It all started when Al killed a walker at the crash site. The walker had on armor that she couldn’t penetrate with her knife. The walker was also wearing a helmet. The group had to leave the crash site, but she went back because Al couldn’t help but chase a story. When she finds the walker, he had a bunch of papers on him. It was stuff that she didn’t understand, but she recorded anyway. Someone else was at the crash site, knocked out Al, and took her.
When Al wakes up she sees the person who took her. This person, a soldier is wearing the same impenetrable suite with a helmet. They also took the body of the walker she was filming at the crash site. While they are distracted, Al grabs her bag and starts running. She stops long enough to make sure the tape is still inside the camera. She gets caught in a trap but loosens her foot out of her boot to get away.
The soldier chases after Al and is getting pretty close to catching up. Al finds a road. She only has one shoe on so she has to be careful about running on that road. A group of walkers come out of the woods and walk toward her. Someone shoots them from behind Al and then knocks her down. Al is able to kick off the helmet and comes face to face with a woman. The woman (Sydney Lemmon) wants the tape that Al took of her partner, and Al asks if she’s seen her boot.
The Mysterious Helicopter
The next day, Al is tied up in the back seat of a nearby car. She sees a walker at a barbed wire fence nearby and calls it over to her. She is able to get the barbed wire, cut the rope around her wrists, and kill the walker. Al grabs her bag and looks to start walking down the road. But then she remembers her story and goes back to where the woman held her captive. She finds the helicopter and jumps in to see if works. Everything comes on, but there’s no fuel. So Al grabs the radio and calls for Morgan (Lennie James) and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey).
Al hears someone put a gun to her head and it’s her captor. Another voice comes over the radio asking for Ground 17. The woman makes Al get out of the cockpit and answers the call. She tells them her lead was killed in action. There are no hostiles in the area, but there was a breach in protocol. She got her payload but needs to refuel her chopper. The voice on the other end says they are sending a reclamation team. The woman acknowledges their orders and sets her watch for an alarm. Al asks what a reclamation team is. The woman gives Al her boot without answering.
They go to a site where the woman had been digging. She wants Al’s tape and threatens to break her legs. Al won’t give it up though, she says she wants the woman’s story first. She wants to know why they are there and why it’s important that no one sees that tape. Al says no one will see because there’s no way to transmit it and her audience is dead anyway. She just wants the truth. Al asks her why she doesn’t want a reclamation team to get there. Is she in trouble? Will they kill her? The woman asks for the tape first and Al says no. So the woman decides to take Al with her to get fuel for the helicopter.
The woman packs up some gear and Al asks where the fuel is. There is a drop point in the mountains. They have to go there to get supplies. As they drive up the hill, Al tries to make conversation, but the woman isn’t saying anything. Al decides to call her Happy. Al tries asks Happy her name and where’s she from. What did she do before and what is she doing now? Happy asks why it’s important. Al wants to preserve stories that will live on after they die.
A rock slide happens in front of them, releasing a few walkers. Happy stops the car and tells Al to stay in. Al gets out too, annoying Happy. Her explanation is that she doesn’t take orders from Happy. Happy takes off her jacket and gives it to Al, so she doesn’t get bit. Again, Al doesn’t take orders from her. Happy says everything she does is to ensure that there will be more stories after they die. Al puts the jacket on and sees the same three ringed symbol from the helicopter.
Al asks for a weapon, but Happy says she can handle it. She watches Happy kill the walkers with the spikes on the end of her gun. Another rock slide happens, covering the car. Al says she never stays in the car, even before the world ended. They are able to recover their equipment from the car, but Al has some trouble getting her camera bag. Happy tells her to leave it, but it’s too important to Al.
When Al gets out of the car, a walker comes up from under the rubble and grabs Al. He bites on her arm, but can’t bite through the jacket. Happy comes around and kills the walker. She yells at Al for risking her life for a camera. Happy looks through the bag and sees a tape sewn into the bottom. It’s labeled “The Bog,” She thinks its the tape that she’s been asking for so she pulls her gun on Al. Al tells her to watch the tape before killing her.
The tape is of Al, trapped in a warzone. There is gunfire all around her. She’s scared and saying goodbye to her family on the tape. Happy asks why the tape is important. Al says she could have said goodbye to her brother, but she chased a story instead. That story is all she has left.
Al takes off the jacket and asks Happy why she killed her partner. Happy doesn’t say anything. She takes the jacket, so Al takes her bag and walks away. Happy yells at her, saying to run away if she sees someone else wearing that jacket. She should be afraid because they are a force who are not living for themselves or for now. Al is collecting stories, making today the past. They are working for the future.
They come upon a bunch of cars bunched up together. Happy finds a car with camping equipment in it. They decide to make camp there. Happy gives Al a first aid kit to take care of her foot. They set up their tent in the trees so the walkers can’t get to them. Al says she has never told anyone about her brother. Happy thinks they are the same type of person. They have a job and are continuing to do their job. Al has her stories. Happy has something that she thinks is more meaningful.
The next day, the two women climb one of the mountains. They encounter a walker on the mountain. Their path goes right by the walker, but he can’t reach them. Happy falls and tells Al to unhook their line. Al sees that the walker’s line is more secure. She tells Happy to give her some slack. Al is able to kill the walker, then hook their line on his. They make it to the top after that.
Happy tells Al about her partner. His name was Beckett. They were there to get supplies from the power plan to purify water. He saw what the radiation did to the walkers and got scared. He was afraid he would end up like them. Beckett wanted to leave, but there’s no walking away, especially with the maps that he was carrying. Their protocol is to kill every threat to operational security. They pulled their guns on each other. Happy says she hesitated but eventually killed him. Her hesitation was the breach in protocol. Al asks if Happy didn’t want to tell her anything because then she will have to kill her. Happy says she needs her help. She needs the tape. But after that, yes, Happy will have to kill Al.
They get to the drop point and a walker is stuck on the supplies. Happy goes to kill it and Al tackles her to the ground. She takes Happy’s gun, saying she will keep it for her operational security. Happy twisted her ankle. While she wraps it, Al realizes that she never intended to help Al and her friends. She thinks Happy will find on top of the mountain by herself. She had food and supplies. And Al as the fuel, climbing gear and the gun.
Happy says Al doesn’t know how to fly the helicopter, but Al says she’ll figure it out. Happy reminds Al that the reclamation team is coming. And she doesn’t want to be near the helicopter when they arrive. Al says she will find another way. Happy still wants the tape or for Al to destroy it. She agrees to tell her story if Al will destroy the tape.
Happy won’t tell Al her name or where she’s from. All she says is the place that she’s from is bigger than everyone. The work they are doing is important because it ensures that they can rebuild the world. They can get back everything they had. No one can see the tape because it makes the project vulnerable. She will die if she has to, but her and Becket’s death will mean nothing if people know about them. And neither will Al’s brother. His death will be meaningless. This project ensures there will be more stories after they are all gone. Al decides to give her the tape.
Happy’s alarm goes off. They have the night before the reclamation team arrives. Happy gets up and grabs a beer from the supply drop. They share the beer. Happy says she would have preferred to meet Al before the world ended. Or whatever comes after.
The End of Everything
The next morning they head back to the helicopter. Al hid the tape inside the pocket of a walker’s jacket. She wanted to be sure someone could find it if Happy killed her. Happy sets the tape on fire. She turns to Al and says nobody can know about the mission. No one can know about it and no one can see them. She orders Al to turn around.
Al gets sad, saying she knew Happy would kill her. And she gets it. She asks Happy to take The Bog tape and make sure that story matter, so her brother will live on. Happy can’t pull the trigger. She wants Al to live. Happy asks Al not to chase her story or try to find her. She tells her to go back to friends and go home.
Happy’s real name is Isabelle and she’s from Indiana. And she got to see the prettiest thing she’s ever seen at the end of everything. Isabelle kisses Al. The two women don’t say anything else, they just go their separate ways.
Back to the time when Annie (Bailey Gavulic) and Max (Ethan Suess) were hiding from someone walking on the road. That was Happy/Isabelle. She cut down the walker roadblock and killed the loose walkers on the road. She goes back to the helicopter to fill it up. Isabelle radios command to let them know she is ready to take off. They cancel the reclamation team and grant her permission to return. She stares at Al’s tape before taking off.
Al watches the helicopter leave, then radios Morgan and Alicia. They find her and everyone is happy to be reunited. She says she went back to the plane to record that walker and was overrun by the dead. She ran into the woods and had to stay ahead of them to survive. Morgan asks what her story was, but she says it was nothing but a flicker of light on the tape. They ask if she saw where the helicopter went. She says she heard it but couldn’t get to it.
Morgan says they have to find another way home and the kids come into sight. Al is happy to see new people. Morgan will explain along the way, but he wants her to get checked out first. Al tells them her last name is Sefcheck Przygocki. She felt they needed to know that. They smile and start walking.
Fear the Walking Dead gives us another five-star episode. Much like last season’s John (Garret Dillahunt) and June (Jenna Elfman) episode, Al’s episode provides a much deeper look into who she is. Now we know she collects stories so that the people she meets lives on. I like that. She makes them matter.
Plus, we got a small glimpse about this mysterious organization that has baffled us for almost a year now…well, maybe longer. The story of the helicopter has been a part of The Walking Dead universe for quite some time now. Since like, The Walking Dead season 8. Now we know this group is working on a project that will give humanity a future. They are collecting people, but we don’t know why. And now we know they are trying to build a machine to purify water. Where they are, and who they are are still a mystery. I hope we find out more as this season continues. At least enough to lead into the Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) movies.
For now, I like that the gang’s back together. It took a little longer to get to this point, but we have our survivors, old friends, and new friends to get to know. It looks like, to me, that Morgan and Alicia are building a future as well.