With the Fear the Walking Dead survivors still separated, “The Code” focuses on Morgan’s adventure after the storm. He is introduced to several Fear newcomers; do they join him on his journey or stand in his way?
On Fear the Walking Dead, we pick up where Morgan left off in “People Like Us” – he is calling for Alicia in the middle of the hurricane. He comes across an abandoned freight truck carrying zombie survival kits just like the one Althea and June found before the storm. Morgan eats, drinks, and rests, then when he wakes up, he discovers that he’s not in Texas anymore.
Apparently, someone drove the vehicle to a truck stop in Mississippi. It doubles as a supply warehouse for the boxed goods. A voice reaches out over the radio asking for someone codenamed “Polar Bear” and Morgan responds with his location. The woman on the other end is surprised he is in Mississippi before reciting the company slogan, “take what you need, leave what you don’t”.
When Morgan finally makes contact with someone who works for the charity, he is in a compromising position (sitting on the toilet). The shotgun wielding, wheelchair bound Wendell wonders why people always use the handicapped stall. His partner Sarah enters the picture and explains their philanthropic strategy, although she and her “brother” jumble their credo. They are either not too bright or Morgan has reason to be suspicious of them.
They discuss the massive Texas storm’s impact that they inadvertently drove Morgan away from, so he decides to go back and look for his friends. During his walk, he comes to a bridge too far when he remembers his mission to return to Virginia. He contacts Wendell and Sarah over walkie and lies to them about the bridge being impassable as an excuse not to search for his group.
Heading to the rendezvous, Morgan spots a man being chased by walkers; the guy has his hands tied and head covered in cloth. The X-Men trilogy’s Aaron Stanford is uncovered as a beer obsessed brewer who was kidnapped for his recipe. Morgan takes him to the siblings who, in a surprise twist, turn out to be the kidnappers. They call each other brother and sister in obvious jest as one is black and another white, but now we grasp that they are also proper deceivers.
Wendell and Sarah reveal that they stole the charitable truck from a man while he was making one of his drops. They want Morgan to tell them where his Virginia community is located and start heading in that direction with Morgan and Jim the brewer tied in the back. Jim wants Morgan to disclose the coordinates so that he can once again return to prominence as someone who knows how to produce a desired commodity – beer. He makes an unusual sales pitch by explaining the importance of beer throughout history.
The siblings stop to lighten the truck’s load and Jim strikes a deal with them. A horde approaches and the disoriented Jim accidentally knocks Morgan down a hill. With his hands still tied, Morgan uses his cat-like maneuvers to get himself to safety on top of a car. The others do not risk helping him just as Morgan decided not to cross the bridge for his former group.
Hours pass and Morgan calls out one last time to them over the walkie. He confesses that he is a coward for not returning to Texas when his friends could be in need. Realizing that no one will come for him, he jumps over the pack and frees himself with a pocket knife from one of the care packages. The good samaritan decided to make the drops at every mile marker ending in 4 and Morgan luckily is stranded at mile 244. He even uses the mile marker sign as a weapon.
Still on the same frequency as Wendell and Sarah, they come back for Morgan since he gave them false directions. Morgan agrees to lead them to his Virginia community after they help him rectify his earlier decision not to save his people in Texas. Along the way, they make a drop at every mile marker ending in 4.
Morgan calls out on his radio for the owner of the truck with the intention of returning it to him. A woman does hear Morgan’s call, although she does not respond. As she writes on a growling zombie’s face “take what you need, leave what you don’t”, she states her objective to follow Morgan to Texas. Fear the Walking Dead’s first villain since the Vultures is revealed.
- While “Close Your Eyes” was an existential dilemma of an episode, “The Code” is more of a meet and greet for Morgan with three new characters. Logistically, Morgan goes back and forth over long distances before settling on a course for upcoming plot points.
- Last week Alicia would have drowned in the basement if an infected hadn’t fallen through the cellar door. This week Morgan is saved by one of the supply boxes that were left every 10 miles. Fortuity has always been a part of these shows in order for survivors to endure as long as they do, but these last two occurrences operate more like deus ex machina. Will this divine intervention pattern continue for other separated members of the Fear group?
- Wendell questioning Morgan about talking to someone on the radio at the truck stop almost turned into The Walking Dead Universe’s first comedy sketch. It looks like we’ll be seeing more of Daryl Mitchell and Mo Collins on Fear the Walking Dead. Both actors have comedic roots, which comes through for Mitchell with Wendell’s unflappable demeanor, however Sarah is played straight by the MADtv veteran Mo Collins.
- A theme of this episode is altruism. There is such hopefulness in Morgan’s eyes at the wonder and admiration he has for those who go to great lengths for merely the possibility that their actions may help someone. He is shameful when he cannot do the same and is ultimately inspired to pay it forward.
- The MVP of “The Code” is Morgan for his miraculous escape from on top the car as well as for managing to get his way with Wendell and Sarah in the end. Morgan again bares his soul, this time through his final soliloquy on the car; at this point we are used to his touching speeches, yet we should never take his verbal meditations and philosophizing for granted.
Fear the Walking Dead returns next week with “Weak” on Sunday, Sept. 2 at 9:00 p.m. ET on AMC.