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‘Fear The Walking Dead’ Pays Homage To George Romero’s ‘Dawn Of the Dead’ In This Week’s Episode

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This week’s episode of Fear the Walking Dead, “210 Words Per Minute,” can best be described as decent. There wasn’t much by way of story progression, but it was a fairly good character episode, although ironically, the two characters upon whom it focused — Morgan and Dwight — are the two crossover characters from The Walking Dead. It looked like a TWD episode, but it sounded like an episode of Fear the Walking Dead right down to the “candy beansies.”

The episode also paid homage to George Romero’s zombie classic Dawn of the Dead, at least in that it likewise took place inside of a mall full of zombies (interestingly, Matt Frewer — who plays Logan — also appeared in the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead). At the very least, it made of an interesting departure in the setting, and it was fun to see Morgan luring zombies away while driving a remote control car and grinning. Given all the resources in the mall — including beds, an electric generator, a first-aid clinic, and food and other supplements — I have no idea why none of the iterations of The Walking Dead series haven’t set up shop permanently in a mall.

The episode basically consists of two storylines. Grace, Morgan, and Dwight take a call from a bitten man at an abandoned mall who wants someone to do the honors and kill him before he turns into a zombie. It doesn’t feel like the most pressing case, but Morgan and Company take the call. While there, Grace passes out for reasons that remain unclear, though probably due to the radiation poisoning. While she’s recovering in an actual bed inside the mall, Dwight leaves to go help Daniel, but Dwight is abducted by one of Logan’s men along the way.

The Dwight storyline was fairly pat. Logan’s henchman tries to torture the location of Tank Town out of Dwight, but Dwight refuses to give it. While in the back of a truck, Dwight eventually frees himself and holds Logan’s henchman hostage. Instead of killing him, however, Dwight decides to give Logan’s henchman a second chance, just as Morgan’s group has given Dwight a second chance. Dwight basically tells the henchman to reevaluate his life and try to decide not to be an “asshole.” Dwight has “paid it forward,” so to speak, and I suspect the henchman will pay it forward again in a way that will eventually help Dwight with one of his friends.

The more interesting storyline — at least from a character standpoint — is the one between Grace and Morgan. After Grace woke up from passing out, Morgan helped nurse her back to health, and Grace decided that she needed to use the ultrasound and x-ray machines in the urgent care clinic in the mall to find out if she has cancer. Morgan and Grace spent much of the episode trying to get into the urgent care clinic to use them, only for Grace to finally bail on the idea, deciding that she didn’t want to know, after all. The trip to the mall wasn’t a wasted trip, however, as Morgan and Grace found the fella who’d been bitten and spent time with him in his final moments. Grace even brought out a light machine to create stars for the dying guy to see before he expired. It was a sweet moment, and more than anything, that’s what Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg seem determined to create each week: Sweet, heartfelt moments.

I wouldn’t mind so much if the show weren’t called Fear the Walking Dead and it weren’t set in the zombie apocalypse and if it weren’t the sister series to the legitimately intense and terrifying The Walking Dead. But this is what Fear the Walking Dead is now: A show about “human connection” and sweet, heartfelt moments, for better or worse.

Meanwhile, Grace and Morgan’s feelings for each other also begin to deepen in the episode, to the point that they could be a legitimate romantic couple. However, Morgan ultimately bails on that idea. He can’t move forward in his relationship with Grace until he says goodbye to his late wife. That’s a journey of grief that will probably take place over the next few episodes. Hopefully, once Morgan completes it, he can finally move on from the character traits that have defined him for so many seasons of The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead. When Grace dies, however, I’m still hopeful that Morgan loses it and becomes the villain that Fear the Walking Dead so desperately needs.

Additional Notes

— Candy beansies? Really, Grace? Really?

— Not even Logan’s henchman can provide to Dwight Logan’s motivation for needing all that gas. For now, we will continue to assume that Logan really doesn’t like to walk.

— Next week, it appears the focus will be on Alicia, Strand, and the new guy we met last week. Watch closely, and it appears that Alicia also gets her ability to kill walkers back.

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