“Fear the Walking Dead” Season 4, Episode 13, “Blackjack”


Well, life got in the way of Fear the Walking Dead once again, which is why this recap is coming a week late.  But never fear, for late night’s episode will see a recap either later today or tomorrow, so you’re getting a two-fer.

Let’s get into this, shall we?


Road Kill:

After getting the message from Quinn Althea (Maggie Grace) and June (Jenna Elfman) head off to find him.  While they don’t find him, they do find another zombie lying in the road, one with “People Like Us” written on its forehead.  They call Morgan (Lennie James), Sarah (Mo Collins), Wendell (Daryl Mitchell), and Jim (Aaron Stanford) to join them. Sarah’s a bit shocked by the sick shit she find and wants to move on with their original plan and they continue laying out boxes–where we learn this plan originally started with a trucker named Polar Bear, whose notebooks on supplies and routes was in the truck they stole from him–with Morgan adding information about calling them on Channel 4 if they want to talk.

And yes: someone does want to talk.  And that someone is the crazy-ass Filthy Woman (Tonya Pinkins) who is warning them to lay off helping people as it makes them “weak”. Morgan isn’t buying it and tells her they’re going to continue, because helping people is what you should do.  And at this point I’m thinking, “Morgan, you should have killed her when you had the chance.”

RT: Most thoughts in regard to The Walking Dead franchise seem to revolve around “should have killed them when you had the chance.” You’d think they would have learned by now.

CF: Morgan’s the slowest of slow learners. He needed to be a little more like Rick in few instances.

Swiss Family Dysfunctional:

Strand (Colman Domingo) and John (Garret Dillahunt) are trapped on a small island that formed when the hurricane sent a flash flood their way and submerged the surrounding territory.  While they aren’t bothered by zombies, there is an alligator in the waters around the island who’d love to see them later.

Strand isn’t in a hurry to leave: there’s food to keep them awhile and he has an aversion to being eaten by large aquatic reptiles.  John, on the other hand, has a piece of black licorice he wants to give to June and he’s doing everything he can to Ferry Cross the Mersey. Unfortunately for him, he sucks at building rafts out of trees and rope and the one attempt we see fails hilariously.  John isn’t one to give up, however, and after a bit of exploring he finds a pickup truck with a hard shell over the bed.  Because his wound is really bothering him, he has Strand to go and try to unhook the shell.  Unfortunately for him, there’s a bottle of wine in the pickup cab and faster than you can see, “Party Time!”, Strand causes the pickup to tumble down a hill as he goes for the booze.  But don’t worry: he recused the wine!

RT: Can I just say that Strand is officially pissing me off now? He needs to put his big girl panties on and suck it the fuck up because this is the apocalypse and shit gets real on most days.

CF: After this episode I started to wonder if he’s the next of the Originals to take the dirt nap. It does seem like Madison is the only thing that kept him going after the end of the world–and now that she’s gone, he’s ready to go as well.  Only he’s taking the slow way to the end.

RT: Yeah, I am wondering this too. Which seems out of character for Strand since he has always done what needs to be done in order to survive.

CF: But look at his arc.  He wanted to get to Mexico to be with Thomas, who then died.  He was with Madison when she was alone, then Travis returned and he was out again.  Then Daniel found him and his world turned to shit.  He was rescued by Madison and they probably had a decent 2 years together, but now she’s gone for good, in part saving his life.  As far as everything’s concerned he’s really got nothing left keeping him here.  Most people at his point would have just killed themselves, but Strand can’t do that because he is something of a survivor.  So he’s doing all he can to kill himself slowly. Which means others may die in the process.

RT: Actually, that’s a really good point.

John figures out how to fix the camper shell, but he’s a bit pissed at Strand, who shows no interest in getting off the island.  Strand says he’s drinking to forget he doesn’t have anyone to drink with anymore, and my heart breaks just a little when I realize his friendship with Madison went far beyond getting shitfaced during the apocalypse. John continues on and not only fixes the shell, but finds there’s a bit of juice in the pickup’s battery, so they’ll hook up the horn and set it off, and while zombies wade into the water and keep Alley Gator busy with a feeding frenzy, they paddle to shore.  Everything starts off well, but then the battery dies while they’re about half way across the water.  John thinks they can swim for it: Strand is like fuck all that.  And as the alligator beats on their shell Strand says he has no intention on dying and quickly heads back to the island, with John not far behind, losing his hat in the process. Back on the island John eats the licorice he’d saved for June and contemplates his failure.

RT: I think this was the saddest thing I have ever seen.

CF: Watching the one guy who has been pretty much unflappable the whole season just sit and give up was heartbreaking as hell.  You could feel John’s pain.  Garret Dillahunt is the breakout actor of this series and should be getting ALL the awards.

RT: I totally agree about Garret Dillahunt. Ever since reading that he loved the show and wanted to be in it, I knew he would bring something special.

CF: I’ve yet to be disappointed with anything he’s done.  I do hope if these people move over to TWD he makes it and becomes a leader out east.

Beer Run:

Luciana (Danay Garcia) is on the road and finds the library where The Little Prince–Charlie’s book–came from and she returns it with a message that she hopes the girl will find. Resuming her travels hoping to find her people she stumbles upon Clayton (Stephen Henderson), who’s pinned inside a car after hitting a light pole.  Things don’t look good for Clayton and he knows he’s dying.  He also has a lot of regrets because he spent a lot of time on the road, so when Luciana asks if there’s something she can do for him, he asks if she could get him a beer.

So she heads out looking for beer.  Gotta give her credit, she looked high and low and… guess what?  She stumbled across one of those boxes.  With “Call Ch 4” on it.  And inside was one of Jim’s beers.  So she puts it in a pack with dry ice so it’ll get cold and gets it back to Clayton, who’s amazed she didn’t give up.  She lets him know that she once watched someone die and couldn’t do anything for them, and the old heart starts clutching up again when you realize it’s Nick she’s talking about.  Clayton tells her to take a couple of his notebooks: there’s information in there that can help.  She asks what it was he used to do and he tells her: I drove a truck.  (Note: And if you didn’t figure it out, Clayton was Polar Bear.)

She buries Clayton after he died and get on the radio she also found in the box and tells whomever’s on the other end something in the box helped another person.  And the someone on the other end just happens to be Morgan…

RT: I just loved this whole storyline in this episode. It punched me just right in all the feels.

CF: Luciana has been a secondary character almost since the beginning.  Danay really spent her me time on the screen well. She just nailed the sort of person Luciana has become.

Showdown At Big Sky:

It’s not long before everyone is trucking down the highway with Luciana back in the fold.  Just a moment or two after we see this there’s another voice on the radio–and it’s Charlie (Alexa Nisenson), who found another box with radio instructions. Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) admonishes her for talking on the radio, but Morgan recognizes her voice and Alicia recognizes his and all is good–

And that’s when Filthy Woman breaks in and says she’s warned everyone about helping others and, well, you get the feeling shit is going to go down.  That’s when Sarah calls back and says they’re being followed, probably by Althea’s SWAT Wagon.  After a short run it catches up and the weapon port opens as the SWAT Wagon pulls along side. Morgan orders everyone down as Alicia and Charlie hear gunfire over the radio…


Personal Note: though it doesn’t seem as if a lot happened in this episode, it was another excellent outing and showed a little of what’s driving some of the characters. While it seems like Strand is lost and Luciana is on the verge of giving up as well, the little insights into their motivations was a nice personal touch.

And the end… Something Fear the Walking Dead has done well are cliffhangers and this wasn’t any different.  You knew the SWAT Wagon would catch the truck and would open fire–though why Sarah didn’t just drive in the middle of the fucking road and keep the Wagon from coming alongside puzzles the shit out of me.  If there’s any consolation to the end of this episode, the resolution comes quickly at the start of the next one


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



Victor Strand — Colman Domingo
John Dorie — Garret Dillahunt

Morgan Jones — Lennie James
Althea — Maggie Grace
June —  Jenna Elfman
Sarah — Mo Collins
Wendell —  Daryl Mitchell
Jim — Aaron Stanford

Luciana Galvez — Danay Garcia
Clayton — Stephen Henderson

Alicia Clark — Alycia Debnam-Carey
Charlie — Alexa Nisenson

Filthy Woman — Tonya Pinkins


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

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