After a strong run of eventful episodes (Helicopter stuff! Salazar! Dwight! More helicopter stuff!), Fear the Walking Dead didn't have splashy, crossover-y stuff to do in Episode 6 of Season 5, and as a result the episode felt inconsequential. This is going to be Fear the Walking Dead's problem now that it's made itself into a western extension of The Walking Dead; its most notable moments are going to come when it connects to the larger universe, and it will be hard to maintain the interest in self-contained stories. When there are things happening on Fear that will set up Rick Grimes movies, anything that isn't that looks a little unimportant by comparison.
This is especially true when it's about a bunch of boring kids we barely know mourning their parents we never met, or intentionally goofy stuff like Strand (Colman Domingo) and Charlie (Alexa Nisenson) flying a hot air ballon shaped like a beer bottle with provenance and utility that was inexplicable. Seriously, Strand and Charlie disappearing for five minutes and coming back with the dead brewer Jim's (Aaron Stanford) previously unmentioned hot air ballon and the exact part they needed to fix their plane was "Beyond the Wall"-style dumb. We can suspend our disbelief while watching a zombie show, but we can't shut our brains off.
There actually was quite a bit of crossover in this episode, with Dwight (Austin Amelio) and John (Garret Dillahunt) looking for Dwight's wife Sherry (Christine Evangelista), whose trail of notes Dwight has been following since he was on The Walking Dead. But we haven't seen Sherry since she absconded from the Sanctuary in Season 7 of the flagship, and after this episode I think it's probable we'll never see again. The note John found that Sherry left for Dwight asking him to stop looking for her and telling him there will be no more notes made it seem like the Sherry trail will go cold for good. They'll spend another episode looking for her, then John will admit that he lied and Sherry did leave a note, then Dwight will be mad until he accepts that even though Sherry's gone, he's not alone anymore, and officially joins the group. Which is all fine, but it's not particularly exciting.
There was also some Scott Gimple-ian speechifying when Morgan (Lennie James) was trying to persuade the kids to stay and help fix the plane. Morgan delivering a monologue about The Way Things Are Now gave me flashbacks to the doldrums of The Walking Dead Seasons 7 and 8, when most of the dialogue sounded like that. The content of the speech was flipped from fatalistic to optimistic, but the cadence was the same.
There are only two episodes left of this half-season, and hopefully the back half introduces a compelling enemy or intra-group conflict, because we've spent enough time trying to fix the plane to last for the rest of this show's life.
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.