It's a solo outing for "The Walking Dead" transplant Morgan (Lennie James) as he struggles to figure out which show his loyalty belongs to.
Apparently, Morgan is doomed to constantly find people on "Fear the Walking Dead," as he picked up even more survivors this week.
"I lose people, I lose myself," is his verbal mantra, but his lifestyle on seems to be, "I find people, I find myself." Only this time, he found himself transported 400 miles from Texas into the heart of Mississippi. That puts him smack-dab in the middle between his two shows so we can watch him struggle to figure out which one he's feeling more loyal to.
After inadvertently hitching a ride in the truck he holed up in for the storm, he awoke to find himself at a truck stop at the heart of the care packages mystery. Once inside the unlocked facility, he found himself facing a well-stocked convenience store and a kindly voice on the other side of the CB radio.
We've already seen the boxes left alongside the highway scrawled with the message, "Take what you need. Leave what you don't. See you further on up the road." Tonight, we learned the story behind them.
It started to come clear when a woman spoke through a ham radio set up in the truck stop, asking that was "Polar Bear" in the facility. Morgan didn't give his name, but he did find out where he was and face a new dilemma ... which was just a variation of his classic, old dilemma
Is Anyone Good Anymore?
We started the season seeing the depths of darkness to which Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), Strand (Colman Domingo) and Luciana (Danay Garcia) could fall, so it was refreshing to meet people seeking to do good in this world. The "take-leave-see" packages are a gesture of decency with no intended payoff; just someone doing someone else a kindness.
At least, that's what we thought was happening. It turns out that everyone except for John (Garret Dillahunt) is a bit of a self-serving terrible person in this new world. We learned that five new people would be joining "Fear" in this back half, and Morgan's solo outing brought four of them to the fore, with none of them proving to be of strong moral character.
Sarah (Mo Collins) and Wendell (Daryl Mitchell) provided the backstory on at least one of the "take-leave-see" people, but it was because they took his truck, left him where he was dropping off a box and had no intention of ever seeing him again. Perhaps, this man will be the fifth addition to the cast, a character portrayed by Stephen Henderson, and perhaps he will be as kindly and decent as his box gestures make him seem.
Sarah and Wendell and Jim, Oh My
What an eclectic trio Morgan managed to collect throughout the episode. He first met Wendell outside of the handicapped stall at the truck stop, where Wendell confronted him about able-bodied people using this stall. "All my life, people like you been using the stalls for people like me. I never asked the question, but I’m gonna ask it now. Why?"
The easy answer would have been, "Because it's the apocalypse and you're the first handicapped person I've seen." But this is the new "Fear," injected with new humor, so Morgan tried on the explanation that it's like a little apartment. We're not sure what apartments he's thinking of that just have a toilet and maybe a sink, but they have to be in New York City.
Wendell was traveling with Sarah, and at first they had Morgan fooled into believing they were the do-gooder. It wasn't until he found the third member of their trio tied up with a burlap sack over his head and running from walkers that the truth emerged. Jim (Aaron Stanford) is an award-winning micro-brewer and if you want to hear the story of how beer has been a party of human history since the beginning of civilization, have you come to the right show.
We weren't sure whether to take any of this trio seriously, but opportunistic Jim was the hardest pill to swallow. He spent the entire apocalypse -- it's been years now -- in his brewery and never learned how to kill a walker? Sure, it was played for laughs as this trio copped out of helping Morgan atop a broken down SUV, but his whole character isn't all that plausible.
Who Is Mitch? Who Is the Crazy Lady?
Was it a throwaway like/joke by Wendell, or is there actually a Mitch that they've spoken to on the radio? He and Sarah don't seem too concerned about anyone else throughout the episode, so it's not clear if this was one of "Fear's" unsuccessful attempts at humor, or a hint at how much larger the "take-leave-see" network is.
If Sarah and Wendell are pretending to be a part of the "leave-take-see" network, Mitch might be another delivery driver. The existence of the CB radios indicates there might be more people involved. They also told Morgan that the Mississippi truck stop was the last heading East, but does that mean there are more West?
The reality is that the "take-leave-see" initiative is one built on kindness and the belief that there is goodness in others. There is, but it is in rare supply as the worst of humanity seems to make the better survivors. Whoever had the truck Wendell and Sarah fell victim to their dubious morals, so is that the case with the crazy lady at the end, portrayed by Tonya Pinkins.
We don't get her name, but we see her talking to a walker skewered onto a wall as she writes the "take-leave-see" message on its face. Is she a founder of the movement who is perhaps just a little unhinged, or an opportunistic lunatic who stumbled onto another part of the operation and took it over. She appears to be the voice Morgan spoke to.
And yes, we don't know she was crazy. We're taking this mostly from the fact that she was talking to a walker skewered to a wall and writing the "take-leave-see" message on its face. If that doesn't seem crazy, Morgan doesn't seem to do the same thing over and over again. She's looking to be a part of whatever human threat is coming, and she is definitely intimidating.
Morgan Needs a New Pattern
Maybe it's easily summed up by his admission to the truck trio that he's a coward, but we're growing tired of Morgan running away from things only to run back to them. The season started because he ran away from Alexandria. This back half has been about him wanting to run back there.
After he learned it was a hurricane that hit back in Texas, he wanted to go back there, but halfway there, he reconsidered and decided maybe to run away from that problem as well. Finally, by the end, he'd committed to going back to Texas after all, and bringing his new friends along for the ride.
Can we ever get a Morgan who settles on a path and isn't trying to leave the people he's grown close to only to change his mind and try to go back to them to leave them to go back to them so he can try and leave them again? It's exhausting to write, and it's even more tedious to watch as a character arc.
Make New Friends, What About the Old?
Honestly, it feels a little early to be bringing in new friends already. This group only came together finally at the end of the first half of the season, and they were fractured again immediately when this back half began. Basically, at this point, there is no core group of survivors at all; just a bunch of fractured neighbors.
It seems weird to think about expanding a group that doesn't even exist yet. Couldn't we have had some time to see the core eight cast-members figure out how to work and live together and start to build their survivor team before we start pulling from the bench?
Maybe there's a plan that will pay off in the end, but we were looking forward to the payoff of the first half of the season being this group coming together to create a new core cast we could root for. Then we were looking forward to watching them weather the mother of storms. So far, we've been let down on both counts.
Granted, it's not our place to tell them how to tell their story, but this back half has been a bit all over the place and it feels way too soon to splinter by episodes this already splintered group. That said, though, this episode did intrigue us as to how these newcomers will impact the core, and how everyone else survived the hurricane.