“You’re Still Here” was slightly improved but still frustrating and plodding as we’re asked to care about a tree-based mystery.
This recap of Fear the Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 11, “You’re Still Here”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
“You’re Still Here”, as an episode title, feels like a cruel joke at the expense of those of us who have stuck with this show since the beginning. Yes, we’re still here, and we’re still watching, despite not having been given a compelling reason to continue doing so for almost two seasons now. Fear the Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 11, while slightly improved over the God-awful installments we’ve been taunted with since the show’s midseason break, nonetheless failed to make a case for the show’s continued existence.
Divided more or less in half between two separate storylines, “You’re Still Here” deals with Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Strand (Colman Domingo) responding to a cry for help from Wes (Colby Hollman), who it eventually turns out has manufactured a sob story so that he can retrieve a stolen manuscript, while Morgan (Lennie James) and Al (Maggie Grace) break into a bank vault and encounter Logan (Matt Frewer) and his cronies.
Integral to the Wes detour is the fact that Alicia has decided she won’t kill zombies anymore, which threatens to mandate an interesting action sequence during which she must navigate a blinded Strand through a horde of walkers, but it’s quickly abandoned. By episode’s end, she’s over it. Strand is blinded due to a ridiculous mess-up involving riot gear; an extended stand-off sequence plays like a bizarre dark comedy of errors. The climax of this sub-plot, during which Wes kills the man who stole his manuscript in order to retrieve it and then allows the corpse to hold onto it because he died for it, is patently ridiculous.
The on-going conflict with Logan is the only real structure that Fear the Walking Dead has at this point, but it’s such an uninteresting clash of ideologies that it’s very difficult to care one way or the other. All the constant chatter about doing the right thing remains tedious, while the threat of corrupting our moral puritan heroes — all of whom were flawed, to begin with — doesn’t offer much in the way of stakes. Althea’s obsession with preserving the past is a character trait she has relentlessly reinforced since her introduction, and it’s just as grating now as it was then.
What am I supposed to say at this point? “You’re Still Here” was a slight improvement over the last two episodes, but only in the way that being sick is a slight improvement over a crippling stomach ache. You’d still rather do without either.