WARNING! Major spoilers below for the Season 5 finale of Fear the Walking Dead.
The Season 5 finale of Fear the Walking Dead pulled off one of the most potentially unspeakable acts within the Walking Dead universe, and in a manner that calls back to one of the franchise's most controversial moments (the dreaded Glenngate). In the final moments of "End of the Line," the newest villain Virginia vindictively set up Morgan's potential death, shooting him and leaving him to either bleed out or become zombie chow. But the episode's credits rolled seemingly seconds before the approaching zombie herd reached him, leaving his fate undetermined.
For any fans hoping that showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg would grant conclusive answers about whether Morgan is going to die or not, there isn't much ripe fruit on that vine. Here's one way in which Chambliss teased things:
I think all we'll say is that Morgan's final message to everyone was telling them to just live and he meant that on, I think a more metaphorical level telling them to try to live their lives because there actually was some validity to what they were doing. But for Morgan, the question is whether or not he's going to be able to take his own advice and literally live 30 seconds past when the camera cuts in that final shot. And that's just something people are going to have to wait and see.
The fact that Andrew Chambliss calls this Morgan's "final" message could be worth reading into, but he probably worded it that way for ease's sake. In any case, the point is that the showrunners dropped that shocking AF cliffhanger on viewers with the express notion that answers about Morgan's fate would be walled off for the fall and winter.
It's not a rare move to pull off in 2019 TV, but considering The Walking Dead franchise's bad luck with killer cliffhangers, one might have expected the creative team to find a way to close out Morgan's Season 5 arc without causing so much worry and stress for Fear's vocal fanbase. Especially the ones who have followed Lennie James' trek as Morgan ever since The Walking Dead's series premiere.
It would seem the only way that Morgan could be saved is if someone swiftly dropped in and took out the walkers that were closing in on him. Luckily – if one can use that word to describe scripted events – Virginia wasn't able to get her second shot off in Morgan's face, and her first shot apparently didn't strike him in the most lethal spot.
During an interview with Insider, Andrew Chambliss specifically stated that Morgan was shot in the shoulder, and not the heart as some fans suspected. When asked to clarify that point, Ian Goldberg said this:
You know, listen, he was bleeding quite a bit from that wound. And, he also had walkers encroaching on him. So you know, whether it's in the shoulder or the heart, it's a bad gunshot wound and it's not going to be one that he could easily survive.
With that answer, the co-showrunner is possibly implying that even if Morgan does manage to somehow get rescued from those walkers at the very last second, his gunshot wound is still going to be a source of major trouble. Perhaps June would be able to do something with it, but she's been taken away to one of Virginia's outposts, and it's unclear if she or anyone else will ever see Morgan again.
This is the kind of cliffhanger that Fear the Walking Dead almost definitely wouldn't have tried to pull off had AMC not already renewed the struggling drama for Season 6 months ago. But with the security that a new season is on the way, the creative team found an interesting, if frustrating, way to cap off its fifth year while setting up branching storylines for the future. It's going to be a long eight or nine months from now until Season 6 starts up, but can Morgan's fate possibly remain a secret for that long?
Fear the Walking Dead Season 5 is complete now, with the most recent episodes available to stream on AMC's website. For everyone looking for more zombie mayhem, The Walking Dead Season 10 starts up on Sunday, October 6, at 9:00 p.m. ET.