Fear the spoilers below for Fear the Walking Dead's latest episode if you haven't watched it yet.
The back half of Fear the Walking Dead Season 4 is starting to look like an eight-part post-apocalyptic slasher flick, which is in stark contrast to the more emotional journey taken by characters new and old during the first half. The "slasher" in this case would be Tonya Pinkins' kooky, as-yet-unnamed villain (listed on IMDb as "Filthy Woman"), who made another string of unhinged appearances in "Weak." Though horror villains usually benefit from limited screen time early on, I'm already in need of Pinkins' disturbing antagonist getting her own standalone episode posthaste.
To the slasher movie point, Season 4 has generally adhered to standalone episodes, and these past four have seemingly laid out the set-up for a traditional genre sequel, in which a group of set-apart characters reunite at a central location (usually with newbies joining the fun), where they're all picked off by whatever murderous entity happens to be targeting them. We don't know much about Tonya Pinkins' villain at this point, or if she's got any nuanced motivations beyond tracking down the truck that Wendell and Sarah stole, but we've already witnessed how violent and deadly her go-to reactions are in any given situation. Which led to her gaining possession of Al's van, something that Al would not be happy to hear about.
So she might not need to have much going on that goes deeper than her surface instincts, and her backstory likely contains at least one particularly disturbing incident that really cracked her psyche. It probably involves Pervis' philanthropic trek prior to his death, though we don't yet know whether his current handler was responsible for his lethal arm bite(s). That can be assumed, considering she'd faked a mile marker sign and used Pervis to dispatch Quinn, who then became her new pet to mark up and weaponize. We know from references to the truck driver's journal that Pervis was part of a group of long-haulers that kept the roads cleared and stocked with boxes of trade-able goods. But was she part of that group before things went kablooey, and when did his death happen in relation to Sarah and Wendell stealing the truck?
The episode's title, "Weak," comes from the mysterious character telling her new walker he won't be weak anymore, which is a pretty unsettling point of view for anyone on this show to have. It was also curious the way she told Pervis he was free now, as if he's actually got a concept of captivity. Tonya Pinkins' villain clearly views walkers as something other than a pure threat, which shares some characteristics with others in the Dead-verse. She seemingly has a system of using walkers as weapons and as messengers, and not quite how we've seen it done by the Wolves or Lizzie Samuels or The Vultures or any others. But to what end is she carrying this connection to the undead?
Since we've only seen the creepy woman interacting with zombies, it remains unclear what she'll be like around a group of living survivors. No doubt she's going to keep up the facade that she's presently part of the supply-offering group, and the fact that she has control of all of Al's videos is the biggest bargaining chip the character could possibly have for when her act runs dry. Viewers now know that some of Al's past loved ones are featured on those videotapes, and Al already put June's life in danger in an attempt to get her vehicle back. I kind of hope the new villain watches all the videos to keep herself busy, which can obviously be part of the standalone episode that I'm aiming to see.
I assume Alicia, Strand, Luciana, Charlie and John will find a way to Morgan's new group soon, at which point viewers will witness a strange and fatal crossroads among this group of morally swishy characters. (Look for it to probably go down in Episode 14, titled "MM 54.") It doesn't appear like Tonya Pinkins' character will have a swath of walkers waiting to ambush the protagonists, but she'll definitely have one trick or another up her multiple sleeves, which doesn't bode well for anyone's survival. Some big deaths are definitely coming in the season's final four episodes -- for instance, Aaron Stanford's hop-master Jim was destined for an awful death as soon as he exited his brewery -- and Nick and Madison's deaths earlier in the season truly proved that no one's safety is guaranteed.
So who's going to get killed off next? And, more importantly, will this new character get her own episode and/or a proper name soon? With just a few more episodes to go, Fear the Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see what other shows are being scared up for primetime's future, head to our fall TV premiere schedule.