“Fear the Walking Dead” Season 4, Episode 11, “The Code”

Ryan Green/AMC

 

Due to Internet issues and a general feeling that kept me from getting my butt in gear, last Sunday’s recap is coming just a tad late.  But that’s okay, ’cause once you see where this is going, you’ll understand how little that means…

 

Dude, Where’s My State?

Seeking shelter from the storm, Morgan (Lennie James) finds a semi-truck on the side of the road. He can’t get into the cab but he is able to find his way into the trailer, where he discovers a bunch of those “Take What You Need” boxes in the back.  One of the things he finds is a peanut butter energy bar and he sits down and enjoys it, as it’s his first he’s had since that bitch Michonne ate his last one.  (Note: I have to admit I loved this little shout out back to a past episode of The Walking Dead. It was one of the few things in this episode that brought a smile to my face.)

RT: Haha! I thought exactly the same thing here 🙂

Morgan falls asleep and when he wakes up the storm is gone.  So is the place where he found the truck, as he’s now at a station in… Mississippi?  Yep, he slept through a road trip of at least 500 mi/800 km.  Dude must have been tired.

RT: This was the first whiff of horseshit for me… You survive the zombie apocalypse by being on your toes, not by sleeping through a truck trip!

CF: And he was sleeping on the floor of the trailer, which would make me think the first big bump and you’re wide awake.  This was really the first red flag for me.

RT: Absolutely!

Inside the truck stop he finds more “Take What You Need” shit and a CB radio with a woman on the other end telling him the same.  He also finds a bathroom and while dropping a deuce in the handicap stall a guy in a wheelchair shows up–and since he’s got a shotgun you know he means business.

Twin Dilemma:

In no time we meet Wendell (Daryl Mitchell), the dude in the wheelchair, and June (Mo Collins), who is not.  They claim to be twins–which could be true, as we know biracial twins are fraternal–and they are the truckers who are laying out the boxes we’ve seen up to this point.  Turns out helping others are part of the “code” (shout out!) and they’d done this for a while. They want to know Morgan’s deal and he tells them he needs to get back to “his people”, though I had problems figuring out if he meant his people in Texas, or his people in Virginia. (Note: Rachel let me know that she had the same issue: it was never really clear if he was talking about going back to Alexandria or Texas.)  Turns out he’s heading for Texas, so June and Wendell set him up with a car and tell him he should be able to make it if a certain bridge isn’t out–

RT: I am hoping AMC meant there to be confusion here because, otherwise, it was just poor writing here.

CF: I want to think something got lost in editing and that’s why it was so confusing.  But I’m guessing no.  Andrew Chambliss and Alex Delyle wrote this, and Andrew is the Executive Producer and Alex is a staff writer.  I want to believe the script was rushed, but I don’t know for sure.

RT: Yeah, it was completely off. The only thing I can think of is that they wanted the audience to be confused because so was Morgan?

So Morgan once more heads west, abandoning his car at one point and walking to the bridge in question.  It’s still standing and in good shape, but right here is where Morgan starts up with his “I can’t be around people” shit and he radios that the bridge is out and he’s coming back.  Which he does.  Only now he’s in a hurry to get the fuck out of Mississippi because June and Wendell wanted to know where Alexandria was–so they could visit, you know?–and Morgan gave them some bullshit interstate exit number intending to get them lost.  So now he’s off to Virginia because why the fuck not?  I guess he figures Crazy Rick can’t handle a couple of assholes in a semi pulling up to the gates of the Safe Zone.

The King of Beers:

It isn’t long before Morgan comes across a bound man running from zombies and this turns out to be Jim (Aaron Stanford). After Morgan rescues his ass they continue eastward and Jim recollects what happened, which is that he was kidnapped and held prisoner because–beer?  Yep, because back in the Old World Jim was a local microbrewer and apparently his kidnappers wanted his formula because getting great cold beer in the Zombie Apocalypse is a stone bitch.

So who kidnapped him?  If you’re thinking, “Cassie, I’ll bet it was two assholes in a semi-truck,” YOU WIN!  Yep, Sarah and Wendell not only kidnapped him, but they’re now blocking the road ahead.  Turns out they drove like a couple of hundred miles before realizing that Exit 77-C off I-81 was some enormous bullshit, but it also shows that these two aren’t experienced drivers as all you’d have to do is find a FUCKING MAP and check it before heading out.  Oh, and they also knew the bridge he said was out wasn’t, but for some reason they decided to waste fuel joy riding around.

RT: Yep, this was just a big ole mess of bullshit right here. Can you tell I’m pissed with this episode?

CF:  This has been the first episode of Season 4 where my mind started wandering and I couldn’t wait for the episode to end.  Fear hasn’t done that too me much, but I was feeling it hard here.

(Note: While most Interstate exits have an A and B listing, there are almost NO C exits, because that indicates you have three possible exits at that mile post–usually happening at major cloverleaf interchanges–although the State of Wyoming uses A-C and B-D exit listings to denote north/south and east/west exits.  There is an Exit 77 on I-81, but it’s in southern Virginia and nowhere near where one would get off to go to Alexandria, VA.  Here’s the actual exit and it’s easy to believe Morgan remembered this location because of the truck stops, which means he may have stopped there on his way west to see if he could find provisions.  The picture below says I-77, but it’s also I-81.  Trust me.)

RT: Once again, I love your attention to detail Cassidy 😀

CF: The moment I heard “77 C” I was like, “What’s this shit?”  I figured there was a real exit–and I proved it a few days later–but I knew the C was crap.  That’s what also warned me that Sarah and Wendell weren’t real good drivers ’cause they should have picked up on that right away.  But they didn’t.  ‘Cause we needed them to drive around for a while to help Morgan do stuff… and things.

RT: Ah, see that was completely lost on my Aussie brain 🙂

What’s the Story, Morning Glory?

The truth comes out: Sarah and Wendell took the truck off the dude who was actually putting out the boxes–they didn’t kill him, but rather just abandoned his ass in the middle of nowhere–and they kidnapped Jim because Sarah desires a beer.  They really want to know the location of Alexandria because they figure they can just roll in there and take shit, but that’s some laughable bullshit considering what Crazy Rick would do to their asses should they make that move. So they’re heading back to the truck stop at this point, though I’m not sure ’cause by this time I had no idea where the fuck anyone was going.

At this point, Jim decides to go over to the Dark Side and give Sarah what she wants ’cause he believes he can use beer to start up an economy, just as it’d been used thousands of years before.  By this time Morgan is probably wishing he’d gone to Texas but we’ll never know ’cause Sarah and Wendell get the truck stuck on some broken pavement at a bridge and they have to start unloading the back to lighten the rig.  While this happens Jim happens to knock Morgan down the bridge embankment and he barely manages to get onto the roof of a nearby car.  Instead of coming to help, Sarah, Wendell, and Jim leave him on the roof to meet his end.

RT: Can I just say right now that we really don’t need this level of alcoholic bullshit this late into the apocalypse?

CF: I could see beer being used to barter, but the whole, “I need a drink, make me beer” line was crazy infuriating.  This episode really felt like they needed a way to bring in the new Bad to the show and they came up with this bullshit side adventure.

Finding My Way Home:

Knowing that Sarah told him those boxes do no good, Morgan finally decides–after sitting on the roof of that car until late at night–to make a run for it.  He jumps and almost gets bitten, but there’s a “Take What You Need” box nearby–because Sarah and Wendell just happened to mention they left the boxes near mile markers ending in “4” and yeah, it’s one of those markers–and it has a multi-use knife.  He cuts his bindings and proceeds to use the mile marker post to dispatch the zombies.  He also lets the Mother Truckers know that the boxes do help and he’s on his way back to his people–

They all meet up and Morgan says he does want to return to the Safe Zone, but first he has to go back to Texas and pick up people he knows there and take them along because, hey, if Season 5 of Fear is the last, let’s get everyone together on the flagship show.  So they all head west, dropping off boxes at “Ending 4” mile markers, while Morgan is on the CD telling the woman he spoke to in the beginning of the episode where they’re going and how they’re helping people–

Of course, no one has any fucking idea that the woman on the other end has a zombie–probably the original truck driver–pinned to the wall of her abode, with “Take What You Need” written his decaying face.  She chuckles and tells Ol’ Dead Head, “I guess this means we’re going to Texas.”

 

Personal Note: After the brilliance of the previous episode, this one was a real letdown. Not only did I have trouble figuring out where the hell Morgan was going, but I didn’t get the motivations of Sarah and Wendell. Are they helping people just hoping to take their shit?  And what’s their connection to the woman on the radio, if any? A lot of it wasn’t making any real sense.

RT: This is exactly how I felt too. Did the writers just put all their brilliance into one episode and hope it will prop the season up? I bloody hope not!

CF: This is really the least thought out episode of this season and I think it’s due in part to what I touch on below: Morgan isn’t an interesting character and they don’t know what to do with him. So he’s sent off on this crazy bullshit run a couple of states over and this will get the New Bad onto the show, where she’ll raise hell in Episode 12.

RT: I totally agree with you on this one.

CF: And then we have Morgan and his “I lose people” bullshit and yeah, I get it: Morgan has PTSD from all the shit he’s been through, but after a while you realize this is the only goddamn motivation Morgan has and watching him vacillate between not wanting to return to Texas but wanting to go back to Alexandria, only maybe I should get the people in Texas now so we can all go back to Virginia… fuck man, make up your mind. You’re driving me nuts with your shit and that ain’t healthy.

Morgan has real mental health issues; I grok that completely. So if he is afraid of losing people close to him why not just hunker down in the mountains and stay secluded like the Jeremiah Johnson of the Zombie Apocalypse? Because no one wants to see that.  I got news for you, AMC: unless Morgan starts growing as a character and stops being a one-trick pony, no one is gonna want to see him do this, either.

 

As always, leave us a comment and tell us what you think!

 

Morgan Jones — Lennie James
Sarah — Mo Collins
Wendell —  Daryl Mitchell
Jim — Aaron Stanford
Filthy Woman — Tonya Pinkins

 

Fear the Walking Dead airs Sunday on AMC, 9 PM EDT.

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