Fear the Walking Dead’s Lennie James wasn’t exaggerating when he told Michael Ausiello at Comic-Con that walkers would fly in Season 4B. The premiere had scarcely begun when zombies started doing exactly that. From there, we cut to the (relative) calm before the storm, and the circumstances that left a bunch of odd couples stuck together to stare down Mother Nature. Who wound up with whom? Read on…
‘I NEVER SHOULD’VE LEFT’ | Early on in “People Like Us,” Morgan informed Al that he was going back to Alexandria and — proving that even post-apocalypse, everybody has that one friend who always needs a lift — asked her to give him a ride. Next, he kicked off a goodbye tour that he hoped wouldn’t actually involve many goodbyes. Though he assured John that Alexandria was “a good place with good people,” his pal hoped to move back to his cabin with June and Charlie once he’d recovered from his gunshot wound. Did he really think the cabin would still be there? June asked later. “I locked the door before I left,” John replied. Nearby, a walker lurched out of the river toward Charlie, and she neither ran nor called for help. Had Al not come along just then, the kid would’ve joined Nick and Madison in the hereafter (which, June clearly suspected, had been her goal in not fleeing).
‘I’VE RETIRED FROM SCRAPING BY JUST TO SURVIVE’ | Next up on Morgan’s farewell tour was a visit to the mansion in which Strand, Lucy and Alicia had settled. Victor was thoroughly enjoying the extensive wine cellar, and Nick’s grieving girlfriend was forlornly working her way through a collection of golden oldies. And neither of them were interested in hitting the road with Morgan. Not only did Lucy never want to set foot in Al’s van again, “you know the kind of people we’d run into” on the road to Virginia, she suggested. “People like us,” Strand said. What about Alicia? Hey, where was Alicia? Turned out, she hadn’t so much moved into the mansion as its greenhouse. Out there, Morgan discovered, the young woman spent most of her time drawing walkers to the fence so that she could dispatch them and read the “Help!” notes tacked to them. Wanting to emulate her late mother, Alicia was determined to figure out where they were coming from so that she could provide the assistance needed by the notes’ author. Alternate plan, Morgan offered. Come to Alexandria. “You could do a lot of good there.” Nah, she said. She wanted to do this particular good, here, now.
‘THESE GRAPES WERE NOT MEANT FOR WRATH’ | Later, Strand awakened from several drinks too many to find blood on the door. A walker had mistakenly thought the welcome mat was for it, let itself in and would have rudely interrupted Lucy’s listening session, had Victor not intervened, clobbering it with a bottle. (Did anyone else think the fun staging of this scene was reminiscent of Preacher?) Clearly, the time had come — and gone! — for them to patch up the breach in their fence. While doing so, Lucy admitted that she didn’t “know what’s left, where to be, what to fight for.” Strand was asking himself the same questions, he admitted. He was just doing so while soused on fine wine. Back at the school bus that John, June and Charlie were calling home, Al volunteered to go with the former Naomi to find out why walkers kept washing downstream. At the same time, Alicia realized that the “help” notes were coming from a lumber mill overrun by walkers, and recruited Morgan to accompany her.
‘NO ONE SAID ANYTHING ABOUT A JUNE’ | After Al and June found on the side of the road a cardboard box full of supplies and a note on it that read, “Take what you need, leave what you don’t; see you up the road” — foreshadowing of the new characters we know are coming — the erstwhile Laura asked what John had told the videographer about her during their interview. He hadn’t said anything about June, Al replied, just Laura. And everyone else only talked about Naomi. “You wanna tell me about [June]?” Al asked. “Maybe it would help.” By and by, June confessed — off camera — that what had her worried was that “John fell in love with Laura. I’m not Laura. I’m the woman who got scared and ran away, and not just from John, from everyone. It’s who I am.” Sweetly, Al reassured her that the person she was with John every day now… that was who she was. “Yesterday’s yesterday, and today’s today, and God knows if there’ll be a tomorrow,” she added, realizing, “I sound like my mom.” (Which may be the most personal factoid we’ve ever gotten about Al — that her mom was a philosophical advice-dispenser.)
‘WHOEVER’S ASKING FOR HELP HAS A REASON FOR ASKING’ | En route to the lumber mill, Morgan admitted to Alicia that he’d left Alexandria in a hurry, just after a friend (Rick) had told him he’d find his way back to people. “I just wanna look him in the eye,” said Morgan, “and tell him he was right.” At the mill, he and Alicia dispatched the walkers that had trapped someone in an office by luring them outside and dropping a load of lumber on them. (Props to them — I doubt I could’ve figured out which lever to hit!) Unfortunately, the author of all the “help” notes was not only dead but turned. “My mom would’ve found him,” said Alicia, ruefully reflecting on how, like Madison, she’d been good at doing whatever it took to survive. “She changed, though,” Morgan pointed out, “so you can change.” She could start by being there for Strand and Lucy the way her mom would’ve. “You could be there for us, too, right?” Alicia countered. So “why are you leaving?”
‘YOU CAUGHT ME DOING A LITTLE LIGHT HOUSEKEEPING’ | At the school bus, John tried to break through Charlie’s wall of silence by making a Scrabble board and cereal-box tiles — with extra Z’s, even, “in case you had a hankering for pizza, wordwise.” While attempting to coax her to play, he related that he’d once done something that he wasn’t very proud of and certainly hadn’t wanted to discuss. But telling June had allowed him to forgive himself, he added. When he moved away to dispatch a walker, Charlie grabbed her book bag and ran off. Next thing we knew, John was at Strand’s door asking for his help to find her. (Obviously, John couldn’t go it alone in his condition.) After some back and forth about who was responsible for more awfulness, Victor agreed to accompany the sharpshooter… so long as: A) he left Lucy out of it (she was in no way, shape or form gonna wanna rescue Nick’s murderer) and B) John drove since Strand was way too drunk to get behind the wheel.
‘EVERYBODY USED TO BE SOMETHING’ | Just as June and Al realized that the dead weren’t bobbing around in the river because of a bridge being out but because of an approaching storm, Mother Nature began lashing out. In no time, the women had lost walkie-talkie contact with John and Strand. Meanwhile, Alicia marched into the rain, insisting to Morgan that she’d be fine on her own. But clearly, he wasn’t going to be able to let her set off into the maelstrom by herself. Back at the mansion, Lucy heard somebody sneak in — and spotted Charlie. “What do you want?!?” she yelled at the girl. “Haven’t you done enough?!?” Only after the kid went running out into the rain did her pursuer discover that she’d been there to return the copy of The Little Prince that Lucy had given her. Seeing that, Lucy took off in the storm to find Charlie. Finally, Al stopped the van. WTH? June asked. They had to get back to John! Apparently, some compromises had had to be made when Al had repaired her vehicle, and now, no way could she drive it through 100 mph winds. As the hour drew to a close, flying walkers started being slammed into the van’s sides and down on its windshield!
So, what did you think of “People Like Us”? Are you smarting from the loss of Madison or just looking forward to forging forward with these characters? Grade the Season 4B premiere in the poll below, then hit the comments.