'Fear The Walking Dead' Season 6, Episode 11 Review: Nope, Still Not A Believer

'The Holding' introduces another ridiculous new group of bad guys to this ridiculous show.

There’s a new group of villains on Fear The Walking Dead.

Well not entirely new. These are the same people who’ve been scrawling “The end is the beginning” everywhere. The same people with the submarine who are looking for Morgan who took the Magical Key from the bounty hunter way back at the beginning of Season 6.

I admit, I’m just kind of tired at this point. Tired of all the bullshit and bad writing and the tedious characters and the predictable stories. Tired of the parade of mediocre villains. Bone weary. And yet here I am, still reviewing this damn show.

Let’s take a little walk down memory lane, shall we?

TV’s Greatest Villains

At the beginning of Season 5, after the Most Horrible Villain Of Any Walking Dead Show was taken care of at long last, we got a new group of bad guys who . . . just wanted their warehouse back? And directions to an oil refinery?

Truly, these were now The Most Horrible Villains Of Any Walking Dead Show Ever.

Logan (played by a woefully underutilized Matt Frewer) was the head honcho of these bad apples and he fooled Morgan’s group into flying a plane they didn’t know how to fly far, far away to help some strangers in another part of the vast continent of Texas. Then he . . . moved back into his warehouse! The bastard.

After half a season of trying to fix the plane so they could fly back across the Pacific Ocean (which we all know separates the two halves of Texas) Logan tries to pretend like he’s a decent guy and fools the Morganites into showing him where the oil refinery is. Dastardly Logan! Then, just when Morgan and Logan decide that their names are similar enough that they might as well be friends, the Rangers show up!

They show up on horses with rifles and expertly kill Logan and every single member of his crew but for reasons (reasons!) they spare Morgan and the Morganites. It turns out that Logan was working for the evil witch queen of Lawton, Virginia—Truly The Most Horrible Villain Of Any Walking Dead Show Ever (Seriously). She is so evil that she kills the people working for her, who helped lead her to the oil refinery, and spared some people she didn’t know who weren’t loyal to her at all for reasons.

Yes, you heard me. Reasons! You don’t get to know the reasons. That’s not how scripts work. Scripts are supposed to be confusing, opaque and riddled with plot holes and inexplicable character choices.

Anyways, Virginia and the Rangers with their horses and their cowboy hats and their idyllic Texas aesthetic become the new Big Bads sometime in the second half of Season 5. Morgan and Friends make a PSA documentary to make sure anyone wandering from gas station to gas station is able to know who to call (GHOSTBUSTERS!) if they’re in trouble (which, like, yeah it’s a zombie apocalypse) because Morgan really wants to make up for all the bad things he’s done and so do all his friends.

Virginia is very mean, though, and so she makes a PSA, too, and that pisses Morgan off so bad that he takes his people far, far away to an abandoned Western-themed park-town filled with zombies and they make another PSA on the way that’s even more amazing and magical but a dude dies making it, marking the Best Walking Dead Death of All Time in the process. Seriously a dude decides it’s so important to film a selfie shot for the PSA that he dies when a bridge that’s collapsing surprisingly collapses! And then everyone is very sad!

Then, uh, after a spell at the new town that has no resources or water because it’s a theme park town instead of a real town, Wes and Alicia paint some stuff and June and John Dorie get married and Daniel plays some guitar and sings and Frank Dillane is like “Holy shit I’m so glad I bailed on this show” and then Virginia comes because Morgan calls her because instead of walking somewhere else they decide they should call the Evil Witch Queen Of Lawton so she can rescue them by splitting them all up (even Skidmark the cat!) and then the season ends with Morgan getting swarmed by zombies but don’t worry he’s still alive and they’ll tell us as much in a trailer that comes out before Season 6 because AMC is criminally addicted to spoiling their own shows for no reason on social media and . . . and . . .

Somewhere between Season 5’s finale and Season 6’s premiere AMC and showrunners Ian Goldberg and Andrew Chambliss must have put their heads together with Scott Gimple and decided that the Rangers and Virginia were actually super dull villains, just like the last few villains (I skipped the whole Vultures plot because they were actually so stupid they put the stadium under siege but still let Madison and co. go out scavenging because somehow they never read the Siege 101 manual or something).

Anyways, for reasons that must be obvious by now, somebody must have pointed out that Virginia is not a very good villain after all, partly because she’s just not that convincing but mostly because she made a goddamn copycat PSA and someone thought that was actually a cool story because there is no God and life’s not fair and this is also why we can’t have nice things, son.

And they must have realized that the Rangers are a like a cartoon version of what might happen in Texas after a zombie outbreak (just compare this clown show to the far more realistic Vatos gang from Season 1 of The Walking Dead). All these realizations must have felt strangely repetitive after what I can only imagine were similar revelations about Martha, the Vultures and Logan. So many revelations, so little useful insight or meaningful changes!

The Believers

In any case, they had June kill Virginia after a weird series of events that also saw one of the only good characters left on this godforsaken show get killed by yet another brat, and came up with The Believers, a group almost entirely inspired by The Monkees. These totally realistic folk live underground where they grow crops and embalm zombies and talk about how you need to be able to “see” when you look at this one creepy zombie they have entwined in vines in their basement. They’re led by a guy named Teddy played by John Glover who must really be down on his luck to take a role on this ridiculous show, though he’s actually creepy as a villain so that’s something. But no, I’m not going to feel any hope or optimism because fool me once shame on me, fool me again and George W. Bush, man. He has something to say about this.

Wes and Alicia and Al and Luciana all find their way to these people. I honestly can’t remember how they found them, but they show up to scout things out. They get interviewed like we’re back in Alexandria. Things go bad when Wes runs into his long-lost brother and ends up killing him after a scuffle over a gun. Wes’s brother has had a little too much of that Kool-Aid if you know what I mean. Wes isn’t too shook up about it. Remember when the entire brothers Dixon conflict between Merle and Daryl played out over the course of one single episode of The Walking Dead? Yeah, me neither.

Luciana says stuff because she’s still on this show for some reason. She says stuff a few times and people say stuff back to her. Al checks an embalmed zombie with a helmet on thinking it might be her lover girl from Season 5, because you totally embalm zombies with their helmets still on, but it’s not. Boy I was really worried there for a second!

Alicia sets the embalmed zombies on fire so they can get away and the others escape but Alicia doesn’t and then she has to have a whole entire conversation with Teddy and it’s pretty damn awkward when she tells him “You wanna kill me? That’s not gonna happen.”

Teddy’s like “whoa damn I was going to kill you but now that’s not going to happen crap” and Alicia’s like “So there, Teddy. You jerk face with your crazy-man beard.”

He knows something about Madison somehow. And he wants to “save you, Alicia” but “I don’t need saving” she tells him and then he talks in more cryptic circles. Teddy’s been looking for someone like Alicia for a long, long time and she’s like “listen old man at least I got some lines this episode!” which, to be fair, is true.

THE END. CREDITS ROLL.


Verdict

Yes, I am clearly mocking just about everything about this show. But I didn’t come up with this crap. I didn’t come up with Martha and the ethanol, or the plane and the beer-balloon, or Totally Pointless Logan, or Ginny and her boring ass cowboys. Maybe Teddy will be a better villain than all these. To be fair, he is a better villain already in a lot of ways. Then again, the bar set by the Vultures, Martha, Logan and Virginia is not very high. It’s so low, it’s less a bar and more of a speed bump.

So while Teddy is far more intriguing than the rest, and it’s even possible that Glover’s brief appearance here in this episode was better than the sum of all the other villains in this show since Season 4, I imagine they’ll find a way to screw him up also and then, as soon as he’s worn out his welcome, replace him with some other group of bad guys. The Shouters, a group of post-apocalyptic crazy people who wear zombie faces and shout at each other really loud, led by a bald woman named Alphapha.

Here’s the thing.

We need more than just Good Guys vs Bad Guys. There are other struggles to work with in fiction. Friction between the group that causes realistic, compelling internal strife. Survival against the elements and just the struggle of surviving in a world laid low by a pandemic, maybe without creature comforts like walkie-goddamn-talkies. Or perhaps a compelling story about a survivalist group at odds with a Native American tribe over water rights, whose intertwined family histories are marred by murder and revenge, where our heroes find themselves torn between both sides of a bloody fight they know very little about.

Yeah, what a notion.

Like I said at the very top of this review, I’m tired. I’m tired of Fear The Walking Dead. I’m tired of the same crap happening over and over again, another absurd bad guys who ultimately make the same fatal choice: They mess with Morgan Jones. NOBODY messes with Morgan Jones.

Maybe Morgan can make a PSA about how mean and delusional Teddy is and then Teddy can make a PSA about how The End Is The Beginning, Actually, Morgan You Twit. It’s just all nonsense at this point and it has been since the end of Season 3. We aren’t dealing with actual stories about real people. We’re watching a cartoon with two-dimensional cartoon villains and a bunch of uninteresting flat characters. Except a cartoon would be more fun.

What is the point of this show now? It’s like a goofier version of The Walking Dead, which also suffers from too many villain groups at this point and too many characters but not this level of crappy writing (usually).

Let me predict the plot for the remainder of Season 6 and likely part of Season 7 if AMC is actually going to let the current showrunners continue driving this show into the ground:

Teddy wants the key from Morgan so he can use it to activate the nuclear bombs on the nuclear sub that’s in the middle of Texas (because Texas, you recall, is separated by the Pacific Ocean which has dried up because ZOMBIES and the sub is there now). He wants to nuke the planet because he wants to save everyone because they’re weak probably. From this nuclear wasteland, new life will spring eternal and his cult—well protected in their underground parking garage with their cute little gardens—will be the new rulers of the world. Or at least of Texas which—we know because of geography class—accounts for approximately 57% of Earth’s land mass.

Look, I’m sorry. I’m really truly sorry but if this show continues to be a joke I don’t know why we should take it seriously. A mocking review if only fitting for a show that continues to make a mockery of itself. AMC has the resources and the wherewithal to produce a better zombie show and quite frankly audiences deserve one. There was nothing fundamentally awful about “The Holding” so I’m honestly not fully sure why I’m in such a snarky mind frame, but there was nothing very good about, either, and it’s just plain as day to me that they’re already falling into the same traps they keep falling into over and over and over again. Meet the new bad guy, same as the old bad guy. It’s all so predictable.

Because they don’t really learn from their mistakes, or because even if they do they just don’t know how to course correct. That’s the problem when you just don’t have much talent but nobody steps in and says “enough is enough!”

Because seriously, my droogies, enough is enough already.

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