Fear the Walking Dead is so wilfully stupid that it’s almost comical at this point, but “MM 54” proved that the show can still be ludicrously annoying too.
If I were to make an itemized list of all the ways in which Fear the Walking Dead is stupid it’d eat up all our bandwidth, so a brief summary of “MM 54” will have to suffice. Besides, it’s more or less the same thing; ever since Scott Gimple put his grubby, uncreative fingerprints all over the show, it has been a steadily necrotising parade of amateurish writing, sloppy plotting, and very, very idiotic decision-making. “MM 54” might not have been the worst episode of the abominable fourth season, although admittedly it is difficult to tell at this point, but it was certainly one with all of that stuff on proud display.
Once again taking centre stage here is Morgan (Lennie James), the apocalypse’s perennial know-it-all pacifist martyr, and it’s difficult to overstate how sick of him I am. I don’t even dislike the character, really, but as a lead he’s abysmal, which makes is all the more infuriating that every other character immediately looks to him – and only him – for a solution to every problem. There’s no wonder the guy’s fed up.
The problem in “MM 54” is that of Martha (Tonya Pinkins), whose enlightening backstory this week revealed that she’s fundamentally against helping people because – wait for it! – she lost someone. Boo fucking hoo, Martha, haven’t we all. My granddad died ages ago and you didn’t see me taking all my frustrations out on cardboard boxes. But nonetheless she buggers everything up and makes haste in the SWAT van, leaving our heroes to flee to a nearby hospital that is predictably littered with the undead.
Morgan’s breathtakingly dumb solution to the hospital problem is to restore power to the elevators so that everyone can get to the roof and be stranded there. Genius! The only positive turn of events here is that Jim (Aaron Standford) gets bitten, so thankfully we won’t have to listen to him droning on about local beer for much longer. Perplexingly, Morgan takes full responsibility for this turnabout, despite the fact he was occupied at the time and Jim’s a useless, whining coward. Look, Morgan, we get it, you’re sad and stuff. Suck it up. Nobody gave a single discount shit about Jim, and nobody believes that you did. Good riddance.
Meanwhile, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Charlie (Alexa Nisenson) are hot on the group’s heels… until Alicia arbitrarily decides to take Charlie to the beach instead. I know it sounds like I’m making that up, but it’s honestly what happened in “MM 54”. I’ve spent weeks making a convincing case that Fear the Walking Dead should cull the entire cast and make everything about Alicia, and even she’s letting me down. And her justification was appalling. “I just need something to be good.” Yeah, well, me too. And this show isn’t.
You’re probably thinking that nothing stupider could possibly have happened in “MM 54”, but you’d be dead wrong. Alicia and Charlie do indeed go to the beach – kind of, anyway. They randomly stumbled on a flooded area that isn’t on any of their maps, but it’s a body of water so it’ll do, right? May as well break out the deck chairs and get started on the sandcastles. And has luck would have it, this just so happens to be the same makeshift island where John Dorie (Garrett Dillahunt) and Strand (Colman Domingo) are marooned. Thank goodness for the tiny state of Texas, I guess.
Christ, this is so stupid.