Airing Sundays at 9pm on AMC in the US
Director: Michael E. Satrazemis
Writers: Ian B. Goldberg & Andrew Chambliss
Essential Plot Points:
- Madison, alone in the woods, gun in hand, stepping around a tripwire is the first thing we see. The second is the woman she’s holding at gunpoint for her car. The woman refuses, Madison trips and shoots and…we see the person she’s talking to is Al.
- Meanwhile back in the awful present, the SWAT van is surrounded by literally hundreds of Walkers and John does not have long left at ALL. Naomi begs them to help, Al hands the camera to Charlie and-
- Back in the past, in the truck, Madison and Al are bickering over the keys. Al is tied up, quietly cutting herself free. Madison is desperate, she needs the truck to find people. They clash, Al breaks free and there’s a fight. Al wakes up, alone.
- In the present, they get as close as they can to the sickbay. Al warns them that they only have ammo for one clearance and John wakes up, begging them not to do it. Naomi kisses him on the forehead and she and Morgan deploy the second Al’s guns clear the path.
- And the second they go through the doorway, it explodes, burying them. They’re alive but they’ll need a new way out.
- And then Charlie spots the other survivors, in the stadium, making their way down to the truck.
- In the past, in another stolen truck, Madison frantically watches the tapes she stole from Al, looking for Alicia and Nick. She doesn’t find them, breaks down and is interrupted by a Walker who she kills, and Al, who holds her at gunpoint. Al demands that she tell her who she’s looking for.
- In the present, Alicia and Al are at a stalemate. Al’s short on ammo, but Alicia is on the wrong side of the dead.
- John wakes up and asks Charlie to record his last will, just in case. He asks her to stop running and to help Morgan and OUR FEELINGS ALL OF THEM.
- Morgan and Naomi radio in, they’ve got the supplies.
- And then Luciana fires a MISSILE LAUNCHER AT THE SIDE OF THE VAN and blow the door off. Alicia appears, holding Al at gunpoint, every Walker dead around her. Stalemate over.
- In the past, Al interviews Madison who is evasive but not evasive enough. Al admits that she interviews people to show that despite the end of the world people are still connected. She talks about her past and her work as a journalist and what it taught her about how everyone’s story matters. She asks Madison what happened to her kids and she starts to open up.
- In the present, Alicia is holding Al and Charlie at gunpoint. Naomi radios in and Alicia orders her to tell them to come out. Al puts the radio down next to John, who opens the channel so the others can hear Alicia. Strand warns Alicia, Al jumps her and the fight is on.
- In the past, Madison explains she wanted a place where her kids wouldn’t have to do what she did.
- In the present, the fight reaches the driver’s seat and Alicia holds Al an inch away from the Walker herd outside. She fights back and the two women bounce each other around, knocking over some supplies. Some supplies Alicia recognizes…She scrabbles through the tapes and finds one marked AMINA and hits play.
- In the past, Madison explains that ‘Amina’ was the name her kids gave an injured bird who they tried to nurse back to health. Amina was badly hurt but the kids refused to give up on her. Madison explains she has to find somewhere safe for her kids, to preserve that part of them.
- In the present, Alicia watches the tape, rapt and heartbroken. Al explains to her that Madison never told her her name, and that the stadium must have been the place she was looking for.
- Morgan is clearing debris and Alicia appears, holding a gun. He refuses to move and she refuses to let Naomi live. Because Madison is dead because of her actions. Morgan talks Alicia down, explaining that he stepped aside for Nick but he won’t for her and how much he and she can both change. Alicia breaks down, sobbing, and lets Naomi go and save John.
- In the past, Al hands the supplies to Madison and wishes her good luck. Madison explains how she and her kids got separated and we see her, the next day, reunited with her family. She explains that someone helped her out on the road and that she found something; the stadium.
- In the present, the two groups reunite. Naomi tends to John and Al explains that she never told her family about how they met because of what Madison did. Alicia asks her to pull over so she can give Al the rest of the story.
- John, finally on the mend, is cared for by Naomi who tells him her real name; June.
- The survivors tell the final part of the story; Madison, Stand and Luciana cleared a path and got them out. But everyone else panicked. They opened the gates and ran, including Mel, who stole their getaway car and rescued Charlie.
- The caravan ground to a halt. The cars were trapped. June explains she tried to persuade them to stay but it was too late, the dead had already over run the stadium. Strand, pointedly, understands why June fled. Even if he didn’t absolve her.
- The survivors explained that they had no choice but to clear a path back to the stadium. But Madison had another idea; she popped a flare and attracted the herd of Walkers towards her, and away from the cars.
- We see Strand saving Alicia from a burning Walker, explaining the scars on his hand.
- Madison led the herd inside and tried to escape but there were too many for her to escape. She locked herself in, and we see her surrounded, firing on Walkers as they lumber towards her.
- Her last message to her kids is ‘No one’s gone until they’re gone.’
- Then she throws the flare onto the bone dry grass in the stadium, and sets it alight. Madison dies so her kids, her family and complete strangers can live.
- Al listens until they can’t talk anymore. Then she stops recording and writes a name on the tape. The name is MADISON.
- And then, Strand takes the terrible kimchi noodle pots Al traded to Madison months ago off the stove, pointedly hands the first one to June and the second to Charlie and then the rest.
- Slowly, grumpily, the survivors sit down to eat. They’ve got nothing but each other. But now, at least, they have that.
That’s how you do a half season. From the start to the finish, this hasn’t just been the strongest run of Fear The Walking Dead ever, it’s Top 3 in the best seasons show both shows have ever produced. The split time frame, the surprisingly rapid resolution of the Vultures plot, Morgan, John, June, all of it has worked brilliantly.
This finale is no exception, cleverly playing up the fact the survivors haven’t really had a chance to compare notes yet to give Madison way more time in the spotlight than she’s had elsewhere this year. Kim Dickens and Maggie Grace have fantastic on-screen chemistry and the slowly burgeoning trust between the two women is as inspiring as it is cautious, and sweet. This is also the closest we’ll get to filling the gap between seasons 3 and 4, with Madison still very much fixated on doing better than she has in the past. That in turn throws a lot of light onto how far these characters have come, in every sense. The Clark family had no manner of luck at all but they all kept trying even to the end. Madison, Travis, Nick. All of them died to serve a greater good, regardless of whether or not they did the right thing.
This is, deservedly, Kim Dickens episode and she’s phenomenally good throughout. Madison’s tired, determined idealism is so well realized, and so focused by Al, that it’s a genuine shame she never got to meet Morgan. The pair of them would get on. Determined, resolute and courageous, this is Madison not defined by her past but using it to steer by. She makes an impossible choice and doesn’t blink for a second doing it. Travis, and Rick, would be proud.
But what really works here is the exact thing we were worried wouldn’t last week; the resolution, in every sense of the word. The final scene marries Al’s camera to the survivor’s memories and the plot in a way that’s intensely moving and unusual. But what comes after it is what gets you; Strand reaching out to the women responsible, in various ways, for the deaths of his friends and making peace with them. No one’s gone, like the lady says, and this new-found sense of community embodies everything Madison ultimately died for. It’s also an inspiring, poignant and gripping way to round off this remarkable half-season of Fear The Walking Dead. We can’t wait to see where these folks go next, but as this episode shows, they’ve definitely earned a rest before getting there.
- The format. the dovetailing time periods work beautifully.
- Every single performance. But especially Colman Domingo, Alycia Debnam-Carey and Kim Dickens.
- The way the ending unfolds. That it’s everyone’s fault and no one’s fault and instead of being what drives the group apart that, now, drives them together.
- The closing sequence. The original survivors in particular are heartrendingly good there.
- Nothing. This was the most difficult mid-season finale this show has ever attempted and it absolutely nailed it.
- The song playing over the final scene is Love Love Love by The Mountain Goats.
- Michael E Satrazemis is best known as a veteran director for The Walking Dead and has been a major part of this half season of Fear The Walking Dead, directing three episodes.
- Andrew Chambliss has written for The Vampire DIaries, Once Upon A Time, Dollhouse and many more.
- Ian B. Goldberg has written for Once Upon A Time, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, FlashForward and more.
- ‘If you were gonna shoot me you’d have done it already.’
‘MAN I hope you’re right about that.’
- ‘What happened? I thought you just wanted the story?’
‘I got layers, Alicia. I thought I’d mix it up today.’
- ‘This thing’s built like a TANK IN A TANK IN A BANK VAULT.’
- ‘…You wanna help me with this door?’
- ‘She lived because my kids didn’t give up on her. Gave her a chance when no one else would.’-OUR FEELINGS, MADISON
- ‘Things can change. They did for me, and they can for you.’
‘They CAN. They HAVE. Because look, I’m still here. I stepped aside for your brother. I will not step aside for you.’-OUR FEELING, MORGAN, ALL OF THEM OUR FEELINGS
- ‘You wanna bring people in?’
‘Someone helped me when she didn’t have to. I think it’s time for us to do the same.’-OUR FEELINGS, MADISON
- ‘You still ran.’
- ‘We’d reinforced the walls to keep the dead out. She knew they were strong enough to keep her in.’
- ‘It was never about the stadium.’
‘It was about the people.’
‘It was about us.’-OUR FEELINGS ENTIRE SURVIVING EARLY SEASONS CAST, ALL OF THEM