THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR EPISODE 705, TIL DEATH.
On this week’s episode of Fear the Walking Dead, Dwight and Sherry work as ethical outlaws, and Strand offers them a deal if they track down a missing resident from the tower. Lennie James directs, and Aisha Tyler makes her debut in front of the camera on the series in “Til Death.”
A couple of thieves steal dragonfruit from a nearby farmer, but before they can get very far with their goods, the vigilante group the Black Horses intervene. The Black Horses duo give the men a choice: return the stolen goods or they will be killed. The duo explains that they live by a code. The thieves say they are familiar with the duo’s work.
Though one of the thieves is willing to back down, the second makes a grab for the gun. After a struggle, one thief is shot and killed. The noise attracts nearby walkers and while the duo takes out the threat, the mouthy thief runs away to live another day. Another day without any dragonfruit though.
If you listen to the voices, you know the Black Horses are Dwight and Sherry wearing gas masks. Dwight is upset that he had been forced to kill someone, but Sherry reminds him that as long as they stick to their code, they won’t become “him.” Though neither Dwight nor Sherry mention Negan by name, he looms as large as ever in their pile of baggage.
When Dwight and Sherry return to the Larson family cellar, they share their cut of the reward fruit from the farmer. Dwight also “pulls” an electronic game out from the daughter’s ear. While the little girl plays in her area, Kevin Larson tells Dwight that they want to leave the cellar. Sherry and Dwight convince the family to stay a little longer so that they can find Padre together. Dwight believes he is very close to locating the mythical place. The radio crackles to life, and a voice asks the Black Horses for help.
THIS IS A TRAP, RIGHT?
At the coordinates given by the person on the radio, Dwight and Sherry are ambushed by Howard and his men. Howard tells the couple that he has been tasked to find them. After throwing bags over the couple’s heads, they are whisked back to the tower. As Victor works on his golf swing on the roof, Howard removes the bags from Dwight and Sherry’s heads. Victor has a very big laugh over the identity of the peace officer outlaws he had heard so much about.
Victor says he has a proposal. When Victor admits that he has been choosy about which former allies he has invited to stay in the tower, Dwight hardens. “If you don’t open the door for Grace, Sarah, and Morgan, you can take your proposal and you can shove it up your ass,” Dwight says.
After another long laugh, Victor tells Dwight that he wants the Black Horses to track down a former resident of the tower. Victor says Mickey left the sanctuary to find her husband, and he believes Mickey will only get herself killed. At the mention of a sanctuary, Sherry is also officially in the “hell no” camp. Dwight and Sherry explain that they formulated their code to protect people from “assholes” like Victor Strand. Victor counters that assholes like him are what the world needs now.
GO FORTH TIL DEATH
Howard drops Dwight and Sherry outside the tower. The couple is confused about how they got past the sea of dead. Howard gifts them a pair of horses since Dwight and Sherry’s horses were left behind at the other site. Sherry guesses that Mickey is looking for Padre, and she thinks they should find her. Though Victor asked the ethical outlaws to find Mickey, Howard dropped the couple conveniently close to Mickey’s actual location. That is no accident.
Mickey is holed up in a bar. After a short discussion and a couple of gunshots, Dwight and Sherry convince Mickey to talk to them. Over beers, Mickey tells Dwight and Sherry that the only known way out of the tower was through the sea of undead. Mickey formed a suit of armor made out of phonebooks, duct tape, and a muffin tin. The dead chewed through most of the phone books, so the suit is barely useful now. Mickey is adamant that Strand only wants her back to keep her from telling others how to escape his tower.
After a little conversation, Dwight realizes why Mickey looks so familiar to him. Mickey used to be part of a wrestling team with her husband. Dwight fanboys out a bit, and it is enough to get Mickey to open up about her husband, Cliff. Mickey explains that she and Cliff had agreed to meet up at their gym in Texas City if they had been separated. After the bombs exploded, Strand had taken Mickey in, but she had escaped in order to find Cliff. Mickey is wary when Dwight and Sherry offer to help her, but Sherry tells Mickey about her long separation from Dwight. Dwight tells Mickey that when they find Cliff, they will have to show him their finishing move, the “Til Death Do Us Part.”
To start the search, the group returns to the Larsons’ cellar. Tragedy beat them there. Someone shot both Kevin and Kim in the head. The daughter was much less lucky. As the undead girl stumbles over, Sherry starts to cry as Dwight puts her out of her misery. Once Dwight buries the family, he blames himself for convincing the family to stay a little longer. Dwight is so shaken, he decides to take the deal with Strand after all. When Dwight attempts to get Mickey to give up, she refuses. Worse, Sherry sides with Mickey. Mickey says Strand will jail her in the tower, so she won’t go back. When Mickey announces she will search for Cliff alone, Sherry insists on joining her because of the code. After a fight, Sherry tells Dwight to wait at the bar until she returns.
THE ROAD TO TEXAS CITY
On the journey to the gym, Mickey and Sherry talk about their respective spouses. Mickey asks Sherry why she did not want to take Strand’s deal. Sherry does not give the full rundown on the Negan history, but she communicates that a man like Strand had almost destroyed her relationship once. Sherry says that she is not worried that Dwight would give up on her because he had not when she had asked him to give up on her before.
With a laugh, Mickey said Cliff had told her to give up on him too. Mickey admits she had not agreed to meet Cliff at the gym. Mickey just did not know where else to look. When Sherry and Mickey get to their destination, the gym is surrounded by dozens of dead. Though Mickey’s makeshift armor is barely useful, Sherry paints on a coat of undead blood to give Mickey some invisibility. Mickey gets all the way to the front door, but it is locked.
After a distraction and some quick fighting work by both women, they shoot out the glass and get inside. A pile of punching bags holds the dead back for a little bit, but with the barricade failing, they opt to fall back to the ring and fight from there. No sooner do the women take a step toward the wrestling ring than the undead corpse of Cliff ambles around the corner. Mickey is devastated. While Mickey barely holds Cliff back as she sobs, Sherry provides a mercy kill so that Mickey does not have to do it. Sherry pulls Mickey into the ring, and the dead surround them.
THAT’S WHERE I LEFT MY HORSE!
Instead of going back to the bar where they had found Mickey, Dwight finds the spot where Howard had ambushed them earlier. Only one horse is left, but Dwight is thrilled to have his horse and supplies back. Of course, the good luck doesn’t last because the thief that escaped earlier is back. The thief, Eli, claims that he found the horse, and as it is now his horse, Dwight is stealing. In a gloating mood, Eli admits to Dwight that he killed the Larsons. When Eli shows Dwight the electronic game he had given to the daughter, Dwight attacks. Eli throws Dwight to the ground and holds him at gunpoint.
Unfortunately for Eli, he stands directly behind the horse. With one signal, the horse kicks on Dwight’s command. Photographs flutter out of Eli’s bag as he falls to the ground. Dwight recognizes that the photos match the ones at Victor’s tower. After some questioning, Eli admits that Victor offered him a place at the tower in exchange for killing the Larsons. Eli is unable to stand. Dwight leaves the man to be eaten by the oncoming dead.
TIL DEATH DO US PART
Surrounded by the dead on a collapsing wrestling ring stage, Mickey and Sherry realize that they may be in trouble. Sherry announces that they should call Strand for help. Still emotional from the confirmed death of Cliff, Mickey agrees with Sherry. Before Sherry can do more than grab the radio from her belt, Dwight charges in. Dwight warns Sherry that Strand had ordered the execution of the Larsons. Dwight guesses that Strand had done it in an effort to make Dwight and Sherry doubt their code and look to Strand for guidance.
With the Strand option off the table, Dwight throws fresh guns and ammo to Sherry and Mickey, and the group fights their way through the dead. The fighting sequence is a great mashup of traditional fighting and wrestling moves albeit with a new kind of soundtrack for this show (in a good way). Mickey takes out several walkers with piledrivers and elbows to the skulls. Sherry uses a trophy from the case to batter a couple as well. When there is only one walker left, Dwight throws a stake at Mickey. Dwight prompts Mickey to do her famous finishing move off the top rope.
After Dwight takes Cliff outside and cleans up his body for burial, he gives Mickey a letter he had found in Cliff’s pocket. The letter asks Mickey to go on without him and find Padre. Mickey laments that she and Cliff had waited too long to get married for real. While Mickey goes outside to say goodbye to Cliff, Dwight and Sherry apologize to one another. Dwight admits that he had fought for the tower because he wanted a safe place to start a family. Sherry wants that too, and she does not want to wait until life is perfect to do it. They both agree that they can do that at Padre.
SO IS THIS A TRAP?
While the threesome starts out on the road, someone radios in for help. Dwight and Sherry have not learned from the last time, and they go to the coordinates. A man in a gas mask and rust-colored clothing meets them. The man appears to be a stalker, but it honestly is so hard to tell at this point. The man says this is not an ambush, but an invitation to work together. More masked people pop out from behind trees and bushes. The rust-robed man orders Dwight, Sherry, and Mickey to locate Padre for them.
With everyone in gas masks and various forms of protective clothing, it is impossible to tell who is a Stalker or a Strand person, or just a run-of-the-mill survivor. However, if people had actually survived this nuclear incident, you would not be able to tell friend from foe or faction from the faction. But on a TV show? Confusing as hell. The masks of the people at the end have these extra tubes, which appear to indicate they are part of the Stalkers. Judging by their recently acquired warhead and their demands to find Padre, this feels a bit like Teddy 2.0. If this is some of his acolytes, it makes sense. If not, what are the chances that survivors of a nuclear apocalypse are all that anxious to cause a second one?
The dynamic between Dwight and Sherry is always interesting, but the draw for this episode is Mickey. Aisha Tyler is enough of a reason to watch, but the character of Mickey is a solid argument to check out the episode too.
ODDS & ENDS
- The name of Mickey and Cliff’s gym is the “Grapple Chapel Wrestling Club.”
- The music in the epic wrestling undead kill sequence is “Welcome to Jamrock.”