The Fear the Walking Dead season five premiere was chock full of the same problems that bedevil the show. The characters act foolishly, pay a severe price, and trudge on gallantly, none the wiser. "Here to Help" has Morgan (Lennie James) leading the gang on on air rescue, only to crash, and find out they've been duped. A new adversary has been pulling their strings. Al (Maggie Grace) makes an intriguing discovery in the aftermath. Strand (Colman Domingo) is shocked to see an old acquaintance.
"Here to Help" opens with two boys hunting in the woods. Max tells his younger brother Dylan to steady the rifle. Dylan shoots a deer, but the noise attracts walkers. Max aims the gun at the approaching walker, but it jams. Suddenly a plane comes crashing down, sawing the walker in half. The boys run to explore the wreckage. Aid boxes litter the woods.
As a herd of walkers surround the wreckage, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) comes out swinging with a piece of propeller. She chops off a walkers skull, ordering the boys to "get inside, we're here to help." A new credit sequence rolls of the plane crash. The boys find Morgan upside down in his seat. He pushes them out of the way as a walker comes in, but manages to release his belt. John (Garret Dillahunt) puts a bullet between the walkers eyes. Morgan asks the boys if they're "with Logan". Luciana (Danay Garcia) is pinned to the wreckage. A piece of metal has gone through her shoulder. Morgan instructs Dylan to compress the wound, as he races to help Alicia.
June (Jenna Elfman) is upside down and unconscious in the cockpit. A walker grabs her face. She wakes up and alerts Al, who was piloting. Outside the wreckage, the propeller has cut Alicia's hand. In the cockpit, John approaches and shoots the attacking walkers. Morgan tells Alicia they're "10 to 15 miles from the truck stop". She continues hacking. Morgan gets a call on his radio from the mysterious Logan. He tells him they're on the way. Alicia creates a trip line from the wreckage.
In the cockpit, Al radios Strand. She crashed the plane. Go into her tapes and watch the one called "Skidmark". The guy on the tape has a plane. He'll have to come and get them. She's not sure if the transmission went through. The walker bodies pile up as Alicia and Morgan slash away. June makes it inside to inspect Luciana's wound. Alicia is knocked down. As she gets up, she alarmingly sees a sign for radiation.
The aid boxes have hacksaws. John and Al search the strewn cardboard. Al finds her camera, but is attacked by a helmeted walker wearing a strange protective suit. She impales him on the landing gear. John finds a saw. They cut Luciana free, but a shard of metal is still in her shoulder. June and John carry her on a stretcher. Alicia is given her signature, sharpened nozzle weapon. Just as they are about to fight their way through the herd, a van plows over the walkers. Annie, the girl at the wheel, is the boys older sister.
Annie tells them they have no idea what trouble they're in, "The walkers are the least of your problems." Meanwhile, Strand and Charlie (Alexa Nisenson) are in the MRAV, they heard Al's transmission about "Skidmark". Strand radios to Wendell (Daryl Mitchell) and Sarah (Mo Collins), driving beside them in their truck. He's sure he can track the plane. Back in the van, Alicia wraps her wounded hand. Annie tells them she and her brothers got stuck in the area, many of the roads were washed out. The others have the radiation signs. Annie learns that they don't even know this Logan they were rescuing. Their only communication has been by radio.
Al tells the children that Logan's group is well supplied, but surrounded by walkers. Annie brings the van to a screeching stop. She's furious they're driving into danger. She doesn't understand why they're trying to help people. Annie drives them to a sickening roadblock. Walkers, with their entrails binding them together, are tied to the road. In the trees, decapitated heads snarl from above. Annie doesn't know who did this, but the area is filled with these roadblocks. Morgan admits that they've done poorly trying to help people. Logan is the first person who's asked for their help.
The van makes it to the truck stop. The place is deserted. There's not a herd in sight. Logan is nowhere to be found. Morgan finds the radio and tries to reach Logan. June and John search for medical supplies to help Luciana. Dylan wonders why toy trucks are in the aid boxes. Luciana tells him about Polar Bear, how he started the boxes to give people hope. They were trying to keep his efforts going. Morgan informs the children of their headquarters at the denim factory. They even have a movie night. Alicia knows something is not right. Annie has had enough. She tells her brothers to load up. Max pulls his gun and the children leave, against Morgan's objections. June pulls the remaining shard from Luciana's shoulders.
At the denim factory, Logan (Matt Frewer) walks to the locked gate. He knows the code. He strolls through the factory, putting on a "C&L" hat. He finds the beer distillery, the beds, and the requests for movies. He sees a pad of the previous failed rescue attempts.
At the truck stop, Luciana has been bandaged up. Morgan is still on the radio. Alicia walks to him, then Logan responds. It was a setup all along. Strand and the others return to the factory gate to see a group with guns trained on them. Logan was Polar Bear's partner, the "L" in the "C&L" trucking. He lured them away, so he could get what was rightfully his. He mocks their efforts helping people. Alicia grabs the mic and threatens him. Logan responds that he's the legal owner of the factory. He doesn't want to see them dead. He wants what's his, "Now you're going to have to help yourselves."
Camped by the roadside, Wendell and Sarah drink a bitter batch of Auggie's recipe. Charlie tells them she can find a way into the factory. Strand has found the tape. He'll get the plane and retrieve their comrades. Meanwhile at the truck stop, Al is reviewing her tape of the helmeted walker she impaled. She tells Morgan they have to go back to the plane. His response, see June and have your injuries looked at.
As Luciana sleeps, John shows June a cassette of "It Happened One Night". He's worried about their mission. They've been lucky so far, "most people don't get that kind of luck." Outside, Alicia kills a walker savagely. She expresses the same feeling to Morgan. They were tricked, Luciana almost died, those kids ran from them. Her mother tried to be good as well. Morgan refuses to budge. He's going to find those kids. "It's not supposed to be easy." Alicia replies, "It shouldn't be this hard."
In the MRAV, Strand views the "Skidmark" tape. He's stupefied to see that Al is recording Daniel Salazar (Ruben Blades). Last seen in season three, when he was shot by Strand at the dam. Back at the plane wreckage, Al drives to the walker she impaled. She finds a pouch with a map, a pack of code keys, each with the symbol of three interlocking circles. When she radios Morgan her discovery, she's tasered from behind by another helmeted figure. The episode ends with a black card, "In Memory of Bobby Reid."
Willing suspension of disbelief can only be milked for so long, even in a show about the zombie apocalypse. Fear the Walking Dead has turned Morgan and its characters into fools. Even if you buy the premise of rescuing Logan, how on earth is flying a plane, with no weapons except boxes with hacksaws, going to handle a herd surrounding a truck stop? It's utterly ludicrous. Then to have everyone miraculously survive the plane crash? Only to face a new threat with a radioactive component? I think my IQ was lowered watching the premiere.
The plane crash was a lazy way to separate the characters. Morgan's team in the middle of nowhere, searching for Al, who of course runs off by herself, and kids who don't want their help. Charlie trying to retake the factory from Logan, and Victor getting a rescue plane from Salazar, who pops up out of the blue. "Here to Help" was a jumble of poorly plotted nonsense. "Fear the Walking Dead" was re-written completely in a mediocre season four. Season five already smells like garbage with "Here to Help." It's an atrocious start that I'm praying to the zombie gods gets better, on AMC.