On this episode of Fear the Walking Dead, Grace wakes up with amnesia and relies on a young girl for help.  With fragments of Grace’s past and Morgan’s voice guiding her, Grace must figure out what comes next.  This episode is about hope and helplessness, and how the people we love give us a reason to survive.


A groggy Grace wakes up, flat on her back, with the sky and pink flowers overhead.  As with all beautiful things on this show, the view is marred by the decayed walker that plops down on her chest.  The walker may just want a nibble, but Grace is now awake enough to push back.  When a young girl saves Grace’s life, Grace admits she does not know her own name.

It is not much of a spoiler to say that at this point, we know none of this is real.  The bright pink flowers blooming all over the desert landscape is clue enough.  The title of the episode also helps.  Grace is a little slower on the uptake, and for good reason as we shall see.  There is always an element of helplessness in a zombie apocalypse but none so great as unconsciousness.  Like Grace, we do not know exactly what has happened.  If Grace is dreaming, her body is somewhere, likely exposed to the dead.


The girl, Athena, escorts Grace back to her home at the dam village.  A grey-haired Morgan is there.  After a little prompting, Morgan accepts that Grace is his Grace from sixteen years ago.  Morgan shows Grace her headstone, and he tells her that Grace’s child was Athena.  Grace guesses that her dying wish to see her daughter grown up is the reason for her appearance now.

Morgan shows Grace how the village has prospered.  Dwight and Sherry are there with their two kids.  June is now a doctor, and Charlie is her apprentice.  When Morgan confirms that Daniel and Strand are friends, any doubt that this was a dream should have been erased for Grace, but she needs a little longer.  Like anyone in a dream, the most reasonable explanation for your circumstance is not always the one you pursue.  Grace appears to proceed on the assumption that she had time traveled based on a wish.  Quite the testament to how real our dreams can feel.  Grace has hope for the future of her community because if she time traveled, then she has proof that the community will thrive.

Grace (Karen David) struggles to remember why the car is important.
(Photo Credit: AMC / Fear the Walking Dead)


On an errand with Morgan and Athena later, Grace sees a car with “The End is the Beginning” spray painted on the side.  The scene sets Grace on edge.  Before Grace can articulate why the scene is familiar and worrisome, the car explodes, and Morgan disappears.  With Morgan’s voice now only in her head, Grace finally understands that she is unconscious and dreaming.  The car was in the grove for a reason.  Grace just needs to figure out why.

Grace sees flashes of the people that attacked her and Morgan in the real world.  Most notably, Riley (Nick Stahl) is leading the group.  Grace also sees flashes of her life back at the power plant with Athena’s father, Matthew.  With the Enders in pursuit, Grace determines that the only way to wake up is to follow the clues.  Grace follows Morgan’s voice, and she hopes it will guide her to wake up.

Inside her mind, Grace heads down the highway toward a barn, and she prepares to fight Riley and his group.  With Athena at Grace’s side, Grace has a heart to heart with her daughter.  When the Enders attack along the road, Athena doubles over in pain.  Grace clutches her stomach, but she manages to slit Riley’s throat.  With dream Riley dispatched and the pain gone, Grace realizes that the pain is a contraction.  Since Athena felt the contraction, Grace notes that they are physically connected.  Grace theorizes that she and Athena are actually communicating on some plane of existence.


In the real world, a frantic Morgan has dragged an unconscious Grace to safety in a barn attached to an old veterinarian clinic.  Outside, the Enders have arrived.  Riley yells at Morgan to give him his key so that he can leave Morgan in peace.  Morgan fortifies his position in a horse stall, and he begs for Grace to wake up.

When Grace arrives at the barn in her dream with Athena, she tells her daughter that she is dying from radiation sickness and won’t survive the birth.  Grace notes that a fetus could absorb radiation, and she admits that she had feared the baby would not survive.  Relieved, Grace tells Athena that she is strong.  “You’re going to bring everyone together,” Grace says.

In the real world, the Enders force their way into the barn and demand the key that Morgan had previously taken.  Riley notes that “the key changes everything.”  Considering that last week Riley hinted at the destruction of the world above ground, Morgan needs to be very concerned about what the key unlocks.  Morgan dispatches all the Enders, as only Morgan can.  Riley is the sole survivor, but he has a shiny new spear sized hole in his chest for his troubles.  Riley says he will be back with help, but it sounds more like a guy going to the store for milk than a threat.


Morgan notices that Grace has stopped breathing, and he frantically performs chest compressions on her.  Desperate, Morgan begs Grace to return to him.  In her mind, Grace hears Morgan’s pleas.  In reality, Grace is still not breathing.  Whenever someone performs CPR in the Walking Dead Universe, there is always that uncomfortable moment when you are waiting to see milky eyes.  Morgan holds Grace’s hand, and he quietly encourages her to breathe.

In Grace’s mind, Morgan arrives and kills a zombie Riley that has ambled into the barn.  After a tearful goodbye, Grace leaves Athena with Morgan, and she walks out the doors into the light.  With Grace not breathing in the real world and walking into the light in her mind, I guarantee most viewers were yelling “cut the baby out!”  The last thing I want to see is Morgan wait too long to save the baby because he can’t let go.  Nobody wants to see baby Athena chew through Grace’s stomach.  Well, most don’t.

But Grace awakens in the real world.  Grace records a few words for Athena on her tape recorder, and she prepares to give birth.  Morgan refuses to believe that Grace will die, but Grace insists she has seen the future in her dreams.  The future is Athena.  “Everything is going to be okay because of her,” Grace tells Morgan. 

Morgan (Lennie James) asks Riley why he needs the key.
(Photo Credit: AMC / Fear the Walking Dead)


Back from the store, Riley drives his pickup truck into the barn.  Morgan shields Grace to protect her, but Riley jumps out and levels a gun.  Riley insists he will leave Morgan alone if he hands over the key.  Morgan does not usually act without thinking.  Morgan has survived because he looks at the motivation of other people.  So in this moment, even though Riley has the upper hand, Morgan wants to know why Riley needs the key before he will hand it over.

Without Grace, I don’t think Morgan would have relinquished the key without an explanation.  But Grace says that Athena told her in the dream that the key was the cost of peace.  “The key is not the future.  She is,” Grace says.  Reluctantly, Morgan gives the key to Riley, and surprisingly, he leaves Morgan and Grace alone.  As Grace goes into serious labor, she puts on her headphones and listens to Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams.”  After Morgan helps deliver the baby, he is unable to revive a stillborn Athena.

Still alive, Grace is confused, but after a moment, she starts to cry.  “They weren’t my last moments.  They were hers,” Grace says.  There have been a lot of cruel moments in this undead universe, but this was one of the worst.  A truly heartbreaking death.  On the other hand, Athena’s birth could not have ended any other way.  Grace had been exposed to radiation, and she had acknowledged that the baby had been exposed in utero early on in the pregnancy.  

If the baby had survived, it would have been a miracle.  However, the realness of the baby’s death in these circumstances does not make this ending any less upsetting.  Sure this is a fictional world mostly devoid of hope, but there are some glimmers.  Unfortunately for Grace and Athena, this was not one of them.  Any chance that Athena had at survival was destroyed by the car bomb that Riley set off.

In a dream, Grace talks to Morgan about her fate.
(Photo Credit: AMC / Fear the Walking Dead)


Absolutely.  The helplessness of someone unconscious in an undead world is intense.  To know the danger and to know that you can’t just fight your way out without help, is horrifying.  So the tension from Grace’s struggle to wake up makes this an especially stressful episode.  In the back half, we know Morgan is alive and therefore, he has Grace’s back.  But the stress is in the knowledge that Grace might be slipping away before Morgan has a chance to save the baby.  The reason for the tension shifts, but the stress continues.  It makes for a riveting episode.

Some of the bonding between Grace and Athena is a bit cheesy, but it works.  I suppose this passes for a Mother’s Day episode for The Walking Dead universe.  At least no one got eaten and no one had to look at flowers.

As far as the success of the season so far, I think Fear the Walking Dead is doing a better job at these one off experimental episodes than The Walking Dead. Whereas the extra episodes tacked on to the end of season 10 of TWD are almost purely character work, the second half of season 6 of Fear addresses plot as well. We got an episode focused on Daniel and his possible dementia, but we also learned more about the Enders. We got an episode focused on Virginia’s downfall and June’s response to John’s death, but it also set up how Morgan’s group splinters. At this point, Fear is doing doing more plot driven character work than the original series. Some of that is because of the pandemic break, but I also think Fear is taking some more interesting chances with their storytelling.


  • New Walker name:  Husks
  • The pink flowers and the jump to the future were reminiscent of “12 Monkeys” TV show, but with a surprisingly much brighter future in this zombie apocalypse
  • Does the key belong to a military installation? Like the kind where you need two keys to turn simultaneously?

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