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TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead - Season 4, Episode 12

Season 4, Episode 12: Weak

PLOT: Separated by a large storm, characters struggle to overcome sickness and dangerous strangers while trying to find each other.

REVIEW: Weak is an episode of AMC's Fear the Walking Dead that I had a lot of trouble getting into, and about halfway through it I realized that my struggle to care about what was going on wasn't only because it was so low-key and talky. The main reason I wasn't very interested in Weak was due to the fact that it's another example of something I'm feeling uncomfortable with: how different Fear the Walking Dead has gotten from what it was before. I had plenty of issues with the show during earlier seasons, but thought it had really found its footing in season 3. For me, the third season of Fear was better than the eighth season of its companion series The Walking Dead, so I wanted to see the show continue down that path while keeping its core characters intact.

Instead, Fear went down a very different path, killed off its two most important characters, and is now focusing on a bunch of newbies. This is the second episode in a row not to feature any of the cast members from the previous seasons, and that really didn't sit well with me. Colman Domingo, who has played Victor Strand on the show since the first season, did direct the episode, but that doesn't make up for his character not being on screen in it.

The story of the episode deals with the characters still trying to find each other after being separated by a severe storm a few episodes back. While The Walking Dead crossover character Morgan Jones (Lennie James) and a trio of characters who were introduced in the previous episode - Wendell (Daryl Mitchell), Sarah (Mo Collins), and Jim (Aaron Stanford) - travel across the countryside, dropping off helpful boxes of supplies at regular intervals, June (Jenna Elfman) and Althea (Maggie Grace) are also travelling together, with June desperately hoping to hear from the missing John Dorie (Garret Dillahunt).

I like John Dorie, but I'm fairly certain he'll be turning up alive, so I couldn't really share June's worries about him, and I'm getting tired of watching her feel bad about the way she has approached surviving in the zombie apocalypse. I also found it tough to feel concerned for Althea's well-being when she fell ill. I like Maggie Grace, but I've yet to start caring about Althea. She could have been written off in this episode and I would have been fine with it.

The Morgan side of the episode did have a couple good things going for it. For one thing, Morgan referenced the early days of The Walking Dead and Rick Grimes' attempts to stay in contact with him over on that show while talking to Sarah, and it is kind of neat to hear references to the other Dead show on this one. The other standout moment came when Morgan encountered the mysterious woman (Tonya Pinkins) who made her first appearance at the end of The Code. Morgan is friendly to the woman during their brief interaction, but I don't think they're still going to be on friendly terms if they meet again.

The scenes with the mystery woman were the most interesting of the episode. She's stalking the show's other characters, making zombies and keeping them like pets, and appears to be out to teach the characters some lessons. The most important lesson apparently being, "You shouldn't help other people." I'm highly intrigued to see where her story is going.

Weak is a fitting title for this episode, which I found quite weak itself. With too much focus on uninteresting moments between characters I don't really care about, this one was a slog for me to get through. Its bright spots were few and far between - but at least it continued to set up that mystery woman as a unique new villain. I will be caring if/when she crosses paths with the show's returning characters.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: A zombie is so hyped up to go after Althea that it snaps one of its legs off to reach her, and for its trouble it gets a car dropped on its head.

GORY GLORY: A zombie... or half of one... is seen stuck to the cowcatcher on the front of the semi truck Sarah and Wendell ride around in.

FAVORITE SCENE: The mystery woman tricks a man named Quinn (Charles Harrelson) into stopping his vehicle at the wrong mile marker so she can set her pet zombie loose on him.

FINAL VERDICT

Extra Tidbit: What did you think of Weak?

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