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TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead - Season 4, Episode 6

05.21.2018by: Cody Hamman

Season 4, Episode 6: Just in Case

PLOT: While John searches for information about Naomi/Laura in the present, we learn more about her during a supply run in the past.

REVIEW: Like the previous episode Laura, this week's episode of Fear the Walking Dead is primarily focused on the season's new character Laura, a.k.a. Naomi (Jenna Elfman), but thankfully this one also features a couple good scenes with returning characters - namely Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) and Victor Strand (Colman Domingo). If you like the scenes where Madison and Strand drink together and chat, Just in Case has you covered... and in the process, it also fills in some blanks in the characters' stories.

Just in Case goes back to the structure established in earlier episodes this season of jumping back and forth between stories taking place in the present day and at a point in the past, sometime during the substantial time jump that took place between the season three finale and the season four premiere. During a chat between Madison and Strand in the past, some dialogue tells us a bit about what happened immediately after the season three finale, giving a little insight on how the characters carried on after the dam explosion that separated them in the episode's last moments. That dialogue is a very simple way of telling the story I thought this season would be telling, before the time jump and The Walking Dead crossover character Morgan Jones (Lennie James) came into play. It's not the way I expected that information to be delivered, but it's nice to have that information.

Rather than delve too deeply into what occurred to the returning characters after the end of season three, Fear the Walking Dead is currently banking on viewers being deeply intrigued by this new character Laura/Naomi, who has gotten a surprising amount of screen time so far. She and fellow new addition John Dorie (Garret Dillahunt) even got an entire episode to themselves last week. While Madison and Strand are hanging out with her in the past segments of this episode, the real point of the past story is to tell us more about Elfman's character.

Laura/Naomi leads Madison and Strand on a supply run to an abandoned FEMA shelter, and once they're there they not only have to deal with a lot of zombies (one thing Fear season four has been very good about is making sure there's a decent amount of zombie action), they also learn about Laura/Naomi's past. She went through some major tragedy before she showed up at John's riverside cabin, and now we know exactly what that tragedy was. I'm not big on Laura/Naomi and her secretive, wishy washy ways, but the writers have given Elfman a complicated, tormented character to play and she is doing a great job bringing that character to life. I just wish that character would settle down for a while.

I also wish the other characters would agree on what to call her so I wouldn't have to refer to her as Laura/Naomi all the time.

Laura/Naomi is also the driving force in the present day segments of the episode, even though the other characters believe she's dead by that time. She "didn't make it out" when things went bad at the baseball stadium she was living in with the returning characters. Morgan and John were trying to figure out what happened to her, and while they don't find out exactly what went down at the stadium just yet, they do find out that I had made the correct assumption about her current whereabouts. I won't say where she is, but I will say it's not in a grave.

The revelation of where Laura/Naomi is was presented as a shocking twist, but just in case you were as not-shocked as I was, the show throws another unexpected turn of events at you just seconds later, and this one was surprising to me. I'll be especially shocked if this isn't just a fake-out; I don't think the character left shot and bleeding out at the end of this episode is going to suffer the same fate Nick Clark (Frank Dillane) did when he was shot a few episodes back.

I'm feeling conflicted about Fear the Walking Dead now. I'm disappointed that new characters have been so strongly overshadowing returning characters lately, but at the same time I'm interested in what's going on with these new characters. I'm hoping that the returning characters will be put more strongly in the forefront in the upcoming episodes. In the meantime, I'm begrudgingly enjoying spending time with the newbies.

Just in Case wasn't the strongest episode this season, but it wasn't too much of a dip down. It had zombie action and solid dramatic scenes, it made an attempt to answer some questions about the returning characters, and it let Madison and Strand chat for a couple minutes. That's the makings of a good episode.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: Naomi finds herself trapped by a herd of zombies she was somewhat responsible for creating.

GORY GLORY: As tends to be the case lately, there were plenty of dead bodies and zombie executions in this episode but there was nothing that stood out as being an impressive display of gore. It wasn't a particularly bloody moment, but I did like it when John demonstrated his quick-draw abilities and shot a finger off the hand of a member of the Vultures community.

FAVORITE SCENE: Madison and Strand discuss previous adventures over drinks.

FINAL VERDICT

Extra Tidbit: What did you think of Just in Case?

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