Fear the Walking Dead delivers the most entertaining episode since the midseason premiere. Blackjack catches up on key characters and finally reveals the good samaritan trucker. The Filthy Woman (Tonya Pinkins) raises the stakes against Morgan (Lennie James). And, drumroll please, "Blackjack" has alligators chomping down on zombies. It doesn't get much better than that folks.
"Blackjack" opens at night with June (Jenna Elfman), Al (Maggie Grace), and Morgan trying to find Quinn at the mile marker. He doesn't respond to the radio. Meanwhile, back at the semi, Sarah (Mo Collins) thinks they're picking up too many people. Jim (Aaron Stanford) extolls his virtue and importance as the beer brewer. Sarah goes off to kill a walker, but one comes up behind Wendell (Daryl Mitchell). Spikes pop up out of his wheelchair to stake it. Sarah comes back to kill it. She then radios Morgan, the walker has writing on its face.
Everyone regroups at the semi. They are appalled by the writing on the walker's face, wondering who could have done this. June radios again for Quinn. A walker's growls respond back, along with the voice of the Filthy Woman. She tells them that Quinn is no longer weak. Morgan recognizes her voice. He tries to talk to her, but she chastises him for helping people. She claims to know what he's really capable of.
Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) wakes up in a lookout cabin. He puts down a copy of "Moby Dick", then fumbles through some rations. Outside, John (Garret Dillahunt) is chopping wood. They are surrounded by water. Trapped on an island by the hurricane waters. A squawking blackbird attracts a walker from the water. John, still recovering from his gunshot wound, has trouble killing it. He goes back to building a flimsy raft. Victor chides him for being "foolish". John responds it would be quicker if he had help.
Luciana (Danay Garcia) has found the library where Charlie (Alexa Nisenson) got "The Little Prince". The girl is not there. She goes outside and sees a man trapped by a walker in a crashed car. She kills the walker and opens the door. The man is pinned by the steering column. He introduces himself as Clayton (Stephen Henderson). Luciana tries to use the car's jack to lift him out, but the wreckage is the only thing keeping him alive. He wonders why is she helping him. Luciana replies that she has "things to make up for".
On the island, John is ready to try the raft. Victor refuses to come, but plops down to watch the effort. John slides the raft into the water, where it immediately starts to sink. Suddenly an alligator makes a beeline towards John. Victor screams a warning. John fires off a few shots and scrambles back to shore.
At the semi, Morgan buries the walker with the writing. Jim doesn't understand why. He asks Morgan what the woman on the radio was talking about. Sarah is curious as well. Morgan replies that he has "things to make up for". He tells the group that they're taking the truck and finding the others. Wendell laughs, who's going to drive the semi? Al pipes up that she can handle it. Sarah unhooks her to knife to challenge Morgan, but he disarms her in a flash with the shovel handle. Morgan's clearly in charge.
On the island, John watches the gator snatch a walker in the water. He and Victor argue about trying to escape. John shows Victor a piece of licorice that June had left behind. He found her before, he will find her again. Victor says that all of his hopes and dreams are in the past. John continues trying to construct a new raft. He finds a pickup with a hardbody topper leaning precariously on a berm. A walker is snarling inside.
Back at the car, Luciana asks Clayton if there's anyone she can find for him. He says there is one person, but "no one he wants to see". His dying wish is for one last beer. Luciana promises to find him one. She gives Clayton a radio so they can talk while she searches.
John shows Victor the pickup truck. He needs his help getting the topper off to build a new raft. At the semi, June and Morgan leave another box of supplies by the road. Along with the standard greeting, Morgan writes that "if you need help, vhf channel four".
Victor is perched precariously on the pickup. As he tries to unlatch the topper, he notices a bottle of whiskey in the front seat. He attempts to get it, but is drawn in the cab by the walker. The entire pickup rolls downhill and crashes into the water. John rushes to help Victor. He's fine, a piece of wood killed the walker, and luckily, the whiskey bottle didn't break. John is furious that Victor almost killed himself over booze. Victor retorts that he has no dreams. Drinking helps him remember the past. John gets busy building a new raft with the truck parts.
Luciana searches the town for a beer. She finds nothing. At the island, John has completed a stronger raft using the pickup topper. He says he will share a drink with Victor on the other side. John has rigged the truck horn with the battery. The noise will draw the walkers to the water, which in turn will occupy the gators. Victor is convinced to go.
Luciana continues to search. On the radio, Clayton tells her he got a job that let him get away from the world. Then when the world collapsed, he regretted leaving his people behind. He decided to help the people that were still left. He says Luciana will continue that mission.
John rigs the horn. They paddle into the water as the horn attracts the walkers. The gators start to pick them off. Luciana trudges down the highway. She finds a box of supplies left by Morgan. It has a bottle of Jim's beer, and the message to contact using channel four.
John and Victor are halfway across the water when the horn dies. A gator turns its attention to them. The beast rams the raft. John fires off a few shots, but the raft starts to sink. Victor yells he's not going to die here. He jumps in the water and swims furiously back to shore. John has no choice but to follow him.
Luciana returns to Clayton. She gives him a cold beer, chilled by an ice pack in the box's first aid kit. Clayton sips with delight. He tells Luciana to get his journals from the back of the car. They have important information that will help her. He then tells her that he was a trucker. Luciana buries Clayton, leaving the beer bottle as a marker. She radios channel four, and is astonished when Morgan responds.
Back at the shore, Victor goes back to the lookout cabin. John sits defeated by the water. He eats the licorice that he was saving for June. Luciana is in the back of the semi with Morgan, Al, and June. Morgan looks through the journals. On the road, Charlie and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) find a supply box with the message. Charlie radios for help. Morgan responds.
Morgan talks to Alicia, they are just north of her on the road. Suddenly the Filthy Women cuts into the conversation. She had warned Morgan to stop helping people. Sarah, who's driving the semi, sees the MRAV coming up fast behind them. She tries to outrun it, but the MRAV pulls up alongside. Morgan screams for everyone to duck. The Filthy Women opens up a broadside with Al's rigged machine guns.
"Blackjack" was a welcome return to greatness. The episode was action packed, well written, and had multiple concurrent storylines. Clayton was the trucker, aka Polar Bear, leaving the supplies. I'd bet that the person he didn't want to see was the psychotic Filthy Woman. Only John and Victor's whereabouts are unknown. But the group in the semi truck has to survive the attack. I'll be chomping at the bit, like that gator, waiting for next week's episode on AMC.