"The Hurt That Will Come" is a slow, emotional, and at times relatable episode.
Logan's decision to take over the denim factory has presented the group with another set of problems. Strand has discovered that Daniel Salazar is still alive. Luciana is badly hurt.
The episode begins. The first three quarters are slow, reminiscent of a novel that's gently introducing readers to every character's motives. I was almost tempted not to write a review because I felt I had nothing specific to say. And then Morgan saved the day.
I believe episodes like this are necessary. While they might seem boring at times, they promise to intensify stronger emotions in the future, ones that will inevitably appear during an unexpectedly dramatic scene.
Strand films himself saying that he might not be alive for long. He has no choice but to face Salazar and find a way to get the plane. This is the group's only way to get back together without compromising their mission.
The actor who plays Strand, Colman Domingo, is a force to be reckoned with. He has taken a sneaky character and organically transformed him into someone who's still sneaky at times, but who's also consciously ever-evolving. Someone who has built genuine relationships and wants to change for the better. I just needed to put that out there because I've been a big fan of his ever since the show started.
End of fangirl moment.
Morgan, Alicia, June, and John are looking for Althea, who, along with the zombie she pinned to the ground, is nowhere to be found. Luciana is at the truck stop, dreaming about accordions because of all the painkillers she took. (Humorous moments like these are refreshing and something I wish The Walking Dead had more of.) John desperately wants to find those children and give them a home.
The radiation signs belong to a new character called Grace. It's difficult to trust someone in a universe where people like Logan seem to be the only ones left alive. But Morgan trusts her, and his gut is right.
We find out that a number of walkers are contaminated. If attacked directly, they might poison you with whatever ends up on your body after the kill, and you'll end up just like them in an indefinite amount of time.
Morgan has to go through a decontamination process to avoid getting poisoned. This means getting rid of his clothes and his beloved weapon, which also means getting a new set of clothes, aka my favourite scene in this entire episode.
Grace has to check for radiation by standing in front of every zombie (with what looks like a radiation meter/unidentifiable contraption) and figuring out which ones she needs to kill from a distance. Alicia almost gets bit by a walker that may or may not be contaminated. It's an intense scene.
In the meantime, Strand has met Salazar and explained the situation to him. The best thing to come out of this is a cat. That's right, Salazar owns an adorable cat called Skidmark that falls in love with Strand immediately. Its name kind of explains the label on Althea's tape.
Surprisingly, the atmosphere is more amicable than strained, probably because Salazar finds out that both Madison and Nick are dead. Strand gets excited about the prospect of helping out the group with a new plane.
We also find out more about Luciana's physical state. While talking to Strand from the truck stop, she hears a noise outside, goes out to see what it is, and shouts, probably hoping to find a person needing her help.
First of all, what an illogical bunch of things to do. Now she has to deal with zombies and a weapon she can barely use because of her delirious state. And the zombies do come, leading her back to the truck stop and making her pass out just as she closes the door.
Back at the decontamination site, Morgan and Alicia are having an intense conversation about hope. Morgan says something profound that is as relevant in the Walking Dead world as it is in ours:
"There's no way to really protect yourself. You can't put a weapon between you and losing people, and you can't even run away from them either. And I'm telling you that because I tried.
The way out is opening the door to people, to possibility, to the hurt that will happen."
Something slightly changes in Alicia when she hears him say this. The world still has wonderful people in it. They are the ones worth fighting for.
As Morgan, June, Alicia, and John get ready to return to the truck stop, they invite Grace to join them. She reveals that she's probably contaminated because of all the walkers and radiation she has been exposed to, so she'd rather not risk their lives. Nevertheless, they give her a walkie and agree to stay in touch.
Upon arriving at the truck stop, they find Luciana by the door. She wakes up and yells, pointing at the door and probably wondering why the walkers didn't wreak more havoc. Turns out that someone beheaded all the walkers, hung their heads on the billboard above the building, and smeared blood all over the place. A new threat that enjoys showing off. Weird flex, but ok.
Minutes before the episode ends, we find out that Salazar doesn't give Strand the plane. He believes that Alicia will survive on her own without anyone's help.
"You'll only make the situation worse," he says.
To top it off, he threatens to kill Strand if they ever cross paths again.
Strand goes out into the dark and starts violently killing every walker in his way.
This episode wasn't eventful, but it was filled with a handful of touching and humorous moments that, in my opinion, were worthy of a mini review.
I'm curious to see what happens with Alicia. In a recent interview, Alycia Debnam-Carey said that Alicia would get a lot darker later in the season, so I doubt Morgan's advice is going to be helpful in the long run.
What I enjoyed the most was Skidmark, Morgan's fabulous t-shirt, and the moving way the episode title was mentioned during Morgan's speech.
I'm aware that some (if not most) people feel that Morgan is taking over the show with his endless fountain of optimism. Personally, I think it's refreshing to watch two characters, who are so inexplicably different, surviving side by side. They balance each other out.
Next week's episode was directed by Colman Domingo himself. He has already directed an episode in the past (Season 4, Episode 12), so I have no doubt that the next 40 minutes of FTWD are going to be a great success.
I'll end this with a mandatory screenshot of Skidmark.