Fear the Walking Dead appeared to kill off a major character in its Season 5 finale, “End of the Line,” which ended with this leading character on death’s door before a cut to black. Spoilers follow.
In “End of the Line,” Morgan (Lennie James) and the survivors manage to reclaim a ghost town overrun by a horde of walkers they plan to use to ward off Virginia (Colby Minifie) and her Pioneers. But when an unseen complication forces the survivors to flush the walkers down the river, leaving them outnumbered and outgunned, Morgan is forced to accept Virginia’s offer and join her settlements to avoid a fight guaranteed to wipe out his 41-survivor convoy.
When Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) pushes back against giving up, Morgan says this deal is the only way everyone survives.
“What we did, what we came out here to do... we help,” Morgan says. “We helped a lot of people. And the only way that’s gonna mean something is if we keep them alive. This is how.”
Knowing they’re facing the dissolution of their group, the survivors marry off John (Garret Dillahunt) and June (Jenna Elfman) just before the Pioneers reach Humbug’s Gulch. Making his stand against Virginia, Morgan lays out an ultimatum: they take “all of us or none of us.”
“You won, you did. You should let us win, too. You’re all about value. Well, all of us alive, I would argue we’re priceless to you like that. And anything else, it’s gonna be a problem,” he says. “Because the only way this is gonna work is if we get a guarantee that we will not lose a single one of us. Not one. Otherwise... well, then we’ll both lose.”
With a swear, Virginia accepts because it’s “worth saving a few bullets over.” Virginia then orders Morgan’s group to be separated and splintered into different directions, leaving Morgan alone at Humbug’s Gulch.
“I’ve gotta protect the future,” Virginia says as she trains her gun on Morgan. “Which is why I’m loathe to repeat the past.”
Morgan grips his staff and swings just as Virginia gets off a shot. They’re both sent to the ground, Virginia with a ringing of the ears and Morgan with a bloody wound near his heart. He reaches for his staff, but Virginia tosses it hopelessly out of his reach.
Pulling a gun off a nearby corpse, Virginia sticks the weapon in Morgan’s face. She pulls the trigger, but the trick gun spares the already near-dead Morgan. When a walkie-talkie call reveals Grace (Karen David) is three or four months pregnant, and not suffering from radiation sickness as previously believed, Morgan tells Virginia she would have left the infirm Grace out here to die.
“You said what we were doing out here had no future to it. Had no future,” Morgan tells her, bleeding out. “You were wrong.” Noticing an approaching pack of walkers, Virginia leaves Morgan to die.
“If there’s anyone listening, if any of you can hear me, what we were doing out here... it wasn’t just about doing right. It was about the future. We fought for the future,” a weak Morgan says into his walkie. “We made the hard call. For her. For all of us. So Grace... if you’re listening to me... live. All of you, if you can hear me... just live.”
Seven walkers are just steps away from a helpless Morgan when the episode cuts to black.
Former series lead Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) was similarly killed off midway through Season 4, the first under showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg. There Madison, who also imparted inspirational last words over walkie talkie, stared down a horde of walkers before using a flare to ignite a blaze that resulted in her perishing offscreen.