Fear the Walking Dead season 4 episode 13 review: Blackjack


With just three episodes to go before Fear the Walking Dead’s season finale, our survivors collide with a mysterious and terrifying threat on the road.

Since the midseason premiere, Fear the Walking Dead has been a bit slow in the action department. A hurricane, with its flying walkers and all, simply came and went and truly could have offered more this season. Instead, we’re witnessing the aftermath of a mass storm and hoping our survivors find each other.

This week’s episode “Blackjack” found a way to build up tension and anxiety for viewers, and potential rifts amongst characters. While I’m all about character development, this is still a show about zombies and post-apocalyptic battles between people.

Since we had a few segmented storylines go down this week on Fear, I’ll break down this review down per group, starting with Morgan and his trucker brigade.

Lennie James as Morgan Jones, Jenna Elfman as Naomi, Mo Collins as Sarah, Daryl “Chill” Mitchell as Wendell  – Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 13 – Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMC

Morgan and Co. face trouble on the road

Morgan, June and Al are finally reunited, but the joy from that won’t last long. June and the rest discover that the mysterious “Filthy Woman” (a name given by the show, not me) is a dangerous adversary. She’s already killed Quinn, the man June fought over Al’s tank with, and she’s just getting started. She reveals to Morgan the sick reason she’s attacking people — she wants them to turn into walkers, because that is what they’re “meant to be.”

Not even the humor that is Sarah, Wendell and Jim can lighten the mood (but we have to admit, spiking out your wheelchair is a pretty sick idea). This “Filthy Woman” threatens everyone not to help any more people by leaving behind boxes of supplies, saying if they do, she’ll “make them strong.” She also forewarns the group about Morgan’s past, as she’s had access to tapes in Al’s tank. As if Morgan didn’t need any more trouble, his newfound “friends” question if they can even trust him.

Colman Domingo as Victor Strand, Garret Dillahunt as John Dorie – Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 13 – Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMC

John and Strand are… stranded

After the hurricane, we learn John and Strand are literally stranded, holed up in a ranger’s station and surrounded by the aftermath of a flood.

I’d normally feel like these two have everything under control, since Strand has an affinity for getting himself out of sticky situations and John was on his own for a long time and survived just fine. But John is still recovering from a gunshot wound, and Strand, well, he’s basically an alcoholic at this point.

John is trying, so very, very hard, to hold onto his sweet nature despite so much having gone wrong around them. He holds onto this little piece of candy left in his pocket by June, telling Strand that it symbolizes hope even in the darkest of times. As much I love John Dorie, this seems like a bit of a stretch. And that’s the point, probably. John is grasping at whatever he can to stay positive. Yet with no boat, and a very hungry alligator waiting for them in the water, he’s easily hit rock bottom.

In desperation to save himself and Strand, John crafts a plan to use part of a car to float across the water, while blasting a car horn to attract walkers towards the gator. Strand pleads with John, saying “it’s time to stop being foolish.” This is harsh, but maybe, fair?

Again, I love John. He is the one beacon of hope and light and love this show has. He pleads to Strand that “if we don’t fight for every day, then we’re no different than the past.” What John fails to realize is that his idea of fighting every day may need to change. Positivity is nice, but realistic expectations can save your life.

When John’s plan to sail across literally fall apart, thanks to that big ol’ gator coming for them, he and Strand swim back to their stranded piece of land. Laying on the shore, John unwraps and eats that little, hopeful piece of candy.

In this moment, that little ray of light John’s tried to hold onto seems to be fading.

Danay Garcia as Luciana – Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 13 – Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMC

Luciana finds her humanity again

Luciana, safe to say, has had it extremely rough. Seeing the love of your life die right before you will do that. Thankfully, we see her trying to get back on her feet. While searching for Charlie (unfortunately not knowing Alicia’s already snagged her), Luciana comes across a stranger fatally trapped inside a car.

Clayton, we learn, is the benevolent truck driver who left behind boxes of supplies for those in need. He tells Luciana that before things went bad, he had left his loved ones behind.

“When the world changed, when everyone went away, I realized I made the biggest mistake of my life. I couldn’t help people I’d run away from so I helped people who were still around,” Clayton tells her.

Luciana aids Clayton in drinking one last beer, a beer she coincidentally finds in one of the supply boxes left by Morgan. Before he passes away, Clayton gifts Luciana more of his notebooks that detail spots where he’s left supplies behind.

It is in these final moments of the episode where one’s heart starts to pound. Luciana thankfully is not taken out by the “Filthy Woman,” and is able to connect with Morgan over the radio and meet up with him and the others.

But, of course, that safety doesn’t last long.

Alicia and Charlie could be on their own… for good

Alicia and Charlie are still together, and also come across one of Morgan’s boxes. However, our mystery woman is listening when Alicia radios in, and tells Morgan that he should have heeded her warning. Morgan pleads with her, saying that she doesn’t have to be this way anymore, that he has been where she has been and he can help her out of this dark place.

It’s too late, though. We see the tank, with guns loaded, coming straight for Sarah and Wendell’s truck — with all our survivors inside sans Alicia and Charlie.

Alicia and Charlie hear a one-sided exchange of gunfire, and then silence…

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Undead Afterthoughts

  • Mo-Mo’s nickname stands strong!
  • When all the dangerous stuff is over and done with, we’re ready for a post-apocalyptic brewery managed by Jim. Why? Because he’s got “these fingers, this soul.”
  • Wendell may be my new favorite on this show simply for the fact he tripped out his wheelchair with spikes. Genius
  • Sarah is a close second, laying lines down like “Whoever gets the kill wins the bill”
  • With three episodes left, we’re all eager to see whether Morgan will let out his inner rage to take down “Filthy Woman”… or will he and the rest offer her mercy.

Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 8 p.m. CT on AMC.