Fear the Walking Dead squanders the emotional high of losing Nick (Frank Dillane). Last week's surprise death of a primary character hit like a ton of bricks. The follow-up episode, as this entire franchise has been prone to do, is mostly filler. Buried does reveal one more secret, but it plays out in a strange way. Season four had been fantastic up to this point. I'm praying the series recaptures its gravitas.

Buried opens with Luciana (Danay Garcia) stabbing Nick's corpse in the head. We then cut to a night shot of the SWAT MRAV driving down a desolate highway. Victor (Colman Domingo), Alicia (Alycia Debnam-carey), and Luciana are sitting over Nick's covered body. Al (Maggie Grace) takes out her camera and starts recording. Luciana explains that this outcome started on one faithful day.

In the past at the diamond, Luciana watches as the Vultures unload supplies. Ennis (Evan Gamble) and Charlie (Alexa Nisenson) laugh as they eat. Our heroes have stretched their rations with cattle feed. Victor wants to enhance the meal with syrup, but the others don't want to waste it. Naomi (Jenna Elfman) does not share their optimism on the current situation. The group breaks out into pairs for a supply run.

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Victor and Cole find a greenhouse. They discover a row of edible cactus. As they discuss what's good, a stream of walkers, with cactus barbs in their bodies, stream towards them. In the truck, Victor looks in Al's camera and explains that he's done a lot of bad things.

Nick, who's obviously still alive in the past, is with Luciana on their run. He takes her to an abandoned library. He rolls up a cute picture of a cat. Then proceeds to look for books for Charlie. He wants to find something more than food to live for. In the truck, Alicia coldly says it didn't work. Charlie killed him.

John (Garrett Dillahunt) is driving the truck with Morgan (Lennie James). He tells Morgan he used to be a police officer, who had a colleague that drank a bottle of rye every night. He asks if Morgan is going to leave once they bury Nick. Morgan acknowledges this truth. John then asks him to stay and help him find Laura. He wants Morgan to meet her.

In the past, Naomi and Alicia find a water park. Naomi is excited by an SUV. Alicia comments that she knows a lot about cars. They see a settlement on top of a water slide. They brave through a pool of rotting walkers, then climb gingerly up the slide. Alicia uses the barrel of a .50 caliber gun to kill more walkers. This weapon, later sharpened, is one she has been using. They also find a trunk loaded with medical supplies. Naomi sees the key to the car and hides it.

Outside the greenhouse, Victor shows Cole a truck that he has been secretly stocking with supplies. He's been planning to abandon the diamond and escape. Those supplies could feed him for a month. They would last a day if he brought them back. Cole refuses to leave. He gets in the car and drives back. Victor hesitates, but then follows with his supplies.

In the present, Al asks Victor if he blames himself for what happened. Alicia says no, everyone had thought about abandoning the stadium.

At the water slide, Alicia turns around to find Naomi gone. Naomi tries to leave in the SUV, but it's out of fuel. Alicia walks up to her window. She tells Naomi to go if she doesn't want to stay. Naomi explains that she just "can't do it again". Alicia comforts her, going it alone doesn't help.

Nick and Luciana are still in the library. They find the librarian tied up over a mound of books. The man had slashed his wrists. Luciana wants to start over. She grabs an atlas of the southwest. She asks to open a random page, and let's all go there. In the present inside the truck, Luciana wishes she'd never found that book.

At the diamond, Mel (Kevin Zegers) radios Madison (Kim Dickens). She walks out into the parking lot to meet him. He asks for relish, as he grills hot dogs. Madison restates her offer. They can join them in the diamond, work together to survive. Mel laughs, he tells her how he and his family had a settlement. He and Ennis foolishly waited until forest fires killed everyone else. They barely escaped. The diamond will fall as well.

The various teams return to the diamond. Madison is impressed by Victor's haul. Cole keeps his secret about wanting to leave. Naomi has also come back with Alicia. She plans to use the medical supplies to create an infirmary. In the truck, the group agrees that this was the day that began their downfall. They should have left when they had the chance.

The truck pulls up on a seemingly random field. Victor, Alicia, and Luciana start digging. To Al's surprise, they uncover a cache of hidden weapons. She's not happy being duped. Victor asks her to drive them, see the end of the story as they track down the Vultures. He found a note for their next meeting point on Ennis' body.

Morgan wonders what they will do about Nick's body. Victor, Luciana, and Alicia bury him at the cache. Then walk away without a word. John doesn't want to join them. He wants to find Laura, not pursue more bloodshed. Al has decided to take the others. As they break up their gear, John is stunned to see a backpack that belonged to Laura. He opens it to find the engraved pistol he gave her. Naomi is Laura. He's floored when Alicia tells him she's dead. Al promises to find out what happened and come back for him. The others drive away, but Morgan stays with a despondent John.

"Buried" was entirely lackluster. The big reveal that Naomi is Laura came at the tail end of pure, unadulterated filler. We still don't know how they lost the diamond. Naomi and Madison are inferred to be dead, but this cannot be the case. I can't fathom the series kills her, Madison, and Nick. Tune in next week to AMC as the hunt for the Vultures begins.

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Julian Roman