Spoiler Warning for Season 5, Episode 13 of “Fear the Walking Dead,” as well as all previous episodes of the series. Spoilers from “The Walking Dead” will also be discussed.
“Together, we can get from yesterday to tomorrow.”
Violence and conflict has been mostly absent in Season 5 of “Fear the Walking Dead” with much of the story being based around helping others and fighting non-human threats. Things escalate quite a bit in this episode as the survivors must fight for their new way of life and quickly realize that the world is a whole lot bigger.
The episode begins with a flashback of Logan when he still believed in the mission of helping others. We see him distributing the boxes alongside the road when a woman named Serena radios him to express her need for help. She’s trapped inside a feed store with walkers closing in and Logan rushes to her location full speed ahead in a desperate attempt to save her. He tries to radio Clayton since he is supposed to be closer to the feed store…but something has happened to Polar Bear. When Logan’s truck runs out of gas, he is forced to run to the feed store, but he is too late. He hears Serena’s scream over the radio as she is torn apart by walkers. When he reaches the location, there’s a grim sight to behold: walkers are ripping apart the body of Serena. Logan is disgusted and overcome with emotion, rushing outside and falling to the ground in tears. A group of horseback riders wearing cowboys hats make their way over the horizon and to Logan. The presumed leader, a woman named Virginia (Colby Minifie) gets off the horse and introduces herself. She just wants to help and explains that her people have been examining the actions of Logan and his group. She makes a claim that her group is working toward the future…and thus begins an alliance with Logan.
We FINALLY check in with Luciana, Wendell, Dylan, Max and Annie at the oil fields after they have been almost entirely absent from this half of the season. We see this episode that they are hard at working producing oil even with it being a heavy strain on the survivors. Wendell is especially tired of living here, noting that he is constantly covered in soot and dust. Everyone is caught off guard as the sound of a truck is heard outside. Following the cliffhanger of Logan’s discovery of Tank Town at the end of the last episode, he slams through the main gate as Luciana and the others raise their guns in a standoff. Due to the no killing mentality of our group, Luciana and Wendell don’t kill Logan ON SIGHT like perhaps they should have. Instead, they are disarmed and put on their knees as Logan inspects the impressive operation the group has going. Doris brings Logan the journals Clayton left behind, but he doesn’t believe in what they were doing anymore and tosses them into a fire. Logan explains that his group is helping people, but it isn’t in the overtly good way that Luciana’s group is. He receives a radio call from Rollie who has been stopped by fridges blocking the road and explains it will take some time to get to Tank Town. Inside one of the fridges is Sarah, who pops out and pulls a gun on Rollie as Dwight runs up on the other members of the group in the car. Dwight explains that it’s a good thing that he didn’t kill Rollie because they now have a way into the oil fields. When Rollie fights back, Sarah snaps and states that killing Clayton is a regret she has, but killing him would be acceptable.
Logan and the others are caught completely off guard when Sarah and Dwight roll into the oil fields with their guns out. These two aren’t alone. A walker being used to generate power is sniped from a distance; it’s John and he’s got June. Logan calls the group’s bluff, stating that they would have killed him if they really wanted to. Sarah notes that he’s right. She gives up the chance to kill him. She pleads with Logan to stop going down this destructive path. She mentions that what she did to Clayton is something she will have to live with for the rest of her life. Stealing his truck and watching him in the rearview mirror has stuck with her. Wendell agrees totally; he shares the guilt. Rather than agreeing to stand down, Logan offers to release the children and give them a vehicle to get away. Max and Annie don’t want to leave, but Luciana demands that they do and Sarah directs them to the convoy. Elsewhere, Alicia is relegated to painting trees rather than being actively involved in the main plot. Strand wonders why Alicia is keeping the radio on when it is draining battery, but she explains that she reached out to Wes. Instead of Wes, a woman’s voice (Holly Curran) is heard over the radio asking for help. She’s at a truck stop and is in desperate need of help. Alicia relays the information to John and June and they urge the two to help the woman at the truck stop while they deal with the situation at Tank Town. As luck would have it, Strand and Alicia’s car runs out of gas while they’re driving to the truck stop.
At the oil fields, Dwight and Luciana alert Logan to the fact that a fire on the property is out of control and is hindering their efforts. Sarah and Wendell question him as to why he is so determined to get gas. Logan isn’t willing to reveal the gritty details, but he explains that it is Sarah and Wendell that he has to thank for his new mission. He states that by the two of them leaving Clayton behind, he wasn’t able to save the woman from the truck stop. There’s a real sense of emotion in his voice and Sarah sees it. Suddenly, June’s voice comes over the radio to warn those inside Tank Town that walkers are being drawn in by the smoke and flames. A sudden transition to nighttime reveals complete chaos as more and more walkers fall into the quarry and the fires grow further out of control. Doris demands that Luciana put the fire out, but she is unable to due to the extreme temperature. Dwight and the others duck and dodge the walkers as they slam into the ground at full force. Logan frantically tries to reset the pump and keep the oil flowing, but Doris and the others aren’t willing to help him and instead bail on Tank Town. While trying to get Luciana, Wendell and Dwight into a tanker truck to flee the quarry, Sarah realizes she can’t leave Logan to die. Wendell doesn’t want her to risk her life, but he understands. It’s what they should have done for Clayton.
On the road, Alicia and Strand run frantically to try and reach the stranger at the truck stop. Unfortunately, their walkie talkie dies and they lose their ability to communicate. Before that happens, Alicia instructs the woman to use the CB radio at the truck stop to broadcast her location. Back at Tank Town, Sarah flings Logan into a trailer much to his lack of appreciation. Suddenly, the voice of the trapped survivor is heard over the radio. Logan is stunned when he hears where the woman is trapped. It’s the same place that Serena was trapped in and died at in the opening scene. Logan is not about to have a repeat of what he experienced then. He denounces the group’s mission of giving people hope, and tells the woman that she’s on her own. He even goes so far as to direct her to a gun he left behind in the truck stop, which he tells her to use to shoot herself to prevent being torn apart. While disappointed, the woman acknowledges that he may be right. There’s a somber look on Sarah’s face, and on the faces of Luciana, Dwight, and Wendell who listen in on the radio. She puts the gun to her head as the walkers break inside. We hear a gunshot go off and then silence. Suddenly, other gunshots ring out and we learn that Wes has burst in to save the day. He heard Alicia’s message and wanted to “pay it forward.” Sarah gives an impassioned speech, stating “we help people. They help people; hard to get bigger than that.” Annie, Rabbi Jacob and Tess join John and June at the ridge of the quarry as the clean up from this night from hell begins.
There’s some real resolution to both storylines when daybreak hits. Alicia and Strand arrive at the truck stop and are thrilled to find Wes, who has had a real change of heart. The unnamed woman expresses concern due to the fact that people from the settlement she is from are looking for her. Back at Tank Town, Logan and Sarah rejoin the rest of the group outside, but the arrival of Doris and the rest of the crew creates a standoff. Logan demands that his group lower their weapons as he expresses that he has decided to keep up his old mission of trying to help others. Suddenly, gunshots ring out and Logan is shot in the head before the rest of his crew meets a similar fate. Those in our group left standing draw their weapons, but are outgunned by the arrival of the strange group seen at the beginning of the episode. Virginia and several other riders stroll in and immediately criticize the small nature of the group’s mission to help others. Virginia explains her group as being “pioneers” or “settlers” on a mission to restart society for the future. She offers to help Dwight find his wife, to help June find a permanent home for the group, and to help Sarah and Wendell find a place to brew beer. Disgusted by what they just saw Virginia do to Logan’s group, June and Sarah reject her alliance offer. This isn’t what she wants to hear, and she claims this makes the group “nonessential,” nearly giving the order for them to be executed. This is stopped by Luciana, who offers to stay and help produce the oil if Virginia allows her friends to leave. It’s a painful decision, but Luciana is always going to look out for her people. The episode concludes as they leave with Luciana in the rearview mirror to rejoin the convoy. The last shot features a cut to the musical score and a focus on Luciana taking a deep breath. Will she get out of this? Is this the beginning of the end for her?
The good in “Leave What You Don’t”
- Sarah is such a wonderful character that really gets to shine in this episode. While it seemed like she would primary be the comedic relief initially, her material here and in much of Season 5 is heavy and does wonders for her evolution as a character. Hopefully this continues on as the season progresses.
- Luciana also is an MVP of the episode as she stands up to Logan and Virginia, holding her ground and refusing to let herself be walked over. She is doing what she needs to do for her family. After being SEVERELY underutilized for the longest time, this is a welcomed role in the episode for her.
- The sudden and shocking death of Logan followed by the introduction of Virginia as the new villain is a mind-boggling transition.
- Tank Town is a really interesting and new setting in the world. It’s hard and dirty, but is a valuable location to hold.
- Even though they aren’t featured as much as they should be, it is great to have Wendell and the kids back in the story.
- There’s actual hard tension in the episode as it feels like the characters are in grave danger. This is a far cry from a few episodes ago when Morgan stepped on a landmine and there was almost zero tension.
- Smashing walkers is always gross, but always so cool to watch. More walker gags are needed.
- Virginia’s group is an interesting addition. The western theme really fits into the story.
- That cliffhanger ending with Luciana being made a hostage by Virginia is chilling.
The iffy in “Leave What You Don’t”
- The sudden changes in Logan’s character are odd and feel somewhat forced, thus lessening the impact of his character a bit.
- Are oil fields really the safest place for children to be? To be fair, it is safer than being in the radioactive zone.
The good in “Leave What You Don’t”
- Why did two people find themselves in the exact same dilemma of being trapped in a truck stop by walkers? The second survivor could have easily gone through the back windows to escape. How have they survived this long?
- Charlie being absent from this episode is massively noticeable. Why was she not present with Rabbi Jacob when he helps to rescue John and June. It really seems as though certain series regular characters are purposefully cut from the story in situations like this due to budgetary reasons. It stands to reason that it would cost more to pay a series regular such as Alexa Nisenson than to have recurring characters be in place of a regular. This isn’t the first case of something like this occurring in either show. Viewers should never be able to take notice of things such as this.
- Building off of that, this would have been the PERFECT episode to have the entire cast featured. It would have been epic to have all of the characters present for this showdown at the quarry. The fracturing of the group really prevents the story from reaching it’s full potential.
- WHY are the members of the group so caught off guard when other survivors know details about them and their mission? This group literally made a documentary with all kinds of information that they broadcast to the world via the help boxes.
- Please for the love of God, give Alicia something more substantial to do than paint trees for the rest of the season.
Top performances in “Leave What You Don’t”
- Mo Collins as Sarah
- Danay García as Luciana Galvez
- Matt Frewer as Logan
- Daryl Mitchell as Wendell
Lingering thoughts and predictions
- How will Luciana get out of this situation? Will she actually comply with Virginia? Will she plot an escape? Will the group break her free?
- Just how long will this “all life is precious” mentality of the group last? People nearly died this episode because of it. Will our group break before the season ends?
- Sarah and Wendell have a wonderful dynamic, but it seems as though one might die before this season concludes.
- Where will the convoy go next? They don’t have a permanent home, but that mall would be a great place to stay at. Why not head back there?
“Leave What You Don’t” is one of the stronger episodes of this half of the season. It’s got some much needed action and suspense, although there are a plethora of recurring issues that really pull it down. There’s so much potential here, but the series isn’t reaching it entirely. That being said, this episode is a ton of fun and that’s really what this is all about.
Be sure to watch new episodes of “Fear the Walking Dead” Sunday nights at 9 p.m. on AMC.