[SPOILER ALERT! The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 5 episode 3 of Fear The Walking Dead, "Humbug's Gulch."]
Welcome to f**kin' Deadwood... er, Humbug's Gulch.
There's something special about seeing Garret Dillahunt on an Old West set, at least for fans of HBO's recently concluded, classic drama. Either in a fantastic coincidence or a carefully written homage, that's exactly what happens in the latest installment of Fear the Walking Dead, "Humbug's Gulch," the second episode series costar Colman Domingo has directed.
When the group starts taking down the walker-guts signs in an attempt to find Al, John and June end up on their own, and they make their way to an offshoot of the wild west theme park where the sharpshooter once worked. Meanwhile, Alicia and Luciana hear from the kids they tried to help in the first episode, and it seems like they're in danger. (Oh, and a familiar face from the main show makes an appearance, too).
John and June get separated from the rest of their group during the search for Al, and, low on ammo after being shot at by a mysterious assailant, they make their way to a place called "Humbug's Gulch." These wild west theme parks, John explains, popped up all over Texas, and he used to work at one. That's how he knows there are guns to be found there, and he knows exactly where to look.
They do manage to find their guns, but literally and figuratively, a storm is brewing. June suggests that they could wait it out, but John's desperate to get back, help people and find Al. His determination overpowers her practicality, but that's not for the best: Once they get outside, they're being shot at again. This time, John's bullet finds its mark. Still wanting to help, they go to the man he shot and — surprise — it's Dwight!
The Search for Sherry
The duo bring an unconscious Dwight inside, away from the assembled walkers and the storm. When he awakens, he's at first reluctant to reveal any information, but John coaxes the story out of him. Apparently, Dwight's been following notes that Sherry left for him with "clues" as to where she is. The snag with that plan is that he hasn't found any clues in a while, and Dwight fears the worst.
On that note, they strike a deal: Dwight doesn't try to kill them again, and they help him look for Sherry. Dwight agrees, but when the time comes for them to make a break for his car, Negan's former second-in-command sprints for June and John's van instead. He rifles through the glove compartment and center console, desperately searching for something he doesn't find. Only when he's surrounded by walkers does he reveal his motive. The car John and June were driving was Sherry's (or so he thinks), and he thought he'd find another clue inside. He didn't.
Surrounded by walkers and thinking he'll never see his wife again, Dwight considers suicide. June talks him out of it, and together, they all defeat the walkers.
You Don't Have to Do it Alone
Meanwhile, Luciana and Alicia intercept radio transmissions from Dylan, Max and Annie. It sounds like they're in trouble, and Alicia offers them help, once again. Once again, they don't take it. Their tire goes flat when they drive over a board full of nails, so Luciana and Alicia are forced to continue on foot. "Someone doesn't want us here," Luciana says. No kidding!
Morgan catches up with them. He suggests Alicia should talk to the kids, because even if they can't respond, they're listening. She gives a touching speech about how she lost her mom and her brother, and how she's still going through that pain... and she can help them get through it, too. "I want you to know you don't have to do it alone," Alicia tells them. "So if you are listening, tell us where you are and we can help you." They don't respond.
The Right Track
That night, Morgan, Luciana and Alicia find Dwight, John and June. They're surprised to see that Morgan and Dwight know each other, and Morgan makes it clear there's no bad blood between them for what happened during the war with Negan. Alicia asks Dwight if he knows anything about the walker guts and blockades on the road. Dwight takes them to a gigantic blockade and they go to clear it, but as they do, Dylan radios them.
"It's starting to feel like we're on the right track," Alicia says... but things get derailed quickly. When they arrive at Dylan's location, the van has been decimated. A terrified and bloodied Dylan is barely able to look at them. Elsewhere, Max and Annie rebuild their walker blockades and say they'll find out what happened to Al and then make sure Morgan's group never bothers them again — yep, the kids are behind the walker guts and decapitated heads.
- Wait a minute. So these kids... climbed up a billboard... hung all those walker heads from the sign... tied all those guts along fences... what? I never expected my Troy-is-alive theory to pan out, but this is confusing. How would three kids even reach all the places these guts and heads have been?
- Couldn't Sherry have told Dwight a location where she'd meet him, instead of leaving him a bunch of vague clues? If she can write a ton of infinity symbols, she can at least tell him a city. Also, so was the note she left him in The Walking Dead pointless, given that Dwight didn't mention anything regarding a honeymoon, or...
- Despite the issues I have with the storytelling in this episode, I love the way it was filmed and framed (especially the scenes in Humbug's Gulch). Kudos to Colman Domingo on a job well done!
Fear the Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC