Bad things happen when you try and help people.
That was the ongoing theme on Fear the Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 14, as we explored the backstory of The Filthy Woman, as well as learned some interesting tidbits on Sarah, and Wendell.
Also, Morgan's attempts at leading the group to safety put his leadership -- and his hope -- to the test.
While The Filthy Woman's lengthy backstory wasn't essential, we did finally learn that her real name is Martha.
Thank goodness that piece of info dropped. "The Filthy Woman" was just too long-winded for my liking. However, it did remove the mystique surrounding the character.
After numerous failed attempts at flagging down help, Martha's husband died from injuries suffered following their car accident. Help did eventually come, just not when she needed it most. At that point, Martha's husband was long gone -- along with her sanity -- and has been on a bitter, murderous rampage ever since.
It's an awful feeling to feel so helpless, especially when someone's life hangs in the balance, but I'm not entirely sure what exactly drove her to the point of madness.
Sure, losing a loved one will take a toll on anyone, and trying to survive alone can be both physically and mentally stressful, but for Martha to completely lose her mind and go off on a killing spree seemed incredibly forced.
When you help people, they never learn to take care of themselves.Martha
Perhaps there was an underlying issue, or Martha had a history of mental health problems, and a culmination of things going awry simply sent her over the edge.
Maybe if the season devoted an episode solely to Martha's backstory, it might have done a better job at fleshing out her character and help make better sense of what attributed to her sudden psychotic break.
At least Martha's killing spree montage was fun in seeing how she used each victim as a walker to kill the next. It provided an explanation as to why she discards walkers after they've served their purpose.
It was also interesting to learn that it was indeed Martha who had been speaking to Morgan on the radio back on Fear the Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 10.
Following this episode, I went back and rewatched that truck stop scene again, and the voice on the radio sounded nothing like Martha, so that was a surprising little reveal.
If you watch Fear the Walking Dead online, you can listen for yourself.
I was an English teacher. Drove everyone up the wall, correcting their grammar. But words matter. When we're gone, they're all we leave behind.Martha
The glimpse into Martha's backstory did clear up her motivation towards preventing the supply box drops and forcing people to help themselves, but it was very rough around the edges and felt rushed.
That's not to take anything away from Tonya Pinkins, who has done a fantastic job with the material she's been given. But to be honest, I would have preferred her character remain shrouded in mystery.
Martha's attack on the truck was extensive, but everyone miraculously walked away with only a few cuts and bruises. How did Martha even know how to operate the van's guns?
In case you didn't notice, she's also a remarkably resilient woman. Do you know anyone else who could take a shotgun blast to the shoulder, and brush it off?
That is one tough English teacher right there!
Not only did Martha get what she wanted by destroying the truck and preventing more supply drops, but the noise from the explosion drew the attention of some nearby walkers.
Now I'm not sure about you, but I had an issue with the giant herd following the group all the way to the hospital.
I know that there needed to be a sense of danger, and a reason to get the survivors to the hospital, but having the walkers follow the group's exact trail for miles on end seemed a bit ridiculous -- especially considering how far ahead they were from the walkers.
Can walkers read signs now?
The dilapidated hospital was an exotic new locale to visit, but I wish the group had spent more time exploring its dark, dingy rooms and corridors. Hospitals are creepy in general, and this episode had a great chance to crank that dial up to eleven. But it never went there, and it felt like a missed opportunity.
Although, I wouldn't go as far as to say that the time in the hospital was completely wasted. Al was able to do what she does best and pry out some information regarding Sarah's stint with the military, and how Wendell ended up confined to a wheelchair.
I was ten. This kid kicked a ball in the street and he ran after it. He didn't see the car that was comin'... I did. I pushed him out of the way. He got up... I didn't.Wendell
Initially, I was not a fan of these two when they were first introduced on Fear the Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 10, but I'll admit that they have both grown on me significantly.
That is why the rapid fire of information about Wendell and Sarah had me a bit concerned. Once we get invested in a character and learn more about them, it typically spells doom for them.
We know how you work, showrunners!
While Sarah and Wendell remain alive and well -- a least for now -- the same can't be said for fellow beer-making survivor, Jim.
You won't see me shed a tear for him either. While Jim wasn't necessarily a bad guy, he didn't have many redeeming qualities to make me care enough one whether he survived or not.
What's crazy is that Jim likely would have fared better on his own -- as he suggested earlier -- and now Morgan will be dealing with the repercussions of that decision.
Do you think Jim will leave his beer recipe behind with someone?
Let's stir some beef.Sarah
Morgan was able to get everyone to the roof, thanks to Al getting the generators online. What are the odds that the elevator was on the exact floor that the group was on when the power came up?
Talk about a close call.
Not only was Morgan's leadership and hope left badly shaken at the end of the episode, but the group is now stuck on the hospital roof with no plan of escape.
I'm not worried for Al, though. Like Luciana said, she's a smart and resourceful woman. There is still so much we don't know about her, so there's no question that Al will rejoin the group. Perhaps she'll think of something and come to the rescue.
One thing that I struggled with during this episode was how Alicia completely gave up on helping her friends who were obviously in severe danger so that she could take Charlie to the beach.
Sure, I understand that Alicia was trying to do something good for someone else, but leaving her friends for dead felt entirely out of character. Especially for someone who has desperately been trying to honor her mother.
What happened to "No one's gone til' they're gone," Alicia!?
Yes, I know Morgan and the group could have gone in any direction, but at least make an effort, girl.
However, things did eventually go their way when Alicia and Charlie stumbled upon John's hat and finding John and Strand across the lake.
That means we may be getting some more gator action during the upcoming episode! It should be interesting to see how Alicia and Charlie try and get them off the island.
This episode did have its share of odd narrative choices, such as the herd's relentless pursuit, and Alicia's desire for a beach day, but at least we learned some key backstory details regarding the newbies, even if Martha's story left a lot to be desired.
Now it's your turn Fear-natics!
What did you think of "MM 54"? Will Morgan get his head on straight and figure out a way to escape the hospital? Will Alicia and Charlie be able to rescue John and Strand from the island -- and the lurking alligator?
Hit the comments below and let me know.
Steven Ford is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.