Directed by Bille Woodruff and written by Alex Delyle & Calaya Michelle Stallworth, this week's episode of AMC's Fear the Walking Dead shifted to focus to answering the question of what happened to Al (Maggie Grace) after getting separated from the others. As a reminder, Al was able to get Season 5 CRM soldier Isabelle (Sydney Lemon) to rescue her and the others from the sixth season finale's nuclear blast. But if you thought there was no way that favor was going to come with a price to be paid, you were right. Because our brutal military organization has sent out a "Reclamation" team (one of the reasons for this week's title) to go scorched earth on any evidence that anything ever took place. And that includes out survivors- that is, unless Al, Morgan (Lennie James), and Grace (Karen David) can stop them. Now with that in mind, it's time to throw on the "MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!" sign and slap down an image spoiler buffer before we take a look at what worked- and what didn't.
Okay, let's kick things off with what worked for me with this week's episode "Reclamation." First, I'm a sucker for any potential happy ending that anyone might end up having since they're so rare in "The Walking Dead" universe so knowing that Al and Isabelle are riding off together to fight the good fight while staying just days ahead of CRM left me with a good feeling. And with the new anthology series Tales of the Walking Dead on the horizon, it looks like we might have our first candidates for an episode or two. Al and Grace had two brief but emotionally impactful moments together. The first was when Al offered her sympathies for Gace losing her baby and the exchange they had, while the second was the way the two silently looked at each other after Morgan explained they were raising a child whose mother had died. Without saying a word, Al was able to convey to Grace that she understood how hard having to do that after just losing her child must be.
Morgan and Grace also had two sweet moments together, beginning with Morgan asking Grace if she meant it when she said she considered Baby Mo her daughter and then picking back up with Morgan's face when he looks at her after she's floored the gas pedal. I've become a big fan of these "couple moments" they've been having and I'm hoping for more. And who didn't love the symbolism behind an "old weapon" like Morgan still getting the job done by killing the CRM team with an old weapon that still gets the job done? And bonus points for Morgan one-upping Daryl (Norman Reedus) on The Walking Dead when he used a bazooka on a crew of Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) Saviors. And I think an entirely separate piece could be written on how Al and her relationship with her camera became an allegory to the cycle of addiction that many suffer from- ones that don't have to be drugs or alcohol to have a dangerous effect. So as much of a one-man "intervention" as Morgan wanted to be and as much of a reason Isabelle would be for Al to kick her habit, it had to be her and her alone who smashed that camera.
And yet, this episode just didn't quite work for me. Am I glad that Al and Isabelle have the possibility of a future together? Definitely, but I probably would've felt the emotional impact of it more if I was given more time to vibe them as a couple. Also, I found it hard to buy into Morgan and Al being so bonded in friendship with one another when Al constantly either kept Morgan in the dark or lied about important matters like…oh, I don't know… CRM? And speaking of the TWDU's military big bad, am I the only one feeling cheated with CRM being sold as playing a much bigger role this week than they did? While I'm hoping that CRM will be one of the first things that Morgan begins telling everyone about, I can't help feeling like this was all a two-season build-up to some action that would have serious ramifications across the franchise's landscape only to be a bit let down. In fact, the entire episode felt more geared towards bidding Grace a proper farewell (at least for the season) than it did in moving the major storylines forward. Thankfully, that doesn't look to be the case in next week's episode "The Portrait" as Morgan seeks out Strand's (Colman Domingo) help right at the same time as The Tower faces some dangerously deadly problems of its own.