After season five’s finale split up the gang and left Morgan (Lennie James) to become zombie lunch, Fear The Walking Dead season 6 episode 1 kicks off with a big reveal. Morgan is (surprise!) actually still alive – in case the season six marketing didn’t give it away – but for how long? Here are the standouts from opening episode ‘The End is the Beginning’.
Biggest plot twist: the old Morgan can’t come to the phone right now, he’s dead
Look what you made me do, Ginny. Even during his stay on The Walking Dead, Morgan was a pacifist presence in the post-apocalypse. That all changes in episode one when Virginia (Colby Minifie) orders bounty hunter Emile to track down his whereabouts. This forces Morgan into hunt-or-be-hunted survival mode, ending Emilie’s life by turning his own axe against him in a bloody confrontation.
This is a significant shake-up from the Morgan we’ve seen last season, who got on some viewers’ nerves with his incessant need to help everyone around him. Now, after his own near-death experience, he comes equipped with an executioner axe and threatens Virginia via walkie-talkie. A return to violence feels like a natural progression for Morgan’s character, allowing the others he’s inspired with his peaceful ways to carry the mantle. It’s the quickness of this flip reversal, however, which raises an eyebrow – especially in the wake of fan complaints about the character, and season five generally.
In memoriam: Emile the hitman, we hardly knew ye
Another downside to Morgan’s sudden change of heart is the death of Fear’s most memorable villain since Troy Otto. Emile’s introduction was a startling bait-and-switch, swinging the axe against poor Walter who became ensnared by some tabasco beans – snatching a key from his corpse.
Everything about the character is ridiculous (what’s the demand for a bounty hunter in a world where death is everywhere?) but at least the show felt like it was having fun – right down to the maniacal hacking of wardrobes which felt one chip away from The Shining and “Here’s Johnny!” Sure, Emile was just a plot device to help reinvent Morgan, but he was a welcome old-fashioned baddie for a show lacking in great antagonists.
What’s that mysterious item? Walter’s key
Fire up the MacGuffin. After Emile stole a key from Walter (presumably the reason he was killed in the first place), Morgan snatched it back from the hitman’s decapitated corpse – despite not having any idea what it’s for. We get a significant clue however by the episode’s end, as a new survivor, while spray-painting “the end is the beginning” on a bit of detritus, remarks: “They should have been here by now. We need that key.”
It’s clear these unknown survivors, seemingly located in Galveston, Texas, hired Emile to track down the item and deliver it to them. Could the key play into Morgan’s eventual downfall? It’s clear that some are willing to kill for its retrieval…
This week’s biggest question: Who saved Morgan?
Despite being shot and surrounded by incoming walkers, Fear The Walking Dead pulled out the “mystery hero” trope in order to save Morgan’s life. Speaking to Isaac, a former ranger in Virginia’s ranks, Morgan explained how he blacked out after hearing gunshots, only to awake patched up with a note from his saviour. “You don’t know me but I heard your message. You need to do the same. You still have things left to do,’ it read.
This is in response to Morgan’s “just live” callout over walkie-talkie last season, but the identity of the hero looks to be this season’s central narrative. Online, Fear fans are speculating that this could tease Madison Clark’s (Kim Dickens) return? It seems like a huge reach at this point (especially as she’s supposed to be dead), but it’s clear they’re planting the possibility to further fan the comeback theory flames. Hopefully, this isn’t more false bait.