Have you ever wished that your zombie apocalypse shows had more young love in them? Well, AMC has heard you and — even though they should have learned from The Walking Dead: World Beyond — decided that romance is what everyone needs in the latest episode of Fear the Walking Dead.
Yeah, I’m rolling my eyes too.
While last week’s episode brought you fever dreams and bagpipes, this week is filled with bowling lessons and butterflies. Honestly, I wish I was joking.
Ali wants to be a ranger
Episode 20, titled “Mourning Cloak,” opens with the introduction of Ali (Ashton Arbab). He’s 15, and he wants to be a ranger.
He’s a new character, so don’t get attached to him because you know the drill in Fear the Walking Dead.
Howard (Omid Abtahi) sends
Jon Snow Ali out to catch butterflies to show his worth as a ranger. Because, in a radioactive zombie wasteland, that’s your best use of time, apparently.
It takes him all of five minutes to find the mourning cloak butterfly that is requested of him, and he is ready to head back when he bumps into a random stranger robbing his horse.
Charlie is just looking for
Enter Charlie (Alexa Nisenson), who is, obviously, on a mission to infiltrate the Tower but flat out lies and tells Ali that she is about to turn 13 and just wants to do normal teenager stuff.
Ali isn’t buying it, but, like all slow-burn YA romances, he is allowed to take Charlie back to the Tower. She gets to see just how awesome life is there with all the mod-cons, and her lie of wanting to experience being a teen just like the “old times” seems like a solid lie now.
Howard doesn’t buy it for a second, though, and thanks to a conveniently broken-down elevator, Charlie and Ali are sent out on a mission to find spare parts.
While they are gone, Ali is expected to find out the real reason Charlie is there. Even though it becomes apparent that Charlie knows people associated with Morgan (Lennie James), Howard can’t make the jump to conclude that a teenage girl could be a spy.
Let’s go bowling
The mission to find the elevator parts is dangerous because the only place they can look is one that has a bunch of radioactive walkers in it.
Charlie is like, “Cool, cool, I’ve been on the outside. I know how to do this.” However, before they get there, they take a little side trip to a bowling alley after seeing some Stalkers.
It’s here that Charlie learns how to bowl, but it is still a little while before the romance takes off. But you can totally see it coming with all those sideways glances and conversations about the backstory.
Love in an elevator
They finally make it to the building they need and are instantly ambushed by Stalkers. Charlie manages to make it inside, but Ali is confronted and ordered to enter the building.
Even though you can hear the walkers inside, the Stalkers have apparently never had someone open the door on a horse before, and they are all quickly killed by the walkers that Ali releases.
So much dumb.
Inside, Charlie quickly dispatches a bunch of radioactive walkers and then gets to work on the elevator, and Ali works on making his way into Charlie’s heart.
Charlie finally ‘fesses up to why she is seeking shelter at the Tower. At Morgan’s behest, she plans to turn off the beacon light that night so that the walkers outside the Tower can be dispatched.
If you’re into romance novels, this is the part when the conflict is introduced.
Ali can’t believe that Charlie would do such a thing and promptly throws her into the elevator as radioactive walkers approach. He speaks to Howard on the radio and leaves Charlie to die.
Except, he can’t help himself. Not when young love has so quickly arisen.
Rescuing Charlie, the couple finally kisses, and Charlie promptly faints from unrequited love.
It’s the radiation doing that. Apparently, she didn’t quite steer clear of the toxic zombies.
Charlie is sick
Ali takes Charlie back to the Tower and she is attended to by June (Jenna Elfman). She informs Ali that his girlfriend is suffering from radiation poisoning and that every day matters now.
Ali quickly sets about releasing all those butterflies that Strand (Colman Domingo) wanted to be collected and takes Charlie to see them flying free.
A kissing fest ensues in a romantic montage that can only end badly because this is Fear the Walking Dead.
Ali wants to fulfill Charlie’s mission
Because Ali is so smitten, he decides to fulfill Charlie’s mission and heads to the roof to turn off the beacon. While he’s there, he gets busted by Howard and pushed off the Tower.
Charlie sees what happens to her beau and has a meltdown. June goes all mamma bear and finally grows a set of balls when approached by Howard.
She suddenly seems to realize that Howard’s threats toward her — in fact, Victor’s threats as well — are hollow because she is a medical expert, and they won’t get rid of her since the medical staff is in such short supply in the Walking Dead universe.
As to what happens next remains to be seen, and viewers will have to tune in next week to find out more.
Season 7 of Fear the Walking Dead airs every Sunday night on AMC.