I’m warning you now that this episode of Fear the Walking Dead is a real tear-jerker and you’d better get those tissues ready well advance — and this is coming from someone who usually doesn’t get overly emotional when it comes to characters in the zombie apocalypse.
I mean, AMC kind of killed my emotional response after what happened to Glenn (Steven Yeun) in The Walking Dead.
Still, this episode manages to punch you repeatedly right in the feels. And, even if you had some preconceived ideas on what was going to go down thanks to AMC releasing the first few minutes prior to Episode 12 aired, you might just want to hold onto your hat anyway.
Also, for those thinking that the latest installment of Fear the Walking Dead will be all sunshine and rainbows on account of it being Mother’s Day in the real world, might just want to check that thought at the door before you head on into the horrifically traumatic episode that is wrapped in a pretty pink landscape.
So, because of that, I am going to issue a huge trigger warning right now in regard to pregnancy and loss. Please proceed with caution if you suspect that these subjects may be of a sensitive nature to you.
Grace is dreaming of the perfect world
Right from the start, it’s pretty apparent that Grace (Karen David) is no longer in Kansas. The pink trees are a dead giveaway, after all.
So, in true “wake up in a fantasy world while horrible stuff is really happening” style, it takes a while for things to get sorted right in Grace’s head.
But, what you need to know is that the new character that barrels in and saves Grace from a walker as she is waking up from whatever horrible just happened to her, is her daughter, Athena (Sahana Srinivasan).
Also, this is sixteen years into the future and everything is positively rosy regarding Morgan’s (Lennie James) new community. Seriously, Daniel (Ruben Blades) and Strand (Colman Domingo) are best buds, and Dwight (Austin Amelio) and Sherry (Christine Evangelista) are back together and as sweet as pie.
I’m not crying, you’re crying.
Morgan realizes who Grace is
It takes a minute, but Morgan finds out that Grace is actually Grace and goes about filling her in about how she died giving birth to Athena. He then suggests that they take a little road trip in order for Athena to bond with Grace and they can play happy families for a while.
So, you totally know that’s not how it’s going to go down in the latest episode of Fear the Walking Dead.
Instead, Grace sees a car and that starts to trigger her memory. She works out that she is dreaming because she was knocked unconscious by an explosion triggered by those doomsday preppers we met in Episode 11.
It takes her a little while longer to work out the rest of the story, namely that this is her death dream before Athena is born and that they must work together to get her back to Morgan so she can wake up and give birth.
She also mentions the fact that Athena is the daughter of a guy at the powerplant she worked at and not Morgan’s offspring at all.
I mean, did we know this already or was that a new clanger dropped?
Honestly, I have no idea, and I suspect no one else does either, as all the recaps I have read so far seem to just skim over this reveal.
So, let’s do that too, shall we?
Morgan’s key is, well, key to this episode of Fear the Walking Dead
Grace finally comes out of her unconscious state and, because of this, she realizes that children really are the future (seriously, AMC you totally missed an opportunity there, instead you opted for Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams.”)
In particular, her child is the future, and that the birth of Athena — and the subsequent death of herself — will draw the communities together in order to rise up against the threatening new community.
“That key is not the future,” Grace tells Morgan. “She is. She’s gonna bring everyone together. She’s gonna give everyone something to fight for.”
What really happens, though, is that Riley (Nick Stahl) demands that Morgan hand over the key that is hanging around his neck. Morgan pretty much immediately does because Grace told him to. I mean, what’s not to believe about someone who has taken a pretty serious knock to the head and now knows how the future will turn out?
Riley takes off with his key (and, for a theory on why that item is so important, all you probably need to know is that it likely unlocks that big a*sed submarine that appeared in Episode 1 of Fear the Walking Dead Season 6). Also, it’s probably safe to say that the very same nuclear submarine will be the reason why Riley’s group wants to head underground for good.
Grace goes into labor
With the messy business of Riley’s group trying to get their key back sorted, Grace can now go into labor.
She’s okay with dying, too, since she’s seen how perfectly everything goes in the future. So, why should she worry?
*Scowls at AMC*
Because none of anything that happened in Grace’s dream is actually true.
Oh sure, someone dies but that someone is not Grace. Instead, it is Athena.
“What I saw… they weren’t my last moments,” Grace says after she realizes that Morgan can’t revive the baby. “They were hers. I thought it was going to be different. But it was just a dream. It was just a dream.”
Yeah, that reveal was shocking, surprising, twisted, and totally horrific.
I mean, what was even the point? Sure, babies die all the time — and more so in the zombie apocalypse. But this just feels like a cheap and horrific punch to the guts merely for shock value.
Yes, it shocked me. Yes, I ugly-cried while watching.
However, the more I think about it, the more I feel like it was a super crummy way to tie up this storyline and agree entirely with Forbes in that it was “a bit exploitative.” To say the least.
As for what will happen next, well, who knows.
Maybe Morgan will give up his ridiculous “no-kill” rule and finally destroy Riley’s group? Maybe Riley’s group will get their hands on some nuclear warheads and blow up everyone.
Either way, viewers will just have to tune in next week to find out more.
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on AMC.More: Fear the Walking Dead, Karen David, Lennie James