Fear the Walking Dead 509 – Channel 4
The mid-season return of Fear the Walking Dead is a curious one with Channel 4 adopting a documentary feel and a noticeably lighter tone than previous episodes so far this season. Presented though the lens of Al’s camera, everything is bathed in a hopeful glow so much so that even the visual palette of the episode is noticeably warmer and brighter than what we’ve seen so far.
The documentary style takes a few minutes to get used to but is a novel way to update new and old viewers to all of the players and any bits of character development that may have happened since Fear went on hiatus. Alicia and the crew are more committed now than ever to help those who need help, widening their network and delivering relief to anyone who is willing to accept it.
The lack of good oil is still an issue for everyone but it’s the introduction of a new character named Tess that drives the majority of Channel 4’s narrative. Tess who we only hear, and don’t see for the majority of her screen time, has spent the entirety of her existence post apocalypse in her home. When John, Luciana, Morgan and Al come across her she reveals that she’s been waiting some time for her husband to return from a short errand. If this were another sort of show Tess’ husband might have run off with another woman. That’s obviously not what happened in this circumstance so John and the others try to help her find him. There’s also the complication of a group of walkers closing in on her house, which is surrounded by land mines. Some walkers get “blowed up real good” – a reference to an old SCTV skit featuring the late, great John Candy – in the process and Morgan finds himself stuck on one of the mines.
Channel 4 delves deeply into the inner workings of several of the players. Whether it’s Alicia’s decision to stop killing and adopt a non violent approach to things, Morgan’s struggle to let go of his dead wife and son or Strand’s quest to make the best at his shot at redemption Al’s camera pulls back the curtain to offer a glimpse at the road map the characters will embark on during the second half of the season.
The episode’s style while effective for the most part, comes across as a little corny in its final moments. The Telethon-esque appeal by Morgan and the others soon fades and is overshadowed by Logan and his not so merry band of oil hunters. The sunny outlook that existed for most of this episode is gone replaced by the dreary menace of the real world, and what is yet to come.