Airing Mondays in the UK at 9pm on AMC on BT TV
Director: John Polson
Writers: Andrew Chambliss, Scott M Gimple and Ian B Goldberg
Essential Plot Points:
- Following a number of visitors at the junkyard, Morgan (Lennie James) runs, drives, walks and hobbles as far as he can away from Rick and the others, hoping to be left alone.
- John Dorie tries to save Morgan from a group of thugs looking to kill him and take his stuff, but then is captured alongside him.
- They’re saved by Althea, who has a fancy rig with powerful guns inside her SWAT vehicle. She’s a journalist and wants to hear their stories in return.
- The scavenging group comes for Al’s truck, but John and Morgan save her. Morgan sets out alone again, despite being shot in the leg, and John saves him again.
- The trio see a girl lying in the middle of the road. When they approach, her friends and family surround them and take them prisoner.
It’s a smart move to shift the character of Morgan from The Walking Dead over to Fear The Walking Dead, having had him hot foot it across America and put some distance between himself and the allies. Lennie James is an amazing actor who makes you believe everything his character does, and does more without saying a word than most actors can achieve with a whole script.
At the end of the all-out war, he was almost lost to insanity from the killing he had to do, and had separated himself from the group. Tired of people banging on his door at the trash yard, he runs, hotwires cars – ditching them when they run out of gas – to do everything he can to get away. Partly, that’s a necessity of joining the two shows: The Walking Dead takes place near Atlanta, while Fear The Walking Dead is the West Coast cousin that usually prefers Baha California and Mexico.
Thankfully, the man seeing the ugly shadows of his past is gone, and he appears to be back to somewhere near normality. Of course, that’s not really the case or he’d be heading back to the Kingdom, and his anguished face lets you know there’s still plenty of turmoil inside.
Bumping into John Dorie (“like the fish, but with an ie”), a man craving company who believes he may not have spoken for a year, is therefore the last thing he wants. But “karate man” and “gunslinger”, as the robbers dub them, make for a good team (and that description sounds like the most ’80s TV show ever!).
Like a cowboy on the trail, Dorie is a welcome site. Even though a large part of Fear The Walking Dead previously took part on a ranch, it’s was staffed by paranoid end-of-the-world preppers and never had that more noble cowboy feel to it. John (played by Garret Dillahunt, a man so good at being in the Wild West they cast him twice in Deadwood!), adds that the second the camera pans up to his face and hat in front of a fire. The sharpshooting just tops it off.
Alongside them is journalist Althea, whose penchant for video interviews looks as if it will be the framing device that stitches the two series together. It’s pretty obvious there’s more to Dorie’s story than he tells to the camera. If his beloved Laura left with his precious gun, maybe the relationship wasn’t quite how he describes it. He is a lonely man who clearly needs to be with people, and won’t leave Morgan alone, so what lengths did he go to with Laura to maintain that? We’re just hoping his penchant for handing out sweeties doesn’t mean Laura’s a 12-year-old. This world’s bad enough with the dead walking it, it doesn’t need to go there.
The end of the episode brings the two shows crashing together, in what is a tantalising prospect. But if the Clark clan, Luciana and Victor Strand are here in a 2018 world that has seen Negan defeated, then quite a few years have passed for them (remember the gravestones marked 2010 in season two and the 2010 water charts at Brokejaw Ranch in season three?).
The biggest question is, where’s momma bear, Madison? Have the years between the two shows seen her demise, to be relayed as a story on video camera over the course of this season? Has the Clark matriarch finally run out of the grit, gumption and luck that carried her through so many terrible situations? We’re hoping episode two of season four starts to unpeel that onion skin…
Injecting a new lease of life into FTWD, What’s Your Story? is a confident start to a new season, and hopefully the show can maintain that throughout.
- The book John is reading at the start, Love Story, sees a couple pulled apart when one of them has a fatal illness – a regular theme in both The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead, where a bite or a scratch can trigger a slow death.
- When bad people capture good people there’s always a parlay, even though they say they plan to kill them. Sure, the cast would be decimated if every time this happened the bandits just pulled the trigger straight away, but we can’t help think in this harsh world there’d be no discussion, and no opportunity for the inevitable turnaround and escape.
- It’s probably a very, very tiny percentage, but there must be some people watching Fear The Walking Dead who don’t also watch The Walking Dead. We can’t help wondering what they make of the moody guy with the stick, given they lack whole seasons of his backstory and long history with the show.
John Dorie, after he gets up from beneath the walker bodies, in full-on cowboy mode:
“I’ll tell you what, that’s some ugly mustard.”
Morgan, responding to the question of why he left Virginia:
“I lose people, and then I lose myself.”
Review by Matt Chapman