Last season’s storyline concerning the villain, Martha (aka, The Filthy Woman), may have been one of the lamest storylines in all of Fear The Walking Dead history. She was a woman who randomly killed characters who were trying to help others because, after he husband was hurt in a car accident, no one bothered to help him. It ended with Morgan handcuffing Martha to a car and leaving her to die.
This season’s documentary storyline, however, may have topped the Filthy Woman in the lame department. Recall that the fifth midseason premiere was filmed documentary style, largely by Althea, who was introduced last season as a character who insists on documenting everything with her videocamera. We learn at the end of the midseason premiere, however, that all the footage she took in that episode was turned into a video designed to promote how the group helps out everyone. That video was left playing on a loop on VCRs in a number of area truck stops.
Much of this week’s episode, “Channel 5,” was also made up of videocamera footage. However, we learn that the Convoy’s nemesis, Virginia, created a video of her own to compete with the Convoy’s video. Her video also says that she aims to help people, but at the end of the video, she asks that its viewers use Channel 5 on their walkie talkies to contact her (as opposed to the Convoy’s channel 4).
So, basically, Althea and Virginia are fighting a propaganda war in the zombie apocalypse using walkie-talkies, camcoders, VCRs, and truck stops. Althea, meanwhile, is determined to record everything, which led to her own kidnapping earlier this season. Her video footage also tipped Logan off to the whereabouts of the oil fields, which led to his death (and that of his colleagues) as well as the hostage-taking of Luciana. Thanks to those videos, the enemy, Virginia, also knows everything about the members of the convoy.
I’m not sure anything good has come from Althea’s videos. And yet, she continues to insist on documenting everything. In this week’s episode, it is to strike back against Virginia in the propaganda war by showing these unknown viewers of the video the “truth” about how they help people, warts and all, because Althea believes that Virginia’s videos are misleading.
Weirdly, the new character, Tom, gets really invested in these videos. He is so invested in documenting the truth, in fact, that when an old bridge begins to collapse under the weight of the convoy, Tom sticks around on the bridge to document it when everyone else runs to safety on the other side of the bridge. Tom, nevertheless, gleefully remains on the bridge as the 18-wheeler him behind his falls through and as the suspension wires snap.
It is bizarre, because Morgan and others repeatedly tell him to forget about documenting the destruction of the bridge and get quickly to safety. Tom ignores them so that he can continue to film right up until the bridge falls out from underneath him and Tom plummets to his death.
Why Tom? Why? There is no reason in the world that Tom couldn’t have documented the collapse of the bridge from the safety of the other side of the bridge. Why was it so important that Tom document the bridge collapsing, anyway? What did he have to gain? What did the convoy have to gain? What has anyone gained by all of Althea’s videos? In a season that can charitably be called uneven, Althea’s videos are the worst thing about it.
In fact, in next week’s season finale, someone is surely going to die (I think it might be Morgan). Personally, I don’t really care if Althea dies or not. All I care about is that her video cameras are finally destroyed so that Fear the Walking Dead can finally put this running storyline to bed permanently.