We’re still on the road, but Fear is bringing the band–or the party–back together, more or less. And was last night’s episode better than the shit from the week before? Let’s find out.
Stuck the Wastelands:
June (Jenna Elfman) is watching John’s video on Althea’s (Maggie Grace) camera when she’s not trying to pick him up on the walkie-talkie. She says over the airwaves that she marvels at how confident he was he’d find her, as she’s quite certain she couldn’t have said the same. Al returns about that time and said no joy on diesel: this is bad as the SWAT Wagon is bingo fuel.
So we get the montage of the women sitting around doing nothing, waiting for something to happen, as it’s obvious if they’re going to find fuel they’ll have to venture out father than a day’s travel from the wagon, and Al doesn’t want to do that. They keep sitting around until the moment when they hear something on the radio–
The Happy Time Traveling Salvation Show:
Wouldn’t you know the voice on the other end was Morgan (Lennie James), who has apparently arrived back in the Lone Star State with his new buddies, Sarah (Mo Collins), Wendell (Daryl Mitchell), and Jim (Aaron Stanford). Morgan gives a shout out on their location, giving highway and mile marker locations, and at one point thinks he’s heard someone else talking. While the other Happy Time buddies want to move on, Morgan says he’s gonna look for high ground and everyone should just sit tight. Against their better nature, Sarah says they’re staying put.
Personal Note: Okay, I gotta bitch here because that’s the way I am. Morgan gives his location as “Highway 365 at mile marker 27, heading west”. And we know he’s on the right highway, ’cause we see this:
Now, 76 miles (or 122 kilometers, if you live anywhere ELSE in the world) from Houston would put a feckless travelers just to the east of Giddings, TX, between there and Carmine and only 50 miles/80 kilometers from Austin. That’s doable for the episode and actually makes sense. However, given the way the sign fell and the direction the truck is facing, Morgan is looking to the west, which means they’re EAST of Houston, maybe 160 miles/255 kilometers from Austin.
However… If they were near Giddings they’d be on U.S. 290, which is an improved four-lane highway. Okay, I get it: you can’t shut down a major highway in Texas to film this, so you go to a back road. Not a problem. Only… there is no U.S. 365 anywhere in the country and I know this ’cause I checked. I know that isn’t a state highway because the sign uses the U.S. Highway shield, so they done made up a road because–reasons? Maybe they weren’t allowed to use a real highway designation? All I know is the moment I saw the sign it bothered me–and probably not for the reason you’d think.
See, Morgan said they were headed west, but U.S. 365 ends in an odd number, and in this country, 99.8% of the time U.S. highways ending in odd numbers travel north/sound and those highways ending in even numbers travel east/west. There are a few exceptions–the most notable is U.S. 101 in California, which runs north/south, but that’s due to the highway originally being considered a two-digit number, “10”, with the last number ignored–but if they’re on U.S. 365, they should be heading north or south.
Now, there is a Highway 365 in Texas, and it’s FM 365 and it does run east/west. What does FM stand for? It stands for Farm-to-Market Highway, and Texas has a number of these roads–two lane improved highways–allowing farmers to have an easier time getting their produce to a major market city–and in the case of FM 365 it’s main terminus is in Beaumont, TX, which is just a short trip from Port Arthur, a major port on the Gulf of Mexico. So maybe they’re really on that road? No. ‘Cause 76 miles from Houston on that road isn’t possible. In fact, that would put one well inside Beaumont, or if you went further south, right on the border between Texas and Louisiana. Also, the highway sign for FM 365 looks like this:
I know what you’re thinking: Cassie, why are you so hung up on this stuff? Because I like attention to detail. I mean, I do that with my writing and even when it’s some fantasy stuff, I like to get shit real, if you know what I mean. Fake the location if you must, but try to at least try and get something right.
RT: See, this is the advantage of being an Aussie watching U.S. shows, all this flies right on by me without causing grief. HOWEVER, when it comes to an Aussie show that pulls shit like this, man, am I pissed off! So, I totally feel your pain, Cassidy.
CF: It’s probably particularly galling when you see something filmed in Melbourne and people are getting from one area to another in like minutes and you know it’s more like ten kilometers through heavy traffic to reach that destination. I also figured you’d find this interesting ’cause, yeah, highways here are not something you’re up on. I mean, I get that shows and movies have to do this, but still… it does drive me nuts.
Follow That Wagon!
June and Althea find a truck and head out, hoping to get a better signal. Al is a little pissed because before they left she discovered June ran down the batteries in her camera mooning over John’s video and since they can’t start the SWAT Wagon, they can’t recharge the batteries.
And it’s about that time the SWAT Wagon boogies on by like it’s in a hurry to get somewhere. Al gives chase but ends up blowing out a tire while trying to get around a ‘fridge in the middle of the road and spins out the pickup. There’s another problem: Al’s puking and burning up and June is sure she’s got something bad enough that it could kill her. So while Al lays down and tries not to die, June sets about changing the flat.
While searching for high ground Morgan comes upon a woman at one of the “Take” boxes. He starts telling her how things in that box can help and that she should be careful. We, however, know this is the Filthy Woman with the zombie (Tonya Pinkins) and she’s casting a bit of shade at Morgan as he walks away. Oh, and she’s also refilling the water bottles with stagnate water, which is probably how Al got sick in the first place.
Personal Note: I hate to say it–well, no I don’t, ’cause I’m saying it–but Morgan should have died a long time ago. He just walks up on a person and is like, “Hey, that box can help. So can I”, and it’s his good fortune he’s encountered a psychopath who has some other evil going on. I was shaking my head and thinking, “You’re gonna get gutted one day” and frankly, I hope it’s soon. I was sort of on the fence when Morgan was a member of The Walking Dead, but with the exception of a few scenes in Fear, he’s a waste of screen time here.
RT: You know, I was thinking this exact same thing watching this episode. Morgan is just walking around like he’s been in a commune since the zombie apocalypse started rather than on Rick’s Fuck Shit Up train. Seriously, if Morgan hasn’t learned by now that you need to assume everyone is bad right off the bat (pun totally intended) then he deserves to be killed by Tonya Pinkins’ character.
CF: Morgan’s great moment was in the episode Here and even then his asshollery got someone killed–only it wasn’t him. I mean, how much longer does he wander the wastelands acting like, “Oh, you know, I can help if you need it,” before someone fucks his shit up tight? It’s probably a good thing Madison is dead, ’cause I would imagine she’d be sizing him up for a bullet right now.
The Not-So-Mighty Quinn:
With the spare almost off the truck there’s machinegun fire in the distance and Al is begging June to go after the Wagon, as she knows the sound came from there. She motivates June to go by saying there are meds in the wagon and Nurse June can’t help but get her backpack on and go.
She finds the Wagon stopped by an overturned bus with a pile of bodies in front of it and a guy with a gun behind her, getting ready to blow her head off. Though no introductions are made, we discover later this is Quinn (Charles Harrelson) and he’s not putting up with June’s “You don’t have to do this; we can help each other” shit. However, June has been here before and she knocks Quinn off balance, fights him for the pistol, and finally uses her knowledge of anatomy to knee Quinn in the balls and disarm him. She discovers the SWAT Wagon is out of fuel–again!–and Quinn smoked the zombies so he could check out the bus, which runs on straight gas. June tears the Wagon apart looking for the meds, but only after kicked Quinn out into the cold, harsh night, pretty much telling him to fuck off and die. She radios Al–who had a run-in with a zombie and had to use the truck to crush its skull–and asks about the drugs. Al tells her she lied, there ain’t shit on the Wagon, she just wanted it back.
RT: I just wish Althea would work out that it’s time to give up the SWAT vehicle. Yes, I know it has kept her alive up until this point but she is nearly getting herself and June killed in pursuit of the damn thing.
CF: At this point I think her connection to the SWAT Wagon is this: when the ZA started coming down she was on assignment with a SWAT team that was trying to deal with the situation. I’m also gonna say that something close to her was also on that wagon and… well, you notice none of those people are around anymore. Her comment about the tapes was telling: they let her remember everyone she knew and loved. And I’ll bet the wagon means the same thing to her.
Rest and Re-connection:
June found meds in the bus and they’re making Al better. After a bit of back and forth, Al admits that the tapes are important to her as they’re the only memory she has of the people she’s known and love. In a way, they’re her story as much as the stories of those filmed.
Morgan climbs a water tower and gets through to Al and June. Turns out they’re about fifty miles away and have enough gas to meet up. A while later, as night is falling, they arrive and met the rest of Morgan’s gang.
June is on the radio letting people know where they are and she hears from Quinn, who found more fuel for the SWAT Wagon. They introduce each other and he agrees to meet them. Only… when he gets to mile marker 27 no one is there–due in large part to it being a doctored mile marker 21. Quicker than you can say, “Watch out for that walker”, Filthy Woman and her pet zombie use their ninja skills to walk up on Quinn and bite him. Before Quinn turns she cuts loose her other walker, saying he’d done his job. Now in the SWAT Wagon, The Filthy Woman watches Quinn turn and as she wrote on his face, she tells him he’s no longer “weak” (shout out!)–
Personal Note: given how weak The Code turned out, this episode turned out far better, though they only place Fear had to go after last Sunday was up. I feel we’re getting closer and closer to figuring out just who Althea is, but both her and June had plenty of changes to show they were growing beyond the people we saw at the start of the season.
The other thing noticeable about this episode is that it was directed by Colman Domingo, aka Victor Strand. It was his first shot behind the camera and was exceptionally good for a freshman endeavor. Two weeks from now Lou Diamond Phillips will direct Episode 14, MM 54, which I’m sure stands for mile marker 54. If I had to make an educated guess, I’d say we’re gonna run into the new owner of the SWAT Wagon at that point…
As always, leave us a comment and tell us what you think!
Althea — Maggie Grace
June — Jenna Elfman
Morgan Jones — Lennie James
Sarah — Mo Collins
Wendell — Daryl Mitchell
Jim — Aaron Stanford
Quinn — Charles Harrelson
Filthy Woman — Tonya Pinkins
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sunday on AMC, 9 PM EDT.