Fear the Walking Dead
Credit: Van Redin/AMC

What happens at the end of this week’s Fear the Walking Dead better just be building tension for something that will be resolved in next week’s midseason finale. Otherwise, AMC might as well just shoot the show where it stands.

In “Still Standing,” Alicia tracks down Annie, Max, Dylan, and the other kids back to their base — which is a giant (and pretty awesome) tree fort in the middle of the woods that’s accessible by a wooden bridge and protected by a maze of walkers strung up around trees. Alicia at first tries to navigate but gets easily lost until Dylan pops in to show her the right path. It’s really cool and we should have the entire show be about these kids who live in the trees like Peter Pan Lost Boys — maybe, eventually, we will — but, not wholly shocking, the most interesting aspects of the episode were just set pieces for more Morgan and Alicia ramblings.

Anyway, Alicia is, at first, unable to persuade the kids to get on the plane. Annie has legit points, like, “They want us to get into a plane they already crashed.” Plus, Alicia isn’t so much concerned with the kids as she is about needing to do something good to make up for her past. Fair, girl. But while Annie and Max are touching up their walker maze, a few of the dead get loose and they, in turn, let loose a few more until a whole herd is chasing the kids back to their fort.

To protect the kids, Alicia single-handedly slays each one that makes it through the slit in the wooden gate while the others figure out another way out. One walker, tragically, was radioactive; its vial marker was tucked inside its shirt away from Alicia’s view. She plunges her blade into it and, upon retracting her weapon, is splattered by radioactive blood. If she’s not contaminated from that, it would mean magic has made its way into the Walking Dead universe because that’s the only way I can rationalize her coming out of this unscathed.

So, Alicia’s contaminated. Maybe Grace, after getting a pep talk from Morgan and recruited as another plane passenger, knows how to cure her of the radiation poisoning. If not, that means Alicia will meet the same fate as her brother, mother, and stepfather. That would mean all of the Clarks are now dead and, if so, I can’t bear to continue watching with Morgan as the only lead for reasons I laid out last week and feel the need to repeat as often as possible.

Fear the Walking Dead
Credit: Van Redin/AMC

At the very least, the show kind of admits to its own problems… kind of. I’m sure that line from Morgan to Alicia over the walkie at the end about how maybe they aren’t living for anything by being totally consumed with their one-track minds was meant more seriously at the moment. The same goes for Annie’s line about Alicia being “a mess.” (Annie gets it.) But both just made me laugh, given how often Morgan and now Alicia just can’t stop talking about the same things all the time.

Elsewhere in the episode, Victor and Charlie are trying to stay away from the walkers, knowing they’ll be contaminated if they get too close to them. So, they string up the fabric of the collapsed balloon along the trees as a barrier to block the dead. And, annoyingly, it works because of course it works. Industrial gates, barriers, and an entire baseball stadium tend to break down when enough walkers amass, but that’s because they didn’t have balloons?!

Morgan arrives to help, thanks to an assist from Grace. Over the walkie, she tips him off to a bunch of houses where the people who worked at the power plant used to live. He’ll be able to get a car and hazmat gear there. Turns out, he arrives at her old home. Seeing remnants of the family she lost, he’s convinced he can get her to find something worth living for again. After passing off the car to Victor and Charlie, Morgan goes to find Grace. Which is good, because the generator they gave her is busted and the plant will melt down again in about 12 hours to a day.

Back at the truck stop, Al, Luciana, and June, of course, had to accidentally put in a hole in the fuel tank. So, now they have to go off to address Al’s subplot in a way that has no real impact on the story and has no real payoff. Where is there more fuel? At the chopper weigh station where Isabelle took Al rock climbing. Al and June go off to retrieve more fuel, and Al opens up to her in so much as she mentions that she met someone she’s in love with but can never see again. She still doesn’t mention anything about the helicopter.

John is off helping Dwight still and it becomes exactly the prediction from last week: John finally gives Dwight Sherry’s letter when he realizes they are running out of time with the power plant, Dwight gets upset and goes off, John goes to talk to him and they mend things.

Victor and Charlie arrive back at the truck stop with the propeller parts for the plane as Al, June, and the kids all arrive. Morgan and Grace are driving that way, too, with Morgan talking on the walkie with Alicia. She doesn’t tell them she’s contaminated and soon an alarm begins to blare, one that means the plant is in the process of melting down. If they don’t get on the plane soon, they will all be at risk of radiation exposure and likely death. But Alicia is off in the woods, having led the walkers away. Morgan will likely go after her and… we can see where this is going. Here’s hoping there’s some other surprise.

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