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Home ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ Season 4, Episode 13 ‘Blackjack’ Recap: Of Alligators and Swigs of Beer

‘Fear the Walking Dead’ Season 4, Episode 13 ‘Blackjack’ Recap: Of Alligators and Swigs of Beer

BY David Riley

Published 4 years ago

'Fear the Walking Dead' Season 4, Episode 13 'Blackjack' Recap: Of Alligators and Swigs of Beer

13 episodes into season 4 and we still haven’t seen any traces of intensity and thrill that usually happens towards the end of a Fear the Walking Dead season. Tonight’s episode, however, begs to differ. Despite the rocky second half for the spinoff zombie show, it does come with notable episodes. Titled “Blackjack,” tonight we see almost half of Morgan’s (Lennie James) group finally converge into one another.

But that’s not the best part, though. We also see John (Garret Dillahunt), and Strand (Colman Domingo) try to bond over their differences and Luci (Danay Garcia) back for a redeeming arc. “Blackjack” may have its fair share of common sense errors and illogical bullshit, but it does make itself one of the strongest episodes of Fear the Walking Dead season 4. Now let’s go ahead and revisit tonight’s “okay” chapter.

Morgan and the Noble Crusade

“Blackjack” opens with Morgan, Al (Maggie Grace), and June (Jenna Elfman) looking for Quinn. Last week, the dude almost killed June for the SWAT Van, but she overpowered him and forced him to leave. Overwhelmed with guilt, June has Morgan and Al help her locate Quinn (who’s now Infected at the hands of that filthy woman). They radio back to Sarah (Mo Collins), Wendell (Daryl Mitchell), and Jim (Aaron Stanford) that they couldn’t find him, so they might have to wait again.

Jim doesn’t like the sound of this and tries to grumble more, until a bunch of Infected drag themselves into their vicinity. One approaches Wendell from behind, much to Jim’s panic. However, Wendell impales the Infected using his wheelchair. They then notice the writings on the Infected’s forehead, “take what you need.”

Aaron Stanford and Daryl Mitchell in Fear the Walking Dead

Ryan Green/AMC

Morgan and his crew return to the truck to examine the body. As June tries to radio for Quinn, the filthy woman answers and reveals that Quinn is now Infected. Morgan recognizes her voice and asks what she wants. Since the woman has the van, she tells Morgan that she knows him now (obviously from Al’s tapes), understands what Morgan is capable of, and wants them to stop helping people.

Later, Morgan buries the Infected. Al then tells him that “take what you need” is from the journals of the original truck owner, AKA “Polar Bear.” Morgan vows to look for his friends—including Polar Bear. But he is met with a bit of hostility from Jim, who’s concerned about what Morgan can do. In the end, Sarah, Wendell, and Jim decide to come with after Morgan shows off his stick skills.

Jenna Elfman in Fear the Walking Dead

Ryan Green/AMC

Sarah then brings them to where they stole the truck from Polar Bear. June leaves a box of supplies and writes the same line, “take what you need, leave what you don’t.” A hopeful Morgan then writes down their radio channel.

John and Strand Go Head to Head with a Goddamn Alligator

“Blackjack” also sees John and Strand getting closer to each other despite their violent beginnings. Strand wakes up in an island bungalow and sees John chopping wood for a raft. The area surrounding them is flooded. John urges Strand to come with him to the other side, but Strand thinks its a bit too risky. When John finishes the raft, it sinks. But just when things seem merely laughable, Strand sees an alligator swimming over to John. Strand panics, but John shoots the water, scaring the reptile off.

John builds another raft and watches an Infected go in the water and get eaten by the alligator. John is sure that he’ll find June again, but Strand has none of it. John keeps on pushing Strand to hope for something better, but at this point, I think the only solace Strand needs is alcohol. John looks around and sees an abandoned camper van on the edge of the road. An Infected moan at him from the inside.

Garret Dillahunt and Colman Domingo in Fear the Walking Dead

Ryan Green/AMC

John then has Strand retrieve the camper shell for a raft, saying his injuries prevent him from doing so. Strand agrees but is distracted by a bottle of Whiskey inside the van near the Infected. Strand reaches for it just as the Infected grabs him, sending the vehicle tumbling down the slope. John panics, but sees Strand well and good, with the bottle of whiskey as his prize. Strand putting himself in danger sets John off.

Later, John rebuilds another raft using the camper shell. As he finishes building it, he approaches Strand to ask him to come with for the last time. Strand laments at his lack of drinking buddies. John tells him that he could be his bud, but they have to do it on the other side. Strand finally comes along. And John’s plan for distracting the alligator? Hooking up the car horn to the van’s battery so a group of Infected can swim in the water, leaving food for the reptilian foe.

As the horn blares, John and Strand paddle to the other side. But then, the battery runs out and the Infected stop dead in their tracks (seriously, since when did zombies stop going for the source of the sound?). The alligator then turns its attention to John and Strand, attacking the raft and causing it to leak. Strand urges John to swim back, to which John reluctantly does.

Garret Dillahunt and Colman Domingo in Fear the Walking Dead

Ryan Green/AMC

Hopeless, Strand returns to the bungalow to drown himself in alcohol. John eats his candy while he looks on, disappointed.

Luciana lends a helping hand

Arguably the best part of “Blackjack,” Luci is still on a search for Charlie (Alexa Nisenson). She comes across a library that owns the Little Prince book that Charlie left for her during the storm. Luci also sees an older man named Clayton (Stephen Henderson)stuck inside a car after the storm. She tries to help him get out, but doing so only makes his injuries worsen. Clayton accepts his fate. Seeing that there’s nothing that could be done, Luci asks him for his final wish—which is to have one last bottle of beer. Luci sets out to look for it and fails (she almost sees one but finds that its actually root beer).

Stephen Henderson and Danay garcia in Fear the Walking Dead

Ryan Green/AMC

Throughout her trip, Clayton radios in and tries to assure her that it’s not her fault if she couldn’t find one. The important thing is that she had all the good intentions to help. Clayton also tells her a story about how he used his job to get away from people that he loved, only to realize that it was a mistake once the world fell on its knees to the Infected. He also tells Luci that when the zombie apocalypse hit, he turned things around and resolved to help others.

Luci then stumbles upon the box that June left on the side of the road. She also discovers a bottle of beer inside. Luci brings it back to Clayton. In return, Clayton offers to give her his notebooks containing descriptions of locations where he left supplies. He also reveals that he drove a truck when the world fell—implying that he is the owner of the truck that Sarah and Wendell stole. Luci finally buries Clayton and radios into the channel written in the box. Morgan recognizes her and comes to pick Luci up.

Danay Garcia in Fear the Walking Dead

Ryan Green/AMC

A new threat

“Blackjack” ends with Luci riding back with Morgan’s new group. Al examines the notebooks that Clayton left to Luci and sees that it does check out. Suddenly, Morgan’s radio chimes in with a new but familiar voice—Charlie and Alicia. They came upon another box at mile marker 84. Morgan tells them that they’re coming back for them, but the filthy woman interrupts the virtual reunion on the walkie. Despite her threats, though, Morgan vows to look for his friends and will also come for her, not for revenge, but to help her as well. Sarah then sees the SWAT van gaining on them. She accelerates, thinking of outrunning her. The woman pulls up next to the truck, brings out the gun ports and opens fire. Alicia hears all this on the radio, and then silence follows.

‘Fear the Walking Dead: Blackjack’ Overall Verdict

Tonight’s episode made me feel engaged and thrilled—something I’ve never felt in a long time since Fear the Walking Dead season 4 premiered. “Blackjack” did have some eyebrow-raising moments, but the narrative was executed well, and I felt more love for Luci than I did in the past seasons. Directed by Sharat Raju and written by Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, “Blackjack” feels like a Walking Dead episode more than it fit the FearTWD aesthetic. Nonetheless, it still doesn’t change the fact that nothing’s happening, considering that we’re almost done with the season. And not to mention the love-hate feeling that I always have for the show every week. It’s getting a bit tiring, to be honest. But what can I do, it’s still the best zombie show out there, and it looks like we’re gearing up for a bumpy finale.

Fear the Walking Dead continues next Sunday, September 16th, with “MM 54” at 9/8c on AMC. Watch the preview below:

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