Fear the Walking Dead returns with a red-eyed, gangrene-infected Morgan (Lennie James) on the run. The season six premiere marks a change of philosophy for our hero. "The End Is The Beginning" introduces Morgan to several new characters. They force him to examine his passive, do no harm mantra. The character that emerges is the ass-kicking, take no prisoners, apocalypse warrior that TWD fans have been begging to see.

This Fear the Walking Dead episode opens with the sun glaring in the sky. A man smoking a cigarette spray paints "The End" on a red surface. That night, the cowboy hat-wearing bounty hunter, Josiah LaRoux (Demetrius Grosse) adds Tabasco to a can of beans on a campfire. The bushes rustle, a desperate man (Damon Carney) stumbles into the camp. He pleads for help, "They have been after me for days." His name is Walter. The cowboy offers him the can of beans.

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Walter gulps down the beans. The cowboy chats while holding a wicked looking axe. He looks at a key around Walter's neck. A bloodhound comes charging out of the bushes. Walter stands up terrified. That hound "has been chasing him from Laredo." Josiah pats his dog, Rufus. He chops Walter's head off in a swoop. Josiah takes the key, then puts Walter's walker head in a picnic basket with his name on it. Josiah's truck radio squawks. Virginia (Colby Minifie) has a new job for him. She's searching for Morgan Jones. She doesn't know if he's dead or alive. Josiah writes Morgan's name on a box.

Morgan awakens with bloody eyes in the back of a limo. His hair has grown and he has a full beard. A walker approaches the rear window, then gets its head blown off. Morgan hides under the shattered glass. Four of Ginny's rangers pass by on horses. Morgan gingerly gets out of the car. His shoulder is bandaged, but still bleeding from the gunshot wound. Another walker ignores him completely. Morgan screams he's here. Then beats the walker with his staff. Blood oozes from the necrotic wound.

Morgan walks to a rusty water tower. He climbs the ladder with great difficulty, then hoists his gear. Inside is a shelter lined with mattresses. Morgan has collected food, water, and medicine. He fills his backpack with supplies, then writes the GPS coordinates on the handle.

Morgan explores an abandoned town. He finds a handgun in a wrecked police cruiser, but the clip is empty. He falls down while looking through a storefront. Again, a walker ignores him. A dirty man wearing a knit cap kills the walker. He lurches towards Morgan with a knife, then realizes Morgan's not a zombie.

The stranger takes Morgan into the store. Morgan tenderly touches his wound. The stranger guesses it's been that way for "five or six weeks." He tries to examine the wound. He was a "corpsman in the Marines." Morgan doesn't want his help. The stranger tells him the smell is "gangrene, tissue necrosis." Morgan warns that the woman who did this is still looking for him. The stranger offers Morgan a bag of pickle chips. They were meant for his wife. He introduces himself as Isaac (Michael Abbot Jr.). Morgan refuses to tell him his name.

Rufus barks outside on the street. Josiah wonders if "Mr. Jones" is inside. Isaac goes out with his hands up. Josiah kills a walker, then examines its guts. No sign of a new meal. He holds up a drawing of Morgan. Isaac swears he hasn't seen that man. Josiah wonders why his "dog is so intrigued." Josiah and Rufus enter the store.

Josiah finds a bloody blanket, but Morgan is gone. Isaac offers that whoever used that died and turned. Josiah goes on a rampage. He smashes through the cupboards with his axe. He finds nothing and leaves with Rufus.

Isaac kills walkers behind the store. He sees Morgan passed out in the dirt. Morgan wakes up in the water tower. He pushes Isaac away who's trying to take the bullet out of his shoulder. Isaac found the coordinates on Morgan's backpack. He needs Morgan's help. His pregnant wife is about to give birth. The walkers have their hideout surrounded. He was looking for a gun to take them out. He shows Morgan a handful of different bullets. Morgan gives him his gun. But Isaac still begs for his help. He calls Morgan by his name.

Morgan grabs his staff. How does Isaac know who he is? Isaac had seen one of his video tapes. Morgan still refuses to help. Isaac draws the gun. He's sorry, but he doesn't have "options left." The tower begins to rumble. Outside, Josiah pulls the tower down with a rope attached to his pickup truck.

Morgan looks up at Rufus in his face and Josiah approaching. Isaac fends off a walker. Josiah hacks the rest to pieces. Morgan finds the gun and draws it on Josiah. He scoffs, "You're already dead. I can smell it." Isaac yells for him to shoot. But Morgan just wings Josiah in the arm. He and Isaac race to the truck, then drive away.

They come to an impasse on the road. Morgan turns around to go back. The walkers won't bother him. Isaac is stupefied. The bounty hunter will easily find him again. Morgan admits that the tower wasn't his. Someone else had found him at Humbug's Gulch. They killed the walkers and stitched his wound. When he awoke, his rescuer had left a note, "You don't know me, but I heard your message. You need to do the same. You still have things left to do."

Isaac warns him that the tower will never be safe. He has a better place, "You get me to my family and I will take care of yours." Morgan agrees. As they walk, he tells Isaac how he found out Grace was pregnant the night he got shot. Isaac asks if Ginny split up his people. Morgan draws his staff again on Isaac, "You knew my name. You know hers. Is there something you're not telling me?"

Isaac admits that he was a former [NE7tW15vVkt6aa||ranger}. He and his wife ran from Ginny as well. He saw Morgan's tape on patrol. Morgan was giving for free what Ginny was charging for. Isaac leads Morgan to a dam with a crack in the foundation. Walkers mill around the entrance. Isaac hands Morgan his supplies. He can just walk past them.

Morgan ambles through the walkers. But he falls over in pain from his wound. Isaac shoots a walker near Morgan. Morgan screams, "I'm right here." He starts to impale the walkers with one hand and his staff. Isaac joins the battle. The two men kill dozens of the undead.

Isaac takes Morgan behind the dam. There used to be a lake, but the water leaked out when the dam failed. The structures left behind were previously submerged. Anyone looking at a map would just see the lake. They hear a woman groaning in a decrepit building. Isaac embraces Rachel (Brigitte Kali Canales) as she continues to have contractions.

That night, Isaac continues his story. They were searching for his grandfather's fishing cabin. "There's water here, the soil is rich from the silt, we can rebuild this place." Morgan refuses, he was wrong to try and help anyone. A dog barks in the distance. Morgan tells Isaac and Rachel to stay put. He'll give up to the bounty hunter.

"Even I can smell you from a mile away," snarks Josiah. Morgan offers himself, if he leaves the others alone. He throws down his staff and kneels in the dirt. Josiah approaches with his axe, but is knocked over by Isaac. Josiah throws Isaac to the ground. He's about to kill him, but is tackled by Morgan. Morgan whacks Josiah in the head. He orders Isaac to take Rachel and leave, but he can't. Isaac lifts up his shirt. He was bitten before he went searching for the gun.

Isaac's goal was to bring Morgan back. Josiah springs up and knocks out Isaac. He pushes Morgan down, then jams his finger into the festering wound. Josiah swings his axe. Morgan blocks it with his staff, whips Josiah off his feet, and then stabs him in the chest. He picks up the axe. A gurgling Josiah mocks him, "You couldn't do it before." Morgan chops his head off, then falls over. He hears a baby cry in the background before passing out.

Morgan awakens to Rufus licking his face. His shoulder has been cleaned, sutured, and bandaged. The bullet and chunks of flesh are in a bowl beside him. Rachel cradles her newborn daughter. They named her Morgan. Rachel begins to weep. She takes Morgan to Isaac's grave. Morgan sees Josiah's head. He picks up the key from the dirt. A walker approaches him. He grabs his staff, then tosses it away. He picks up the axe, then decapitates the walker. Morgan's eyes are no longer bloodshot.

The MRAV leads a convoy. It's blocked by bodies piled in the road. Ginny and her rangers get out. She sees the box with "Morgan Jones" written on it. Ginny opens it to find Josiah's head. She looks around terrified. Ginny radios Morgan, "If you can hear me, listen good. I thought I needed you dead. I just need them to think you are. If you try the tiniest bit to convince them otherwise. I will add them to this pile."

The radio crackles back, "Morgan Jones is dead. And you're dealing with somebody else now." Ginny rushes back to the safety of the MRAV. Morgan looks down on her with binoculars. He's wearing Josiah's cowboy hat and trench coat. A determined Morgan rides away on horseback. The scene cuts back to the opening. The smoking man finishes his text in spray paint, "The End Is The Beginning." He smashes a walker's face with the can. Another man approaches, "He should have been here by now. We need that key." The camera pulls back. They are spray painting the hull of a nuclear submarine.

Finally! Morgan's ridiculous pacifist ideology is gone. It made zero sense and ruined season five of the series. He's now free to rescue his friends and bring a beatdown to Ginny's Pioneers. It's obvious that the showrunners heard the clarion call of irate fandom. Sherry is obviously the person who rescued Morgan. The handwriting on the note is the same as the message to Dwight. She also responded to the radio when Morgan was shot at Humbug's Gulch. As for the key, I'd guess that has to do with the missiles on the submarine. Fear the Walking Dead has reset its storyline once again. An unshackled, axe wielding Morgan is a huge step in the right direction. Fear the Walking Dead returns next Sunday night on AMC.

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Julian Roman at TVweb
Julian Roman