Fear the Walking Dead 615 – USS Pennsylvania
Warning: Review may contain spoilers!
USS Pennsylvania brings us one step closer to the end of Season 6 of Fear the Walking Dead. Named after the submarine stuck on a beach in Galveston, Texas, everyone arrives at the sub’s location after Alicia’s warning to stop Teddy and his doomsday cult from launching two nuclear warheads.
This week’s edition of Fear the Walking Dead quickly morphs into a mini-James Bond movie with familiar tropes such as a ticking clock, the threat of a devastating nuclear missile launch and a deranged baddie looking to remake the world in his own image. Teddy is like a Bond villain smugly spewing his plans before going through with them. With Dakota by his side the duo channels DC Comics’ Terra and Terminator, as multi-generational rogues bringing havoc and mayhem to a neighborhood near you.
Everyone is on hand for the party to stop the launch. Morgan leads a group that includes Grace, Strand, June and Dwight into the sub, but high levels of radiation make their mission a dangerous one. After some brief deliberations Morgan heads in first followed by Grace and it soon becomes clear that what started out as a group effort will become a solo mission.
Things then enter gamer mode as the hunt for the sub’s command center begins. If dangerously high levels of radiation weren’t enough to worry about their task becomes even more complicated when it’s revealed that the sub is filled with 150 walkers. The time in the sub plays out like a level in a Fear the Walking Dead video game and dispatching slightly radioactive walkers in darkened corridors elicits some serious Bill Paxon Aliens vibes.
Morgan’s crew eventually contact Teddy who is chilling in the command center waiting for Riley, a former Pennsylvania crew member, to bring the submarine’s power system online. He’s dismissive of anything Morgan has to say until John Dorie Sr. gets on the mic. Teddy’s tone changes and judging by his reaction Dorie Sr. is the only one Teddy seems to fear.
With so many characters on board and to maintain some narrative tension, the bodies involved in the hunt for Teddy gets trimmed a bit. A guilt-ridden Morgan appears to have a death wish and goes solo to try and save the day. Strand won’t let him sacrifice himself and forces his way into the mix. Morgan’s frustration arises because he’s the reason Teddy has the keys and his efforts at nation building will once again be for nothing. Strand talks some sense into him and his revelation that he’s putting himself on the line marks a change from his usual Strand-centric ways. Victor being Victor has a strange way of showing it though especially when he throws Morgan into a group of walkers.
USS Pennsylvania ends on a cliffhanger and with everything in disarray. Too late to stop the launch, Morgan and Strand inexplicably let Riley and Teddy go. The warhead, armed with a nuclear payload is on its way to an undisclosed location. Morgan then kicks Strand out of the sub’s command centre but not before tearing into him. Strand has always been complicated and at times hard to defend but in this instance, Morgan judges him too harshly.
There are King Kong sized questions that need answers after viewing USS Pennsylvania. What happened on the sub before things went sideways? How did it end up on the beach? Who was the civilian on board? Was there a previous attempt to get to the missiles? The episode, while enjoyable continues the series’ current streak of head scratching characterizations in recent weeks, particularly regarding Morgan. You get the sense that significant change is coming to Fear the Walking Dead with Alicia squirrelled away in a bunker, bonds within the group being tested and nuclear fallout on the horizon. Hopefully next week’s season finale will provide some answers and successfully cap a solid season.