Fear the Walking Dead delivers the most devastating blow of the entire series. Good Out Here is a game changer in every regard. The Clark family, the primary characters of the narrative so far, suffers a shocking casualty. It's completely unexpected, yet brilliantly foreshadowed. It brings the show to a precipice of greatness; just as the original Walking Dead became must see TV at the climax of season two.
Good Out Here opens in the near past. Nick (Frank Dillane) is in the diamond, cutting down and burning the infested crops. As he stares off into the distance, we cut to the present. Nick, Luciana (Danay Garcia), Victor (Colman Domingo), and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) have Morgan (Lennie James), Al (Maggie Grace), and John (Garret Dillahunt) zip tied in the SWAT armored vehicle. Al asks Nick who are they looking for and why. Morgan begs here "to leave it be". She continues pressing Nick, as Luciana wonders where is the correct turn. Al responds that she's told them just enough. They won't find out about the flag, until she gets their story. Nick moves toward her. Big mistake, she kicks him in the groin. They crash into Luciana, who veers off the road and crashes the truck in a ditch.
In the past at the diamond, Madison (Kim Dickens) tells Nick she's going out to search for food. He decides it's time go with her. In the present, Nick wakes up with a cut forehead on the ground. He's tied up with Alicia, Victor, and Luciana. The tables have turned. The SWAT truck is stuck in a ditch. Luciana speaks up; she saw other trucks down the road. They can use one to tow the other out. Victor offers an act of faith. Release them, they will find the truck, and tell her their story, as long as she leads them to the flag. Al agrees, she and John will go along. She ties Nick to the truck as collateral. Morgan, whose leg is still bleeding, offers to stay.
Nick watches as Morgan reads his book. He asks "what are you reading", but is ignored. He then asks to get food out of his backpack. Morgan walks over, cuts him free, then puts the knife beside Nick on the truck. He uses his stick to wrap Nick on the knuckles when he tries to grab it. Then tosses Nick to the ground when he reacts further. The lesson is learned. Nick goes in and retrieves a peanut butter protein bar. He asks Morgan if he likes peanut butter. "Yes", Nick breaks the bar in half and gives Morgan a piece.
Morgan tells Nick he's going to monitor the road. Warning him to stay within five feet of the truck. Morgan climbs to the road, then practices with his staff. Nick goes inside the truck and retrieves Al's camera. He watches the video she took of Morgan. On the road, Morgan sees a car coming. He runs into the ditch, grabs Nick, then locks them both in the vehicle. They watch as a blue El Camino goes racing by. Nick becomes incensed with fury. He opens the door to pursue the car. Morgan blocks him. They fight briefly until Nick presses Morgan's wound and throws him into the dashboard. Morgan slams into the horn. It blares loudly, now broken. Nick grabs a hammer then takes off running after the car. Morgan yells at Nick to throw his stick, as walkers come toward the noise. Nick keeps running.
John casually engages in smalltalk with Luciana. The group reaches a yard with multiple heavy trucks. They see one with towing cables, then begin to siphon gas from the others. Victor is surprised that Al released them. She continues with her desire to record their story. For who, Victor sees no point in it. For the truth Al replies, she then asks Victor why he hides the scar on his hand. The truth matters, even if she's the only one to hear it. Their story for the flag. Victor calls her "a puzzling creature".
In the past, Nick and Madison drive out of the baseball stadium. The Vultures are still camped in the parking lot. They drive up to Mel (Kevin Zegers), who's sitting beside the blue El Camino. He devilishly tells them there's "slim pickings out there". As they drive away, Nick asks his Mother how she's able to continually go outside. She responds that she "always looks for something good".
In the present, Nick has run out of breath chasing the car. He looks to the side of the road and sees a patch of beautiful blue bonnets. As he walks over to look at them, he's beset by walkers. They topple him. Just when he's about to be bitten, Morgan shows up and saves him.
The blaring horn is attracting every walker. They need to find safety. Nick and Morgan walk to an abandoned town. They kill two walkers and take refuge in a store. Nick asks Morgan why he rescued him. Morgan replies, "I don't kill". In the past, Nick and Madison have found nothing. They see the El Camino parked in front of a church, the back filled with supplies. Ennis (Evan Gamble) laughs at them. He informs them that he is Mel's brother, and that Charlie (Alexa Nisenson) knows how to find the good stuff. The girl who betrayed them to the Vultures comes out of the church.
Ennis laughs again at their concerned looks. He's the one who found Charlie and taught her to survive. The girl just spent two weeks duping them. Ennis taunts, "I keep my family fed". Nick draws his knife and puts it at Ennis' throat. Charlie watches as Madison pulls her son back. Nick gives Ennis a small cut before standing down. The Clarks stare solemnly as Ennis and Charlie drive away with the food.
In the present, Nick asks if Morgan knows karate. Morgan responds that going after that car is not going to work out. Nick challenges him. He tells Morgan that he saw the video, "You lose people, then lose yourself". Morgan turns around to leave. He's not going to have this conversation. As he walks away, he tells Nick "hunt down whoever hurt you, that's your business."
The others arrive at the ditch with the tow truck. Luciana is frantic that Nick is missing. John sees an arrow sign left for them by Morgan. Al refuses to leave her truck. John and Luciana go to search for Nick and Morgan. Victor decides on another "act of faith". He and Al provide cover as Alicia plows through a crowd of walkers. They shoot around her as she hooks the back of the axle. Al and Victor come to an agreement. They tell their story, she records what comes next. They pull her SWAT truck out of the ditch.
Morgan is walking through the town. He sees Ennis packing up the El Camino. Ennis tells the "old man, keep walking". Morgan warns that he needs to leave. Nick is behind Morgan, shielding the hammer. Ennis laughs when he sees Nick, unfazed. He goes back into the shed to continue looting. Nick advances toward him, but is blocked by Morgan. "Are you going to stop me? You can." queries Nick, but Morgan let's him go and walks away.
In the past, Madison and Nick are still driving. Nick tells his mother that being outside brings the worst out people. That's why he stayed inside the diamond for so long, "being out here makes me feel more trapped than being in there". In the shed, Nick attacks Ennis. It's a violent struggle. Ennis smashes a jar into Nick's head, but Nick plunges Ennis into a buck trophy. The antlers pierce through his body. Nick pushes him down further as blood pours from Ennis' mouth.
Morgan continues to walk, but frowns with regret. He turns around and rejoins a blood soaked Nick. He tells Nick that he lost his wife, then son, before he lost himself. He continues that he once felt like Nick, but someone showed him that life was precious. He gives Nick his book, "The Art of Peace". Then tells Nick that they can talk about it. They can "talk about anything". Nick walks to a porch and sits down on the steps. He takes out the book, along with a blue bonnet.
Morgan walks to the road. He sees the others coming in the truck. They pull over and get out. Al is in the back checking on her most treasured items, her videocassette recordings. In the past, Madison spots a field of blue bonnets. She's overjoyed to find them, "Told you there was good here". Nick lies down in the field of flowers.
Nick admires the blue flower. A shot rings out. He puts his hand to his chest. It's covered in blood. He looks up to see Charlie pointing the gun. He whispers "Charlie", then falls over. The girl runs away as the others come racing. Victor and Luciana grab Nick, covering the wound as blood gushes from his mouth. Alicia screams in horror, clutching her brother as he takes his last breath. Nick dies holding the blue bonnet. The episode ends with a final shot of the past, Nick laying at peace in the idyllic field.
Talk about a punch to the gut. I had to watch the ending three times to absorb the impact. Charlie shooting Nick is akin to a missile hitting the show's narrative. It makes perfect sense and has been brilliantly built up since the season four premiere. Charlie was an infiltrator used by the Vultures to gain people's trust. While she may have cared for Nick and his mother, her loyalty was with Ennis.
Nick was the most intriguing character. From the very first scene in the drug church, his journey as an addict in the apocalypse was enthralling. After "Good Out Here" premiered, The Hollywood Reporter posted an interview with showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg. Frank Dillane had asked to leave the show to pursue other acting opportunities. This allowed them to create a "story that would give Nick a fitting send off."
Now that Nick is gone, it shatters the thread that held the other primary characters together. Fear the Walking Dead is now on a darker, more captivating track. What happened to Madison and the settlers at the diamond? How will Madison react to Nick's death? Will she and the others hunt Charlie for payback? I sincerely hope that the remaining season does not squander this epic twist. Fear the Walking Dead officially becomes must see television on AMC.