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Fear the Walking Dead season 4, episode 9 review: People Like Us

Fear the Walking Dead is back from its summer break. Some vacationers are still lounging around, while others are eager to get back to work.

We start Fear the Walking Dead with an ominous foreshadowing of a storm heading our way. Since none of the survivors are in immediate danger at the beginning of the episode, we know Mother Nature will mess with that status quo.

“People Like Us” is made up of three mini-missions, but first we are surprised to learn that Lennie James misses his original Walking Dead family and wants to walk out on the Fear crew. Will the coming storm be the Walking Dead Universe’s way of declaring “no take backs” to Morgan?

Morgan regrets leaving Rick and thinks it is time to go back to Virginia. He makes his rounds to ask all his friends if they would like to join him. Morgan pitches his offer to anyone who will listen and since the relatively small group has broken off into their own residences, he can’t just stand up and shout “who’s coming with me”?

Almost everyone turns him down, however Althea agrees to drive him, which fits with her inquisitive documentary filmmaker persona. Before embarking on his journey, he aids Alicia in her task to answer a call for help. This brings us to our first mini-mission.

Mini-Mission #1: Message on a Walker

Alicia has been collecting “help” notes that someone has been nailing to the dead. Alicia’s sense of responsibility leads her to a local lumber yard and Morgan has her back. Armed with their weapons of choice, Alicia’s machine gun barrel and Morgan’s staff, they take out walkers along the way until they come to a swarm inside a warehouse.

They devise a plan to lead the walkers out of the building and under a crane holding large logs, cutting the line and crushing the small horde. When they unlock the door of the messenger, they learn that it is too late. Alicia is remorseful that she can’t save people like her mother would have. This mission was more about her finding her purpose than saving a man. Alicia takes off into the rain and Morgan lets her go.

Mini-Mission #2: A Zombie River Runs Through It

After Charlie has a close call with a walker wandering up out of the river, June and Althea aim to find out why the dead have been floating by lately. When they stop for a fallen tree, they come across a care package left on the side of the road for any passersby. Al thinks there may be a story there.

As Althea films more infected washing away downstream, she convinces June that she is doing the right thing by helping John and sticking with him despite her uncertainty. The flight pattern of a flock of birds tips them off about the storm. Althea’s truck then gets stuck in the middle of a tornado with zombies smacking against the windshield and windows.

Mini-Mission #3: The Search for Charlie

While John is checking out a suspicious noise, Charlie takes off on foot. With June and Al still out investigating, John turns to Strand for help. These days Strand has been relaxing and drinking in a mansion with Luciana claiming her own opium den of sorts, dazing out on the floor listening to music. They are both in such a state of inaction and indecision that they don’t even bother to fix a broken gate.

John is the designated driver of the search party. They check the library, but then they too are caught in the hard rain. Meanwhile, Luciana thinks another walker broke into the house, only to find Charlie. She dropped off a book that she shared with Nick and runs out into the storm. When Luciana understands Charlie’s gesture, Luciana chases after her.

Weekly Walkaways

  • When Morgan and Al decide to travel East, there was a minute where the possibility of this show merging into The Walking Dead seemed feasible. With news of lead actors leaving that series, that could have been a clever maneuver, alas a highly unlikely one.
  • Rick gets a nice shout-out in “People Like Us” when Morgan admits to Alicia that his friend was right that Morgan would find his way back to people. It is thoughtful of Morgan to recognize that he is attracted to good people, and therefore realize he should have never left his friends back home.
  • John has got to be the most relatable character on the show at this point. You have to admit you would recreate your favorite board game in the post-apocalypse. Of course the sentimental John draws a Scrabble board, reminiscing about his time with his girlfriend at the cabin.
  • Without Nick, what will Luciana’s next move be? The show seems to be setting up an arc where she actually befriends the girl that killed her man.
  • Does anyone remember the Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks movie that shares the name of this episode? The showrunners probably didn’t intend to make a connection with the Alex Kurtzman movie since that was about a brother-sister reunion and this show recently moved on from its distinguished sibling relationship.
  • A motif of this episode is signs; warnings signs, signs for help, that weather vane clock in the mansion that no one pays attention to. In relation to our characters, some see these signs and act and others are more likely to overlook. Even the book that Charlie packs before running away, “The Call of the Wild”, could be interpreted as a sign of her intentions.
  • The MVP of “People Like Us” is Morgan. How often do characters concede to making a mistake and simply set out to correct it? As quickly as he left Virginia, he was ready to return. His survival skills also come in handy when he clears the lumber yard of the dead.

Fear the Walking Dead returns next week with “Close Your Eyes” on Sunday, Aug. 19 at 9:00 p.m. ET on AMC.