Credit: Van Redin/AMC

No one will ever be able to replace Negan. He was a singular force on The Walking Dead, even if his seasons marked some of the slowest on the show in recent memory. Now, Fear the Walking Dead is getting its own version, who still can’t quite hold up to the man, the myth, the name. It’s partly because the show doesn’t seem to have its own direction anymore. Things are routinely thrown at the wall to see if they stick and few do. Maybe ninth time’s the charm?

After getting a load of Al, Virginia tasked her with making a propaganda video to play at gas stops and weigh stations around the area. It’s one of hope and unity, painting Virginia as the savior of today’s world and builder of tomorrow’s. Al knows that isn’t the truth, and because she’s “such a good journalist” (delivered with Laura Dern’s Drunk History clapping) she sets out to make a new video, one that shows everything: the good times, the bad times, the truth about the Settlers/Pioneers, and the truth about their own group.

Tom, the guy Al and Morgan met last episode, reunites with his sister, who just happens to find him on the road. Grace and Daniel are also trying to teach Charlie the guitar. Along with Alicia’s painting, the show seems to be attempting a conversation about the function of art in the end times — food and supplies allow them to live, while art makes life worth living — but it all turns into dull filler.

June is determined to find the convoy a home, especially now that they have so little fuel from their single tanker. Grace is doing okay, but she’s strung up with an IV, adding more pressure to Morgan to get her to this unforeseen haven. Remember that ultrasound Grace risked everything to get at the mall and then just left because of some unrealistic flight of fancy? Turns out, the group took the ultrasound when they grabbed supplies from the mall. (Just another convenient plot point that randomly drops in to keep the story going.) When Grace collapses without warning, June looks inside her throat, but, uh oh, she doesn’t know what the heck she’s looking for because she doesn’t have that kind of medical training. Cue June moving the ultrasound around Grace’s throat and crying out, “I don’t know!” She says it could be radiation, but she’ll have to read medical journals to know for sure.

In the meantime, the group finds a course to chart. Dwight kills a walker that broke through the perimeter and sees a sheriff’s badge on its lapel from a nearby Humbug’s Gulch. Based on John and June’s knowledge of these Western parks, the group decides this is where they should go and settle down. They have enough gas to get them to the Gulch, but because of Grace’s condition, Morgan says they need to take a detour to a retirement center to look for supplies. They find a couple things, but because they had to take a detour to get back on track without running out of gas, they now have to cross a bridge, which is breaking down. Only a few vehicles make it to the other side before the bridge’s support wires begin to snap.

That’s when Virginia and two of her men ride up to offer assistance. There has to be a reason why she’s been stalking the group, hoping to recruit them. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself to maintain some sort of interest in this season. They know that if they accept her help, she will come calling for their assistance and it might be for something they don’t want to do. They refuse her again, while Al and Tom keep recording their own video. So, Virginia commands her men to fire their guns in the air to alert a nearby herd to their location.

Now, everyone has to abandon the vehicles, including the tanker, and scramble to the other side. Morgan, Victor, and Al fend off the dead as best they can, while Sarah tries to grab as many buckets of gas as possible. The bridge ultimately collapses, and Tom, wanting to capture as much footage as possible, dies because of it.

Keeping their spirits up, the group reconvenes on the other side and vows to walk to the Gulch because Tom would’ve wanted them to finish what they started and prove Virginia wrong. Along the way, Wes tells Alicia how he wants to paint again and that they’ll create a new medium, John and June ask the rabbi to officiate their wedding, and Daniel convinces Morgan to profess his feelings to Grace, but she doesn’t want him to because it’ll make her presumed death more difficult.

They see the five-mile sign for the Gulch and their hope peaks before it kamikazes into the ground. The Gulch is swarming with dead. It’s almost as if someone has been storing walkers there. The group has no food or energy to fend them off and, without a better plan, they decide to call Virginia and ask for help. Dwight, knowing what happens when you accept help from someone like Virginia, decides to leave — and everyone seems fine with it…? A couple of protests here and there, but nobody really makes an effort to keep the group together. So, that’s where they are now. We can all see where this is gonna go.

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