Major spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet watched the Season 4 finale for Fear the Walking Dead.
Hogwash on anybody who claims they could have predicted exactly what Fear the Walking Dead would do under new showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg. Season 4 has been abundantly serialized, with most episodes centered on a specific set of characters, rather than focusing on the entire ensemble, a tactic that fared much better in some episodes than others. Everyone once again found themselves facing a semblance of safety in the extended finale, "...I Lose Myself," but only after the expected smattering of questionable twists, a somewhat noteworthy death, and various emotional breakdowns. Which all leads into where Season 5 will presumably be taking everyone, and here's how it all went down.
No More Martha To Worry About
When Tonya Pinkins first showed up as the Filthy Woman later identified as Martha, my expectations were admittedly too large, and her backstory mostly diluted her villainous potential. She couldn't help her husband survive his injuries, which would have legitimately required some intense medical knowledge and equipment, so she went berserk and decided to murder anyone she came across who showed signs of helping others. She surprisingly had a soft spot for Althea in the early minutes of the finale, presumably recognizing that the former journalist chose getting people's stories above offering salvation, but also wanted a big face-to-face with Morgan, the one character who empathized with Martha and thought she could be saved.
And what an awkward face-to-face it was. After Morgan came across Jimbo's face-splotched corpse, he soon discovered an unconscious Martha, bordering on death from her uncleaned wounds. Against her wishes, Morgan attempted to take her to find the others, whose safety had all been sabotaged. (More on that later.) One wild car crash and another slightly heady conversation later, Morgan made the decision to leave Martha to die, handcuffing her to the damaged police car so that she couldn't go frolicking as a walker. (Inspired, perhaps, by the familiar phrases she'd written in marker on his face.) The joke was on Morgan, though, when he returned and found the undead Martha shambling around with her shackled appendage having been completely ripped from her torso. Morgan didn't spare her this time, though, and plunged his staff through her head. Here's hoping for a more well-rounded villain in Season 5.
So Long, Alexandria Plans
Season 4 started off with Morgan entering into his country-crossing trek, and the midseason premiere hinted at his intentions to return to Alexandria with the rest of the Fear the Walking Dead crew. Mostly understandably, the showrunners weren't actually going forward with that idea, as not to overindulge on crossover stories. And by the end of the finale, after hearing Martha's warped feelings about helping people, Morgan bypassed his former plans and decided to take up Polar Bear's mantle by reinstating the trucker's plans to help straggling survivors in need of supplies.
Morgan's new lease on life gives Fear the Walking Dead an interesting new location for Season 5 to explore, with Polar Bear's cache of provisions being housed in a big denim factory that everyone is going to take shelter in. But then, Morgan and others will be hitting the road to find others to bring back to their new attempt at societal living, so it's also possible that Season 5 will feel less serialized and more like a "road trip of the week" adventure, without one central villain to focus on. I think that would be an interesting route to go, especially since Season 4 was already peppered with character-developing episodes that didn't do a ton to drive the narrative forward. Perhaps this was our appetizer course in that respect.
Althea Finally Watched Her Special Tape
Beyond the Martha and Morgan confrontation, "...I Lose Myself" hinged another chunk of its main focus on Althea, who'd previously separated from the group at the hospital. She was mostly fine, having been spared by the muck-faced Martha, and soon found herself back inside the protection of her armored van. Even though she clearly had some mental issues with Martha having shat on her privacy by watching all those videotape interviews, Althea was definitely happy to get them back in her possession, though, and when she actually put one of the tapes in to watch it, audiences finally got to see something truly significant from Al's past.
Of course, without any kind of verbal exposition to go on, fans just had to draw seemingly obvious conclusions that she was watching an early recording of the group that she'd been a part of in relatively simpler times. She first got teary-eyed after seeing a few faces both young and old, but her emotions really come to the surface upon seeing a man holding an infant, with the presumption being that this was Althea's husband/boyfriend and their child. Watching the video gave her the impetus to keep going, offering a rocky path of speculation over the idea that someone from Althea's family is still alive out there somewhere. Those chances are extremely slim, considering she hasn't set short-term or long-term goals of finding anyone, but it's always possible that their fates were still left undetermined whenever Althea was separated from them, and that she's kept her intentions private.
Everyone Else's Fate
I don't know how other viewers felt, but Fear the Walking Dead's finale almost had me convinced that the entire main cast (save for Lennie James) was getting killed off to make way for a legitimately rebooted Season 5 focused solely on Morgan's further exploits. The rest of the motley crew of protagonists were holed up in the previously visited truck stop, where Martha had deviously tainted an entire stack of water bottles with antifreeze, which really fell outside her whole "helpers deserve to die" M.O. That was straight-up conspiracy to commit murder whoever drank them, no matter what their thoughts were on offering assistance. Plus, she used an approach that had to have been extremely tedious to put in action, successful as it was.
For a while, it looked like doomsday for John, June, Alicia, Charlie, Strand, Lucy, Sarah and Wendell. Their ethanol truck plan fell through thanks to bullet holes in the tank (which I didn't fully understand), but Morgan pulled off a nick of time save with enough booze to cure everyone's antifreeze poisoning. Science! As soon as the beer-brewing Jimbo bought the big one, it was basically destined that the only big danger that these characters could possibly face in the finale was one where the solution was to get drunk. And hey, it worked! (And Strand had the best line of the episode in recognizing the irony of alcohol not being the drink that would kill him.) And while everyone had seemed pumped to go to Alexandria, they were probably hungover when they got to the denim factor, and really didn't want to walk any more.
Fear the Walking Dead may be done now, but we'll probably start hearing about Season 5 tidbits soon, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, The Walking Dead Season 9 will be debuting on AMC on Sunday, October 7, at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see what else is on the way in the near future, head to our fall TV premiere schedule.