Fear the Walking Dead returned from a short midseason break with its much-anticipated Office episode. Much of "Channel 4" takes the form of a documentary/infomercial made by Al (Maggie Grace) and the rest of the Helpsters (my new name for group) to encourage other survivors to get in touch if they need help and maybe join their cause. It was a clever-enough break from format with a fun action sequence and some nice character development for Morgan (Lennie James), if you can put aside the "what is even happening anymore" feeling that's descended on Season 5.
The storytelling feels half-finished a lot of the time. So the Helpsters found the oil fields that Logan (Matt Frewer) was talking about in the midseason finale and then they cut him out of the deal, so now he's sending some kid (Colby Hollman) to infiltrate them in order to bring them down? Is that what's happening? Because the search for gasoline seemed like it was going to be a big part of the second half of the season because that was Logan's whole motivation, and then it got completely glossed over in 30 confusing seconds in this episode. Is that really what happened? I was watching closely and taking notes and I'm still not completely sure. I still don't really understand who Logan is or what he wants, and I'm not convinced the writers do, either. It doesn't help that he's a completely forgettable physical presence. The Walking Dead villains are supposed to be larger-than-life weirdos, and Logan has all the charisma of a civil engineer.
The centerpiece of the episode — and the documentary — was helping a fearful woman named Tess (Peggy Schott) and her young son get out of a house she hadn't left in two years because her husband had turned the yard into a minefield. He went on a supply run to a pharmacy to get an inhaler for the boy, but the Helpsters discovered that he had died on the way back. While approaching the house to tell Tess what had happened to her husband, Morgan stepped on a mine that didn't detonate, and Tess came outside and helped him defuse it, and then joined the group, having been convinced of their helpfulness.
Tess reminded Morgan of himself at the start of the apocalypse, barricaded inside his house with his son after losing his spouse. Morgan knew what the future had in store for Tess should she ever lose her son, too, and he wanted to help her avoid the pain and madness he went through. The encounter with Tess made Morgan face the fact that he hasn't said goodbye to Jenny and Duane, and carrying their deaths around with him is preventing him from becoming the man he's trying to become. He needs to say goodbye to them, he just doesn't know how. When that moment finally comes, it will be a moving one, one that brings closure to a story that began in the pilot episode of The Walking Dead. So that gives us one signpost for where this story is going.
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. It's available to stream on Hulu.