Is it just me, or was Fear the Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 13 kinda reminiscent of Breaking Bad? Fear‘s new “cook for us, or else” plot is similar to what Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) and later the neo-Nazis did to Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and especially Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) on that other AMC show, isn’t it? Just with gasoline substituted for methamphetamine.
This is not an unwelcome development, because it means something is finally happening on Fear, which has been in setup mode for the past several episodes (and basically all of Season 5, if we’re being honest). We had been waiting for the showdown between the Helpsters and Logan (Matt Frewer) over oil ever since Logan mentioned the oil field in the midseason finale, and the show cleverly subverted the expected showdown in the most shocking moment of the season so far.
Before we get to that, though, let’s start from the top. The episode began with a flashback to the moment former good guy Logan broke bad. He got a call over the radio from a woman who was barricaded in a truck being swarmed by walkers, and he promised he would help her. He radioed to his partner Clayton — who has become a very important character in Fear lore thanks to his “take what you need, leave what you don’t” philosophy despite only appearing in about 15 minutes of one episode last year — but Clayton, who was closer to the truck stop, was unable to respond, having been robbed and left in the lurch by Sarah (Mo Collins). Then Logan ran out of gas and had to continue on foot. He heard the woman, Serena, get torn apart by walkers, and arrived at the truck stop in time to put down the walkers who were eating her body. He wandered outside, sobbing, and was approached by a group of cowboys on horseback, led by Virginia (The Boys‘ Colby Minifie), who told him, “We’ve been watching you, listening. We want the same thing you do, only bigger and better. Together we can get from yesterday to tomorrow.”
Flash forward to the future, and Luciana (Danay Garcia) is overseeing operations at the oil refinery. That’s where she and the kids have been this whole half-season, but nobody mentioned that, because that would have blown the reveal, lol. She learned how to refine oil from Clayton’s journal, and the kids are using zombies to pump the crude out of the ground by hitching them to a sort of horse engine and dangling rats in front of them to make them walk.
Logan found the refinery and said that he needed all the gas. Logan’s arrival led to this unintentionally funny exchange: Lucy: “What are you doing here?” Logan: “Do you really have to ask?” Yes, Logan, she does, because we have literally no idea what your plan is! Your motivation this whole season has been very unclear!
We did finally get that answer — Logan needs the oil because he made a deal with Virginia to provide her group with fuel for their expansion efforts — but before we got to that, Logan made a deal with Luciana: Keep cooking up gasoline, and he’ll let the kids go. She agreed, but then the wind picked up and the fire got too big and started attracting walkers, but it was too hot to get close enough to put out. This led to a very gross scene where some walkers would fall off the sides of the quarry walls and splatter all over the place on impact, while others would get up and try to bite people. Sarah saved Logan, even though he blames her for Clayton’s death, and while they were hiding from walkers in the refinery’s office, he talked on the radio to another woman trapped in the same truck stop from before with walkers closing in. He told her he’d left a gun with one bullet in it, and she should do what she had to do. But before she could kill herself, Wes (Colby Hollman), the guy who Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Strand (Colman Domingo) met a couple of episodes ago, went in and saved her, because he’d heard her on the radio, too. He’d had a change of heart from being a killer after Alicia and Strand helped him. This inspired Logan to have his own change of heart. He saw that the philosophy of helping people he and Clayton created and the Helpsters took up was the actual code to live by.
“I may have burnt [Clayton’s] journals, but that’s not going to snuff out what we he was trying to build,” Logan said. “What we were both trying to–” BANG! He was interrupted by bullet to the head. Whoa! Then his followers were all shot dead, too.
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It was Virginia and her cowboys. She revealed that Logan was working for her, and she killed him because she could no longer trust him. But she could maybe trust them, because they could help each other. With the gasoline Luciana and her crew produce, the cowboys — “Think of us more like the pioneers, the settlers,” Virginia said — could help them help even more people than they could with the convoy. They could help Dwight (Austin Amelio) find his wife. They could help June (Jenna Elfman) find a permanent home for the group. If they take over the deal she made with Logan, they could be part of the ambitious new society the cowboys are building.
“You can take that offer and shove it straight up your poop chute,” Sarah said. They don’t trust a killer. Virginia was like “OK, whatever,” and was about to kill them all, until Luciana agreed to make gas if Virginia let the rest of her friends go.
So now Luciana, like Jesse Pinkman, is enslaved for her skills. It’s about time Fear found something for Luciana to do, because she has been adrift since Nick (Frank Dillane) died. Hopefully this becomes a satisfying arc for her. Her friends left her, but they’ll be back.
Logan will not be missed. His motivations never felt clear, and Matt Frewer didn’t imbue him with any intimidation factor. This episode humanizing him was too little, too late, but at least his death finally moved the story forward.
P.S. The woman who Wes saved seems to be a defector from the cowboys, so that will be a story to watch for as it develops.
P.P.S. How weird is it that Fear suddenly has two cast members named Colby? It went from no Colbys to two Colbys in the span of two weeks!
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. It’s available to stream on Hulu.