Following the events of that dramatic plane crash and the emergence of a mysterious militia force that kidnapped Nancy Drew over here, the action doesn’t slow down (much) and the mysteries of season 5 continue to unfold. But, seriously, if Morgan makes another speech involving “helping people” or the demons within, I will willingly take my chances solo in the misty radioactive woods.
A Rick Grimes connection?
Something I didn’t catch last week, but many online did, was a possible connection between the masked militia group clad in black and Rick Grimes.
Al, forever chasing her “stories,” went back to the plane crash site and found the body of one of these guys, as we know, and she found on his person a stash of maps, all featuring a three-ring symbol. That symbol, it seems, also appeared on The Walking Dead — on the helicopter that whisked away Rick Grimes and Jadis to go star in whatever The Walking Dead movies he’ll be starring in. One would assume this is either the exact same group of militiamen who kidnapped Al or one with at least a connection.
Speaking at an AMC Network summit in New York City before last week’s season premiere, FTWD co-showrunner Ian Goldberg said, “There will be one walker in particular, I have to be careful saying this around [executive producer] Scott [M. Gimple]. Let’s just say this walker will open a universe of possibilities for our storytelling.” Connecting the dots, one might assume that the militia walker Al investigated is the one Goldberg was talking about. But this group doesn’t make an appearance in this week’s episode… unless they also happen to be the same people stringing up walker heads.
Victor is already recording a message for his friends in the event he visits Daniel and gets shot. Given what happened at the dam, fair. Following the information on Al’s tapes, he finds Victor living with a cat named Skid Mark (because it licks its own butt) in a fortified garage. He’s got cars, he’s got supplies, and he’s got a small plane that Victor needs to rescue his buddies after the plane crash. Daniel says he “inherited” all this from the previous owner. Knowing Daniel, your presumptions are probably accurate. The challenge is convincing Daniel to help him after screwing him over too many times before.
Victor is finally able to at least prove to Daniel that he’s telling the truth when they use a long-range radio to get a hold of Luciana, who’s waiting by the radio at the truck stop while the others search for Al. Daniel, however, refuses to rent out his plane. He says every time Victor tries to help, he always ends up making things worse. After all, trying to help his friends is something he mentioned to Daniel before the dam exploded. So, Victor is walking away empty handed and Daniel is still a crap dad for not trying to help his daughter himself. Victor is left to wander back on the road to the SWAT van, but, in his rage, he beats a walker to death with his bare hands — which could be more harmful than he realizes.
Finding no trace of Al or what she was searching for at the crash site, Morgan and Alicia split off to search north, while John and June head south. Morgan and Alicia find more cars blocking the road with radiation signs attached, but they see a vehicle parked nearby that’s still warm and they hear something off in the woods. Searching through the mist, Morgan comes across a bird box sans Sandra Bullock — two crows are cawing in a metal cage dangling from a tree, while two walkers stand beneath it on a tarp, drawn to the crows’ sound. Morgan starts killing the two walkers but is caught off guard when, off camera, someone throws a bolas and trips him up.
It’s a woman inside a hazmat suit. She points a gun at Morgan and tells him, as politely as possible for someone pointing a gun at his head, to take off his clothes. But Alicia tackles her to the ground. Disarmed, the woman reveals her name is Grace and she fears Morgan may have been contaminated. We soon learn that Grace was an operations manager at close-by plant containing two pressurized water reactors. When the outbreak began, she didn’t acknowledge that the cities no longer needed the kind of energy they were providing, so she kept the workers inside. One of the reactors failed, killing her team and creating a new breed of radioactive walkers, noted by the decimators dangling from their necks and the large boils growing out of their skulls. If any human kills one, they could risk being exposed to the radiation.
Grace’s truck comes with a shower and she helps decontaminate Morgan, but when she realizes he and Alicia were in the plane crash, she asks to be taken back there to assess the risk. The crash, it turns out, tore down the fences Grace erected to keep the radioactive walkers from crossing over territories. A brief encounter with an oncoming herd leaves Alicia shaken. Frustrated with her inability to protect others, she’s been taking out her aggression on the walkers, but when these walkers fall in mud, masking which ones are radioactive, she risks getting exposed herself. Morgan later gives her one of his famous “I used to think I was only good at killing” speeches and she’s fine, for now.
John and June
In their search for Al, John and June’s truck breaks down South of the crash site, but they find evidence that the kids from the premiere episode may have gone this way. They follow the road and come across a spot of land littered with bullet casings denoting a fight to claim the territory that seemingly took place there. They find a cabin boarded up and inside are walkers. Outside, having heard Alicia’s warning over the walkie about radioactive walkers, they find a pile of ash.
Grace told Morgan and Alicia there were 63 more radioactive walkers out and about that she needed to find. Well, this pile of bodies were from about half of them. When the group rendezvous at this cabin, Grace says the fire may kill the walkers but it unleashes the radioactive particles in the air. The dead inside the cabin had been exposed to said particles and died. Grace, still feeling guilty for her colleagues’ lives, vows to find the rest of the dead on her own, but they all make a game plan to reconnect over the walkies if Grace spots Al or they find more of the contaminated dead.
While all of this has been going on, Luciana was stuck manning the radio at the truck stop. She was given John’s pistol as her defense, but it doesn’t prove to be super useful. June had her on a lot of drugs, the good stuff that makes her want to talk about accordions for some reason. As she’s speaking with Victor over the radio, she hears something outside. At first, she finds nothing, but as she’s talking with June and John over the comms, she sees walkers, including one radioactive deadman, heading her way.
She’s loopy and unable to aim the weapon, so she flees back inside and promptly passes out on the floor. When she comes to, the others have returned but the walkers aren’t there anymore. The same people (or person) lurking in the periphery killed the dead and strung their chattering heads from a billboard outside the truck stop as a warning that whoever’s out there knows where Morgan’s group have been camping out.
Questions still remain as John vows to find Al, the kids, and get the heck out of there.