The title of this week’s episode of Fear the Walking Dead, “MM 54,” refers to Mile Marker 54, which is the setting for the Filthy Lady’s origins story, which is essentially what gets everyone in the mess that they are in by episode’s end, and that mess is a doozy. It is at Mile Marker 54 soon after the outbreak began where the Filthy Woman’s husband catches some sheet metal from a road barrier in his chest after a car accident (his predicament is not unlike that of Polar Bear’s last week), and he’s trapped in the passenger’s seat, slowly dying.
The Filthy Woman, stranded with her husband on the side of the road, believes that her husband will somehow miraculously survive if only they could receive some assistance. However, the people driving by in their cars repeatedly ignore her pleas and pass them by, and with no outside help, her husband eventually dies. In a haze of anger, shock, and sadness, and while burying her dead husband in a grave she digs with her bare hands, the Filthy Woman loses her damn mind. She decides to take her anger out on the very people who help others because no one would bother to help her. For the Filthy Woman, that means tracking down all the truck drivers leaving supplies on the side of the road and killing them with the intent of tracing it all back to its source, Polar Bear.
Alas, Polar Bear is already dead, so the Filthy Woman decides that Morgan Jones will have to do, hence her decision to fill the 18-wheeler full of bullet holes at the end of last week’s episode. The spray of bullets leaves a few injured, but no one dead. In a gunfight with the Filthy Woman, she takes a shotgun blast to the chest but survives, driving away in Althea’s van. The 18-wheeler, meanwhile, goes up in flames, leaving Morgan and company on foot with a horde of zombies on their tail.
With Wendell without his wheelchair, the gang finds a chair for him to sit on, puts it on a piece of cardboard, and scoots him along on the pavement, so it’s slow-going, and they cannot outrun the zombie horde. Eventually, Morgan guides them toward a hospital with the horde behind them, and they barricade themselves inside. Alas, the horde breaks into the hospital, leaving Morgan and the gang nowhere to go but up. Althea manages to get the generator working so that they can all get to the roof of the hospital by elevator, but Althea is left trapped inside the generator room, surrounded on the outside by zombies.
Everyone else does manage to get to the roof, but there’s no way down. Worse, Jimbo — the beermaker — has been bitten, so he’s going to die a slow death on top of the roof while everyone else waits out their own deaths (unless we find out that all that beer he drinks immunizes Jimbo to the zombie virus). There’s nowhere to go. The fire escape is broken; the hospital is surrounded by zombies both inside and outside, and unless someone from The Walking Dead comes along with a helicopter, I have no idea how Morgan gets them off the roof. Even with a helicopter, Althea is still remains trapped inside the generator room.
“You got us here,” June tells Morgan. “Can you get us out?”
“The thing is, I can’t,” Morgan tells her.
“You will,” June replies, confidently.
All is not completely lost, however, because elsewhere, Charlie and Alicia — seeing that the 18-wheeler has gone up in flames — decide to continue their journey to the beach in Galveston because they have no idea where Morgan is, and Alicia just really needs a win. Getting Charlie to the beach might feel like a win, even if Morgan and Company are dead. However, on their way, they find a river that wasn’t on the map, because it’s a river that was created by a levee that broke. On the other side of that river, they presumably spot John and Strand before the credits roll. “Holy sh*t,” Alicia says, smiling as she looks to the other side of the river.
With two episodes left on the season, the situation is this: John and Strand are still stranded on the other side of that river, but Charlie and Alicia may be able to help them cross. Meanwhile, Morgan and the rest are stuck on top of a hospital roof, but if Alicia can find them, there’s still hope. Maybe. Being stuck inside of a building surrounded by a horde of zombies is not a new situation for Alicia — recall that she faced similar circumstances in season three when she and others were trapped inside an underground bunker surrounded by a horde. What they need is an explosion to distract the zombies, but that still doesn’t solve the problem of how to get Morgan and Company down off the roof. Meanwhile, the Filthy Woman is still out on the loose, and she still has Althea’s armored vehicle, so they will need to deal with that situation, as well.
I have no doubt that they will all find a way out of their predicaments; I just hope that Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg find cool and plausible ways to get them all unstuck. With two episodes left, like Alicia and Charlie, viewers of Fear the Walking Dead just “needs something to be good.”
— Upon finding out that he had been bitten, Jim says, “But I have beer to make!” Ugh. Jim the beermaker may be the least liked character in the history of Fear the Walking Dead. No one is sad to see him die.
— This episode was directed by Lou Diamond Phillips, who appeared on The Talking Dead. Also, Sinbad also appeared on The Talking Dead, if you were wondering where he is these days (he’s also on Fox’s new sitcom Rel.
— Alicia had to deliver some really bad lines in last night’s episode, including the fact that she just “needs something good,” which she had to say two or three times.