(Warning: Heavy Fear the Walking Dead spoilers will be found below.)
Fear the Walking Dead brought its cast all back together in “Channel 5” this week as it heads toward the home stretch of season 5, and at this point, that’s no small feat. The convoy has been picking up characters all season long, including Grace, a bunch of kids, a brother/sister tandem, Wes, Dwight, and even a rabbi. Save for Logan and his team, no one has died this season as the series heads toward its finale which will undoubtedly feature a lot of zombie bloodshed. Whether we’ll see a lot of human blood, however, remains to be seen, and given the track record of Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg, it seems unlikely, as we stare down the possibility of a season 10 with 100 series regulars, each of whom gets 30 seconds of screentime every three episodes.
This episode, to be honest, was kind of a weird one. The theme of this half season has been finding a home, and the convoy — low on gas and running out of food — all came together to make a last push toward finding a place to set up camp for good. At this point, all of the possibilities in the immediate area have been ruled out (including, for some reason, the mall). June has X’d out her map, and the convoy has given up hope. However, hope finds a way when a zombie with a Humbug’s Gulch badge makes an appearance. John sees in the badge a “sign,” and the rest of the convoy gets starry-eyed about the possibility of living in an Old West town built for tourists. It’s 50 miles away, and the group doesn’t have enough gas to get there, but they take off in that direction anyway, because that’s what their script tells them to do.
The backdrop here, however, is that Virginia and The Settlers have made video to counter the one that Althea made, informing those who see it that The Settlers are also helpful, and a better alternative to the convoy. This angers and frustrates Althea, who decides to put together another video to counter Virginia’s, as the two sides engage in a low-tech apocalyptic propaganda war, only instead of YouTube, they’re using gas-station televisions and VCRs. Althea and others are determined to make their video an honest one, rather than the misleading video that The Settlers have put out. As part of that honesty campaign, Althea wants to capture all the setbacks, too. That comes into play later in this episode when the convoy can’t cross a decaying bridge in their 18-wheeler. Virginia — who has somehow been watching the whole time — offers to help in exchange for them joining her group. The convoy declines and strikes out on their own, but Virginia unleashes a horde of zombies on them.
In their rush to cross the bridge, however, the convoy puts too much weight on it and it collapses, bringing the convoy’s 18-wheeler down with it. For some ridiculous reason, Tom insists on documenting the collapses of the bridge with his videocamera while standing on the bridge. In the world’s least surprising development, Tom falls through the bridge and dies.
Tom’s death, however, only emboldens the convoy, who decide to walk the 15 miles or so to Humbug’s Gulch. On the walk over to Humbug’s Gulch, John and June ask the rabbi to perform a wedding ceremony for them when they arrive; Wes flirts with Alicia; and Morgan almost confesses his feelings for Grace, although she asks him not to because it would make it harder on Morgan when she dies, as she expects. The convoy ultimately pins all its hopes and dreams on Humbug’s Gulch being a habitable spot, but when they arrive, they are devastated to find that the town has been overrun by zombies. Faced with no food, no water, no gas, and no place to live, Morgan and the convoy are left with no other choice but to swallow their pride and call Virginia and ask for help. End credits.
Now, the thing is: It appears at this moment that Humbug’s Gulch is overrun, and that Morgan and the convoy have absolutely no choice but to join Ginny and The Settlers. However, scenes from next week’s episode airing right after the episode seems to give the game away. Despite calling Virginia, Morgan and Co. have decided to clear Humbug’s Gulch anyway, either because Ginny rejected them or because they had a change of heart and decided not to accept Ginny’s help, after all. I’ve seen enough of Fear the Walking Dead under Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg to know how this ends. They don’t set-up a wedding without giving us a wedding to end the season, and there’s only a happy wedding at the end of the season if they succeed in clearing Humbug’s Gulch of zombies. It will probably be slightly bittersweet, however, because someone will die, probably sacrificing themselves for the greater good. This will probably be Grace — who is already about to die — or Morgan, who has been positioned to die. These showrunners are not likely to end the season on a bummer note, but they probably will set up next season conflict between the convoy and The Settlers, which is to say: It will be a season-long continuation of the last three episodes.
— Here’s the preview for next week, where you can see that they’ve decided to clear Humbug’s Gulch.
— So, they just forgot about Luciana? They’re just gonna let her rot at the oil fields? Remember when Luciana was a main character?
— Remember when Alicia was the show’s best bad ass? Now she paints trees. However, after they clear Humbug’s Gulch, we can look forward to seeing Alicia and Wes paint “on a different medium.”
— Garrett Dillahunt is one of the best character actors of his generation — he’s so good that he appeared as two characters on Deadwood. Here, he’s basically been reduced to mooning over June and occasionally delivering a wry line.
— In fact, it feels like almost everyone on this series has been sidelined, of late, in favor of Morgan and whoever he is paired with on any particular episode.
— Candy beansies? Seriously? Grace is dying of cancer, and she wants Morgan to find her some candy beansies.