
“Huh,” says Shannon, “so what the hell is y’all’s story?”
First of all, whoever took over the writing for this show, I’d like to buy you a beer, because y’all are killing it. This episode, in particular, was funny, inventive, built mystery, had a certain lightness to it. DEAR WRITERS OF THE WALKING DEAD: IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE ALL STURM AND DRANG ALL THE TIME, YO. I BET EVEN IN THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, PEOPLE CRACK A JOKE EVERY ONCE IN A FUCKING WHILE.
And a special shoutout to Garret Dillahunt. Dillahunt is a great actor in everything, and I am so glad he joined this cast to bring a little sweetness and humor to an otherwise humorless franchise. His John is the best character either of the shows have introduced since Strand.
As for the episode itself, it did its job efficiently (even if the twist at the end was visible a Texas mile away). It introduced new characters in a way to make us care about them and their stories, while also giving Morgan both a believable way into this particular show, and a satisfying redemption arc, one that he actually earns. YOU KNOW, INSTEAD OF JUST ANNOUNCING: “HE’S REDEEMED NOW, LET’S MOVE ALONG,” THE WALKING DEAD WRITERS. Was the whole business of Morgan and the SUV guy and the whole “live together, die alone” thing a bit on the nose? Sure, but I will let it pass. This time.
One last little thing I wanted to share with y’all was that being from Texas, I was curious about what route Morgan would have taken from Alexandria to WhereverThisIs, Texas. I live in Houston and I happen to travel to New Orleans several times a year, so I know my way around the eastern border of the state pretty well. Morgan, coming from the northeast, is unlikely to have gone all the way down to the road I take, I-10, which hugs the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida. And one of the things I noticed about his entry into Texas based on the two-second shot we were given is that he appears to be on dry ground, not on a bridge.
Now, a lot of the eastern border of Texas is made by the Sabine River, but not all of it:
The blue circle on the map shows the Sabine River’s origin — which means that he probably crossed over into the state somewhere north of that point in the circle.
That’s still a lot of ground, but in the episode, Shannon mentions Tyler, Texas. For those of y’all not from Texas, Tyler is a small city near Dallas in East Texas, a bit north of the Sabine River origin:
And here’s where I think the writers might have been having a little fun with anyone who took the time to wonder where, exactly, all of this is taking place in Texas, and where Morgan crossed the border. There are plenty of small highways that cross into Texas, but there is only one — 172 in Louisiana, 2517 in Texas — that is north of the Sabine River origin, nearish to Tyler … and has this name:
Again, welcome to the cast, Garret Dillahunt! The writers clearly loved your work as Francis Wolcott and Jack McCall.
Fear the Walking Dead airs on AMC Sundays at 8 p.m.