First things first, there’s some business to go over. I’ll admit, my theory last week about how zombie Pervis was the guy who started the whole truck stop “take what you need” trail of boxes was wrong. I see it, I hear it, I own it, I’m adjusting. “Polar Bear,” as Sarah and Wendell refer to the real guy, is actually played by actor Stephen Henderson, the man Luciana stumbles upon and seeks to help — which brings us to the common threads between the stories this week…
A lot of people are in need of some redemption. Luciana, Morgan, June, Sarah, Wendell, Polar Bear, and Victor (though he’s currently doing very little to admit as much) have all done things that they’re not proud of, and are facing a dilemma: should they put themselves in harms way and do the right thing, or do nothing and avoid the danger?
June and Morgan are both trying to leave their past lives behind them by trudging forth on a new path of helping others. Sarah and Wendell have been guilt-tripped to do the same. They call back June, Morgan, and Al, who’ve been out searching for Quinn, to the truck when Pervis, with all his facial markings, stumbles on their path. June is still trying to contact Quinn over the walkie, but the mysterious “Filthy Woman” (again, that’s the name given to Tonya Pinkins’ character on the press site, not mine) responds instead. We hear Walker Quinn’s gargling snarl, and she informs the group that she made him strong again. Morgan recognizes the woman’s voice. She already seems to know his name and “a lot” about him, which leads Al to surmise that she has the SWAT van with all the tapes inside.
According to “Filthy Woman,” the boxes Morgan has been leaving along the road make people weak. The assumption is that people will rise to face challenges when presented to them, but they can’t learn to overcome if they’re given handouts like the boxes. She knows that Morgan used to be someone who survived on his own and was made stronger for it, in her eyes. She then warns that if Morgan stops helping people, she won’t have to do what she needs to do to make him strong again. She’s a complicated character, but there’s a lot we still don’t know about her. For now, all her motivations seem… convenient. Morgan is trying to help people, and that makes her mad! Humph.
Victor’s dilemma is the storm itself. He and John ended up marooned at a ranger station after losing their car to a flash flood. John has since been crafting a boat from chopped-down tree trunks to try and cross the watery trench. Victor would prefer to remain at the station with what food rations he has than return to the world, and he’s even less inclined to help John when they find a giant alligator is lurking in the water, devouring anything that moves — including walkers. (Apparently, the CGI budget in this episode is relatively low because we only see the top of the gator’s head for a few seconds.) John mentions that the gator doesn’t have fear anymore: food (e.g., walkers) easily wander into its path, and its bigger predators have been wiped out. The fear, as the “Filthy Woman” might say, has made the beast stronger. Does Victor perform the selfless act of helping John reach safety in the face of such danger, or does he keep himself as the top priority?
Colman Domingo, by the way, needs better dialogue. “Early bird kills the dead”? “I drink to forget”? Coupled with his Broadway style of over-enunciation, it feels unoriginal and overacted. I would love to see him with better material.
Luciana literally says she has things to make up for, just so it’s clear. She goes in search of Charlie, tracking down the address labeled in one of the kid’s library books. She doesn’t find Charlie, who’s really with Alicia, and instead finds Clayton (a.k.a. Polar Bear), who crashed his car into a telephone pole during the storm and has been bleeding out ever since. She tries to help, but the car is the only thing keeping his body together.
(Recap continues on the next page.)