This week's episode of Fear the Walking Dead confirmed what we already knew about the masked man who took Althea (Maggie Grace) in the season premiere: he's definitely part of the same group that took Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) away from The Walking Dead, because in the final moments of Season 5, Episode 4, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Morgan (Lennie James) saw a helicopter with the interlocking rings symbol take off and fly away. But the appearance of the helicopter only raises more questions: Where was it going? Was Al in it? Is it the same helicopter that took Rick?
We have ideas for answers to some of these questions.
The easiest question to answer is if it's the same helicopter. The answer is: probably. The chopper on The Walking Dead and the chopper on Fear both have an "A" on the side, which can be very briefly glimpsed as the one on Fear flies away. Presumably there's a "B" helicopter somewhere, since whoever these people are, they think about things in terms of As and Bs. (Al is probably an "A" in their not-yet-fully-explained "A/B" human classification system.) Which brings us to the next question: Is Al in that helicopter?
Signs point to... maybe. When Annie (Bailey Gavulic) and Max (Ethan Suess) saw the masked soldier on the road, he was alone. But that doesn't mean he couldn't have stashed his prisoner somewhere as he ran a zombie-killing errand. Or maybe Al somehow got the drop oh him and put on his suit, and it's actually her flying the helicopter. She was the one flying the plane when she crash-landed in the season premiere, after all, so she knows how to fly, even if she's not great at landing.
The trailer has shots of Al in what looks like a restaurant kitchen (it looks like there's an ice machine behind her), and going rock-climbing in full gear, with a helmet and harness and everything, and eventually reuniting with Morgan. So maybe she goes somewhere in the helicopter and spends some time making her way back to the group. It doesn't look like she's going to end up with Rick Grimes and Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh).
"She has some really weighty decisions to make without all the information, and a lot of lives hang in the balance, so it's hard without the community around her," is what Maggie Grace would say about Al's upcoming solo adventure when TV Guide sat down with her at the ATX Television Festival earlier this month.
But if Al still is a prisoner at this point and is in the helicopter with the surviving masked soldier, where are they going and what is he going to do with her? Is she what they came for, like Annie implied? He might be trying to take her to the Commonwealth, the technologically advanced colony he might be from. But they're almost certainly not going to get there, since Al makes it back at some point.
What seems most likely with Al and the masked man is that Al will use her journalistic skills to find out a little bit more about this group, and whatever she finds out will give us a little clue about where the first Rick Grimes movie is headed. But we won't know for sure until Al reappears.
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. Previous seasons are available to stream on Hulu.