Warning: The following contains spoilers for the final season premiere of Fear the Walking Dead.
Time flew in Sunday’s eighth and final season premiere of Fear the Walking Dead. One minute, Madison was backing up Morgan in his attempt to rescue baby Mo from PADRE, and the next, their plot had failed, she’d spent seven years (!) as an imprisoned blood bank, and he’d become a kidnapping Collector!
Interestingly, although the passage of the better part of a decade hadn’t even slightly changed Madison, aka “Lark,” it had allowed Mo to grow into a spunky 8-year-old who loved to say that she could handle herself but most definitely could not. Rechristened “Wren” by PADRE, who turned out to be an enigmatic person as much as a place, she was too traumatized by her last night with Morgan and Grace to utilize her training and defend herself against
walkers Carrion. (Do infants really remember stuff that well?)
Once Mo stumbled upon a suicidal Madison’s cell, the telltale scar on the girl’s wrist tipped off Nick and Alicia’s mom to the child’s identity. Again, Madison felt that she had a reason to live: to get Morgan’s daughter the hell outta there, whether she wanted to go or not. Being one of our leads, Madison pulled off this feat with relatively little difficulty. Until, that is, her getaway speedboat reached the shore, and she and Mo encountered Morgan. Er, “Nightingale.” (At what point would PADRE run out of cool-ish bird names and have to call someone “Ostrich” or “Whooping Crane”?)
Madison, not seeming to have noticed that characters on this show switch motivations at least twice an episode, was stunned that Morgan wanted to return Mo to PADRE. What’s more, he seemed ready to put a bullet in his old friend’s head because PADRE no longer had any use for “Lark.” “Seriously?” we exclaimed right along with her.
Despite panting off and on like an obscene phone caller, Madison succeeded in disarming Morgan and coercing him into leading her and Mo into the swamp toward the site of the makeshift family’s fateful last stand seven years ago. Along the way, Morgan revealed that, last he knew, Madison’s old drinking buddy Strand had gone MIA. At the boathouse, decorated with a callback to a more dramatically resonant era of the franchise (Duane and Jenny’s names painted on an inner wall), Mo found a cassette of Grace singing “In Dreams.” Suddenly, the youngster’s memory returned in full. As a tot, she had been afraid that walkers were going to pull the boathouse underwater — just like it appeared that they were about to now.
Back then, Morgan had radioed PADRE to come get Mo in order to save her. This time, since Madison had chucked their only walkie-talkie, he and his daughter made their way through the water as best they could while “Lark” did her damnedest to draw walkers to the boathouse. It looked for a moment as if they might get her. (Sure, Jan.) But at the last second, Grace came zooming up in a speedboat, guns a-blazing. (What a surprise, eh?)
Moved after seeing her parents in action — and what concept of “parents” would “Wren” even have gotten in PADRE? — Mo no longer wanted to go back. She wanted to go forward with her folks and Madison. Tough s—t, Morgan and Grace said, basically. “Wren” was returning to PADRE — for her own good, they reasoned. As for Morgan, he was ready to get back to work but was told that — ruh-roh — PADRE was retiring “Nightingale.” (Wonder what blood type he is… )
During a debriefing with PADRE, “Wren” promised the group’s mysterious leader that he’d have no more trouble from her. This was music to his ears, he said, as she was to play a crucial role in their next steps. Whatever those might turn out to be, Mo would be ready, it seemed. In her next attempt to take out a walker in practice, she beaned the zombie with no trouble at all. (After that, it would be like riding a bike, right? Riding it over the undead’s heads, but still.)
So, what did you think of the final season premiere? Grade it in the poll below, then hit the comments with your observations, questions, quibbles.