This review contains spoilers for Season 8, Episode 4 (“King County”) of AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead – a spinoff to The Walking Dead.
The final season of Fear the Walking Dead has been full of mystery so far but episode 4 puts that aside to bring something more important, closure. Lennie James’ Morgan Jones heads back to the original house both fans and Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes met him in during the first season of The Walking Dead. As mentioned, this episode sets out to bring closure to both fans and James’ Morgan Jones as he heads back home to finally find his son Duane and put him to rest.
What this episode does best is really honing in on the fact that fans have been questioning whether or not Duane was still alive. The idea that Morgan’s son was still alive and kicking out there somewhere has been one of the more prominent theories throughout both The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead fanbases. “King County” finally brings closure to this theory once and for all.
While Morgan sets out on his journey home to put an end to his torment. His relatively newfound family Grace and Mo played by Karen David and Zoey Merchant chase after him out of worry that he may need help. Austin Amelio‘s Dwight and Christine Evangelista‘s Sherry show up to add to the mix of people chasing after Morgan. However, Dwight and Sherry are really chasing after him as they have to bring him back to PADRE under strict orders. This and more all become constraints throughout the whole episode that delay Morgan finding that long-deserved closure for both fans and characters alike.
The episode is just full of events stopping Morgan from doing what he set out to do. He later ends up having to run into a house with Grace and Mo while rushing due to PADRE members causing a bunch of walkers to surround them. This house is revealed to be the original house where Rick Grimes first got to meet both Morgan and Duane properly. PADRE including Dwight and Sherry essentially stand guard outside while walkers try to get in. This gives Morgan, Grace, and Mo a brief few moments to discuss their situation and eventually come up with an improvised plan.
While the main protagonists are inside the said house, Rick Grimes gets a fun name drop and storytime from Morgan as he finds the gun that Rick left him back in Season 1 of The Walking Dead. It would be a lie to say that this wasn’t a goosebumps-triggering moment for die-hard fans of the show.
Morgan even ends up taking the gun and using it to take down a few walkers but fails to do the job properly as he sees visions of his first wife and mother of his son Daune, Jenny Jones. Something that he has been shown in past seasons of both Fear and The Walking Dead to do is struggle immensely with his past. Both Jenny and Duane were turned into walkers early on in the new world which has been a defining character trait for Lennie James’ Morgan Jones.
Dwight and Sherry alongside a couple of PADRE members end up holding Morgan and Grace at gunpoint. During this Morgan finds Jenny’s walker corpse but it is revealed that she is no longer walking around as somebody, most likely Morgan, put her to rest. This is the first big piece of closure as it was never fully clear as to what happened to Jenny’s walker and was something Morgan struggled with most. It’s not too long after this that Morgan finally finds his son Duane as his adopted daughter Mo almost ends up being walker-food while getting attacked by him.
Duane’s first proper appearance in the franchise since 2010 provides so all the needed answers to prevent any more theories from kicking off. He is revealed to still be around the same age that he was when we last saw him in The Walking Dead. It’s an extremely sad notion but seems oddly gratifying to finally know the truth, both for fans and for Morgan. This finally brings closure to Morgan which would have allowed him to focus on his new family, however, Grace gets suddenly bitten at the end of the episode which really puts Morgan’s storyline full circle.
The episode itself is still captivating despite the plot being more focused on bringing closure to the fan theory as it tells a story of a father who lost those he loved most and lives a never-ending struggle of putting his past behind him. Something that viewers will truly appreciate is the brilliant performances from James, Austin Amelio, Christine Evangelista, Karen David, and Zoey Merchant, among others who help bring an immersive experience. Whether you’re a longtime fan of the franchise or just tuning in for the first time, the episode alone works well regardless.
4 out of 5 stars.
Watch Season 8, Episode 4 of Fear the Walking Dead on AMC and AMC+