Second chances are hard to come by on Fear the Walking Dead. In “210 Words Per Minute” Grace (Karen David) faces the reality of her mortality and Dwight (Austin Amelio) makes a careful decision when facing Logan’s people.
Al (Maggie Grace) made a video about the group’s efforts to save others and why they are doing that. She has been traveling around the area, setting up TVs and VCRs so anyone who stumbles upon it can watch. And it’s working. Last week, a young man named Wes (Colby Hollman) watched the tape, then ran into Logan (Matt Frewer). Logan is taking everything he can from the gas stations where these videos just happen to be set up. It’s almost as if he’s watching each station, waiting for Morgan (Lennie James) and his group to show up.
The group knows that Logan is coming after them. They’ve hidden a camp, “Tank Town” where the children are staying as they answer calls for help. They get a call from a man named Chuck. He saw their tape at a gas station and asks for them to kill him. Chuck has been bitten and doesn’t really want to be a walker. He has been living in a shopping mall with lots of supplies that they can have. It’s his way of helping. He doesn’t think they will find him before he passes, so Chuck says he’ll be wearing a red jacket and will lock himself in the main office. All he asks is that they bury him under the stars.
Morgan, Dwight, and Grace answer the call, but Chuck is nowhere to be found when they get there. Morgan and Grace check the main office and only find an iPod of books on tape for Grace. Dwight finds a small herd of walkers on the lower level of the mall. Their first thought is that Chuck is already dead and downstairs. To make matters worse, Grace collapses
Too Close for Comfort
Elsewhere, Daniel (Rubén Blades) is leading a caravan of survivors to take to the hidden camp. They stop at the same gas station where Wes found their tape. Daniel sees a pile of gun shells and knows that Logan has been there. He’s getting close. Daniel turns on his blues music and plays it over the walkie.
Dwight hears it and lets Morgan know…Logan is close by. They need to prepare in case he shows up at the mall. Morgan wants to leave, but he also wants the supplies in the mall. They can use the supplies at the camp and stand up to Logan.
Morgan tells Dwight to find Daniel’s caravan, send the kids north, and bring the trucks to load up supplies. He tries to make Grace go with Dwight, saying she needs medical attention. Grace won’t go. She feels she needs to help Chuck.
Dwight prepares to leave, giving Morgan and Grace a case of water for the night. He takes out his gun and removes the cartridge of bullets. Morgan meets him outside and Dwight voices his concerns about Morgan playing it ‘careful.’ They could have easily given up the oil fields to Logan but they didn’t. Morgan says they needed the fuel and so do other people.
Dwight doesn’t want to fight but he doesn’t want to live his life looking over his shoulder. Morgan says if Logan comes for them, they will try to avoid a fight. He has faith in people, but Dwight thinks they need more than faith. Morgan says they aren’t doing careful, they’re doing right. He hopes Logan and his people see that. Dwight radios Daniel, letting him know which way he’s headed.
Grace has some questions about her health after collapsing. She attempts to go downstairs and Morgan stops her, thinking she’s going to look for Chuck. After hearing Grace’s true intentions, Morgan decides to help her. Their plan is to distract the walkers with a remote control car, then run for the Urgent Care clinic. Morgan has to go through the back hallway to turn on the generators so Grace can use the equipment.
Morgan smiles as he drives the car, leading the walkers away from the escalator. All is going well until Grace sees a walker in a red jacket. She thinks it’s Chuck and follows the walker until she steps on something crunchy. The walker turns to face her and it’s not Chuck and now the herd turns toward Grace. Morgan grabs her and runs into a nutrition store. Now they have to wait for Dwight to return to be saved. While they wait, the drink protein shakes and talk about Grace’s condition. She’s pretty convinced that she has cancer.
Grace changes the subject by asking about Morgan’s son. She says she has never seen him smile the way he did when he was driving the remote control car. She saw the tape and knows Morgan’s story. Grace wants to help Morgan work through his issues, but he says it’s not an easy fix. They are interrupted by the sound of breaking glass as the walkers are about to bust through the window.
One Step Ahead
On the road, Dwight runs into a little trouble himself. One of Logan’s heard on the radios and followed him. The man knocks out Dwight, ties him up and throws him in the back of a moving truck. He thinks Dwight is stupid because he’s walking around with an empty gun and gave up his location too easily. Dwight intended for the man to find him. He knew Logan was watching and asks why Logan wants the oil. The man won’t answer, but threatens Dwight instead, demanding to know the location of the oil fields. Dwight refuses and no matter how much the guy beats him up, he remains silent. He’s been through worse.
The man resorts to going through Dwights stuff and using Sherri’s letters against him. He sets a letter on fire and that triggers Dwight. The man has to pull a gun on Dwight to keep him from coming after him. A walker approaches the truck and the man has to turn his back on Dwight to kill it. That gives Dwight enough time to rush at him, knock the man down, and knock the gun out of his hand. Dwight picks up the gun and holds it to the man’s face, but they both know he won’t kill him. Dwight knocks him out instead, ties him up, and closes him in the back of the truck.
And Yet, I Smile
Morgan and Grace make their way to the back hallway to find the generator. They encounter a group of walkers that Morgan takes care of easily…except for one. Grace has to help him with the last one. They fill the generator up with gas and Morgan opens up about his son. He tells Grace how Dwayne used to love driving his remote control car down the street. Morgan says he used to be a serious kind of guy until he met his wife. He says he knew it was the real thing because of how she made him smile.
The lights come on and they make their way back to the courtyard to go to the Urgent Care Clinic. There is a gate on the entrance and when they open it, an alarm goes off. The walkers turn toward the alarm, forcing Grace and Morgan to run to the escalator. Morgan has a little trouble getting up the escalator, but Grace helps him. Unfortunately, there are walkers on the top level now and they have to run to the main office to getaway.
The first thing they do is turn off the alarm at the Urgent Care center. Then Grace finds the key to the gate so they can get in without setting off the alarm again. Morgan finds the security cameras and sees Chuck. He’s on the roof and he’s still alive.
Dwight lets the man out of the truck and takes him into the woods. He says his gun wasn’t loaded because he didn’t trust himself not to hurt anyone. Someone gave him a second chance and now he’s giving the man a second chance. When he leaves the woods, he has a choice to continue hurting people or be someone else. Dwight cuts the man’s tie and lets him go.
When Morgan and Grace get to the roof, Chuck is happy to see them. He was afraid they wouldn’t make it in time. He moved to the roof to see the stars one last time. However, it’s a cloudy night, so Grace finds a child’s toy that shines stars on the ceiling of the awning that Chuck is sitting under.
The next morning, Morgan and Grace bury Chuck under a tree in the parking lot. They go back into the mall and Grace decides that she doesn’t want to know what’s wrong with her. She’s going to keep believing there’s more than just that day. It’s what she calls, being alive. Morgan suggests they get some rest, but Grace wants to ride the carousel in the middle of the mall. At first, Morgan doesn’t want to ride, but Grace makes him get on and makes him smile.
210 Words Per Minute
Dwight returns with Daniel’s caravan. They load up as many supplies as they can. Daniel is pretty disappointed that there’s not a Cinnabon in the mall. They see Dwight’s beaten face and he tells them about the man he ran into and let go.
While they are stopped, Daniel trims Dwight’s hair and gives him a shave. Grace continues her book on tape, at 210 words per minute. She decides to slow it down to normal speed. Morgan takes one last look at the carousel and smiles. Daniel catches him and Morgan gets nervous,
Everyone is gassed up and ready to go. Grace even got protein bars for the road. She’s expecting Morgan to ride with her, but he says he’s not going. He’s going to find Al and she needs backup. Grace understands, but she is visibly disappointed. After Morgan says goodbye, Grace starts crying. Morgan gets in the truck and sees Grace staring at him in the rearview mirror. He starts crying too.
If this was an episode to establish a strong connection between Morgan and Grace before she dies, I’m pretty sure they did that in the first half. I think the real story in this episode was Dwight’s story. He has a lot to atone for and has recognized how much he needs to change to do that. I think his growth is far more interesting than a love connection that will be a heartache for Morgan. Losing people is the last thing that Morgan needs.
What is this thing that Fear the Walking Dead is doing? They have these survivors of the apocalypse making rookie mistakes. Grace’s carelessness almost got her and Morgan killed. This is the same woman who was making Morgan give up his Aikido stick, just to be safe. It’s like she wants to be bitten.
Let’s hope this is the last slow episode of this season. It’s been going at negative 210 words per minute.