Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis and written by co-showrunners Ian Goldberg & Andrew Chambliss, this week's episode of AMC's Fear the Walking Dead will definitely… well… how can I put this? Let me just say that S07E15 "Amina" will definitely get the attention of old-school Fear TWD fans longing for the days of the first three seasons. If you read my review of last week's episode (check it out here), then you might already have a pretty good idea that my outlook on this chapter might be a bit different from theirs. But to summarize, we pick things up not too long after the end of "Divine Providence," with Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) having been saved by June (Jenna Elfman), Luciana (Danay García), Dwight (Austin Amelio), Daniel (Rubén Blades), and the others.
But there's no time to celebrate: with the Tower burning and a horde of radiation-walkers making their way toward that bright, burning light, it won't be too long until the entire area is contaminated with radiation from the burning walkers. Which means it's time to set sail for greener pastures (and much less radiation)- possibly where Morgan (Lennie James) & Baby Mo ended up landing. But as she continues fighting the fever burning up inside of her, Alicia has one last person to save- the little girl who saved Alicia earlier in the season and who now needs her help. So with that in mind, we're throwing on the "MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!" sign and throwing down an image spoiler buffer before offering up some reason why "Amina" worked for me- just not in the way that maybe it was intended.
Just a Friendly Reminder: Between death, dementia, or shipping them off to parts unknown, fans of the early seasons of Fear TWD might be feeling a bit insulted, under-appreciated & disrespected. But while I can respect that, as I mentioned last week and in the past? I'm not one of those folks. I think the original spinoff series found its footing in the fourth season and evolved as a series by introducing new & diverse characters and interesting settings/situations. Even if some of those ideas didn't click, I'll take a "beautiful disaster" over boredom & a lack of empathy any day of the week. And when it comes to Alicia and Strand (Colman Domingo), I will reiterate that I prefer their characters in the larger ensembles of Seasons 4-7, finding them to be a deadly combination of selfishly self-absorbed, mopey, and "harbingers of doom" for anyone they meet during the first three outings. So while I may not be the person to judge how emotional those moments were between the two in this episode, I'll sing the praises of the performances that Debnam-Carey and Domingo put on display until my eyes bleed.
Having Said That…: Debnam-Carey f***ing crushed it in this episode, taking what felt like a swan song and turning it into a reaffirmation of who Alicia Clark truly is and what she stands for. Do I think this is the last we're seeing of her? No, but that said? This was a ten-ton goodbye episode for both Alicia and Debnam-Carey (who already has another series lined up) which didn't leave me feeling like her return would be happening anytime soon. Considering the journey that viewers have been on with her- whether over one season or seven- and that newfound sense of self that we see as she marches off towards an unknown destiny, we find ourselves already missing her.
Also, this idea of our survivors heading off by boat to find a safer home has us intrigued by the possibilities. Could the boat that the woman Dwight and Sherry (Christine Evangelista) saved earlier in the season said she was from becoming a factor? Is that where Madison (Kim Dickens) is being held in the teaser we saw… possibly the bottom of a boat? Honestly, having a season set along the coast would amazing visually, and play up so many other dangers. Is anyone else in the mood to see folks fighting walkers in the water as they're trying to come up from the bottom? Got chills just writing that. Fear TWD has had a pretty successful track record with switching up the locales (I mean, a submarine in the middle of nuclear fallout isn't something you see every day), so I hope they continue that tradition during the eighth season.
RANDOM THOUGHTS: Does anyone else get a Saving Private Ryan vibe at the beginning, as Alicia looks around at everyone getting the rafts ready? It was nice to see Al's (Maggie Grace) SWAT truck make one last save. All about the symbolism of how Alicia used that last bullet, and the way our heroes came to Alicia's aid. Best drinking game to result in you getting your stomach pumped in less than an hour? Do a shot every time Alicia loses consciousness. So how early on in the season did you figure out that the "little girl" was actually a younger Alicia? And finally, how righteously pi**ed are Madison & Alicia fans going to be when they learn that they were only one episode away from a "family reunion"?
So that's 15 down and a Season 7 finale to go, so make sure to join us next week as we review AMC's Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 Finale "Gone" (and watch for our season finale preview early this week).