Fear the Walking Dead Midseason Finale Recap: "All I See Is Red"

"I see red. Everything is red. Everything I see is red," Morgan Jones (Lennie James) told Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) back on the "Clear" episode of The Walking Dead. The deaths of his wife Jenny (Keisha Tillis) and his son Duane (Adrian Kali Turner) compelled Morgan to "clear": "It's like I see red. It's all I see, and all I do is kill. Again and again. Until I've cleared. Walkers, people… I don't see no difference. All I see is red." After returning to King County to put down his zombified boy, Morgan thought he was past having to clear. But then he lost Grace (Karen David) and Mo (Zoey Merchant). So says Morgan: "I lose people, then I lose myself." 

Morgan sees red. Flashes of his walker wife in the scope of Rick's gun. Grace dying and reanimating. Duane. John Dorie (Garret Dillahunt). His mentor, Eastman (John Carroll Lynch), who redirected Morgan from madness and taught him to walk the path of peace. He sees Madison Clark (Kim Dickens), standing over him. An axe-wielding Morgan blacked out and attacked Madison, so she had to knock him out.

Inside the train car where Grace died are messages scrawled in blood: GRACE TURNED. CLEAR. MO RAN. CLEAR. YOU CAN'T RUN. CLEAR. CAN'T FEEL THIS AGAIN. Morgan warns Madison she's not safe with him. He's lost Grace like he lost Jenny, and he's going to lose Mo like he lost Duane. "It's like a cycle, and it's starting all over again," Morgan tells Madison. She wants to help him break the cycle, but Morgan's mental state makes him a danger to her and everyone around him.

Morgan and Madison make it to the shipyard where Shrike (Maya Eshet) sent Mo and her prefects clear the Carrion guarding the P.A.D.R.E. containers, only to find the yard mostly empty. Mo and the prefects are leading the herd into the marshes, while Shrike (Maya Eshet) treks to the other side of the swamp. She's loaded the containers onto a cargo ship and is planning to expand PADRE by seeding new communities across the U.S. As Morgan and Madison join forces with Daniel Salazar's (Rubèn Blades) parent army, Morgan radios Mo: "I want to tell you something that a friend once told me. He said you can hide, but you can't run. He wanted me to know that hurt will follow you. It follows you wherever you go, and he was right. Only thing I know that will ease it is the people you still have left. It's the same people you're running from, Mo. Just don't do what I did. Don't run."

Rick's words don't convince Mo, running from the pain of losing a parent. If PADRE's prefects make it to the ship, Shrike will send them out to establish settlements all over the country — and he'll never see his daughter again. There are a thousand walkers between Morgan and Mo, who ended up at PADRE as a baby because of Madison. Now she's making it right. Daniel reminds them Morgan isn't the only parent with children in the swamp: they're all going.

As June (Jenna Elfman) tends to Dwight (Austin Amelio) and Sherry's (Christine Evangelista) zombie-bitten and fever-stricken son Finch (Gavin Warren), she reports that walkers are bogging down the prefects in the swamp. Mo's led them to the houseboat that nearly sank when she was trapped there with Morgan and Madison. Shrike needs the prefects to find the coordinates needed to launch PADRE's expansion, which are on the body of one of the Carrion in the swamp: Shrike and Crane's father, General Krennick (Michael B. Silver). Inside the binoculars on his body are coordinates to locations that were "developed after years of study by the U.S. military," Shrike explains. "They provide the right geographical, meteorological, and topographical conditions to ensure the communities we seed survive. We don't find them, we might as well be throwing darts at a map." She instructs the students to do what they were trained for: kill as many Carrion as they can until they find Krennick.

Mo won't survive clearing the walkers. Morgan needs his axe to get through the swamp before Shrike does, but he's losing control. There are flashes of red. A swing of Madison's hammer. Morgan comes to and finds his axe embedded in Madison's oxygen tank. Fearing he's killed Madison, he radios Mo with a warning: "If I come anywhere close to you... baby, run." 

Meanwhile, Dwight wants to hunt down Shrike in the swamp and make sure she doesn't harm any more kids. June convinces Dwight to be there for Finch at the end. His son needs him, and so does Sherry. Back at the swamp, Morgan sees red as he clears walkers to get to Mo. Father and daughter end up trapped inside the walker-logged houseboat where Morgan was forced to give up Mo to PADRE seven years ago. As water and walkers begin to flood inside, Mo yells at Morgan: "Why wouldn't you just let me go?" She blames him for getting them trapped, just like before. "I was trying to run away from you!" Morgan wanted her to run. Why didn't she? "Because I didn't want to watch you die like I had to watch her," she says of Grace. "And now we're both going to die." Unless Morgan can break the cycle.

Morgan fires a flare gun answered with a radio message from Madison. Before she can get to the houseboat, Shrike corners Madison. Daniel's parent army holds off Dove (Jayla Walton) and the rest of PADRE's prefects as Madison makes her way to save Mo. Inside the flooding houseboat, Morgan fishes one of Madison's oxygen tanks out of the water and tells Mo to swim beneath the walkers to safety. "I'm not gonna make the same mistake I did before. Seven years ago, it was just like this. Surrounded by walkers, the boat sinking. You were just a baby, and I thought it was all over. I lost myself, Mo," Morgan tells her. "I saw red, and when I came to, my hands were covered in blood, and I was standing over you. And then I called PADRE because I knew I couldn't protect you, and I couldn't break the cycle. But I'm gonna break it now."

Before he drowns, Morgan radios Madison and tells her to make sure Mo doesn't get on the ship. Shrike cuts in: "Wren is coming with us. We're going to find those coordinates, and you'll never see her again." Just then, walker Krennick washes up at the houseboat. Morgan's going to bury him at the bottom of the swamp with the coordinates. Suddenly, Morgan goes red... and comes to on land. Madison was supposed to go for Mo, but she wasn't going to leave Morgan to drown. He sees red. "I can't lose her!"

"You're not gonna," Madison assures him. "PADRE, when they first had their hooks in me, my kids were the only thing that kept me going. Alicia, even when she thought I was dead, she kept me with her. You told me that yourself. You never really lose people, Morgan. None of us do." No one's gone until they're gone. And no one's really gone.

Shrike tracks Morgan and Madison to find the houseboat submerged in the swamp. As the reanimated Krennick washes ashore, Shrike sobs an apology — and lets her zombified father rip her throat out. Madison finds the coordinates inside Krennick's binoculars. With that, Morgan and Madison call a ceasefire between PADRE's prefects and the parent army. They're going to give them the coordinates. "If that's what it takes to end all this, you can have them," says Morgan. Because he's letting Mo go. If she wants to get on that ship, if she wants to run away, if that's what she thinks she needs, he won't stand in her way. He doesn't want to lose her. But letting people go isn't losing people.

"For the longest time since I lost my wife and son, I lost myself. And then, when your mom died, it started all over again," Morgan tells Mo. "But I think I can finally break free of that cycle. I think this will do it. It was Madison that led me to it. Told me that you never really lose people. Not the people who matter." Morgan tells the prefects to get on the ship and see where the coordinates lead them. "Just remember the people you leave behind. 'Cause those people are gonna remember you. And you might not realize today or tomorrow how important that is, but the day will come. It will, Mo."

"I don't want to just remember you," Mo replies, wrapping him in a hug. "I want to be with you."

As one family reunites, another falls apart. Finch chooses mercy over wrath. As Shrike bleeds out from her bite, she begs June to adminster the radiation treatment, but June leaves her to be put down by Crane. "After you bury her, you should look for another place to live." Finch succumbs to his infection and is buried by his parents. D and Honey survived Negan and the Sanctuary, but there's no surviving this. "Maybe we're just not meant to be together," Dwight says. He's going to go back home and start over. He doesn't want to hurt her, but "us together, it just seems like what we do to each other." They agree to put an end to it and hug goodbye.

On the beach, Morgan and Mo part ways with Madison. He's going home. "Everything that's happened with Grace, with Mo, it's got me thinking about the people I ran away from when I first came to Texas. And they're people that mean as much to me as you all do," he explains. "I gotta find them. I gotta see if they're still there. Right my mistake and make sure they're all okay." He believes Madison is the leader PADRE — and the parents — need. She hopes to see them again, but it's goodbye. "We will always be with you," Morgan tells Madison. Father and daughter sail off into the horizon.

Back on the beach, Dove asks if they're getting on the ship. They have the coordinates, the supplies, and the fuel to seed new communities and expand. But Madison has a different idea. "There are files back on the island. Files that tell us where you came from and who your parents are. Some of them could still be out there. We're gonna find them. We're gonna bring them here," Madison says. "And we're gonna make PADRE what it was meant to be in the first place."

In the Georgia woods, Morgan and Mo bury Grace in Eastman's graveyard. Morgan is training Mo in Aikido and the art of peace. Before they move on, Morgan holds his stick-turned-axe and visits Eastman's grave. He tells Eastman what he's realized: "That all life is precious, but that is not about killing or not killing. It's about what you do with the time that you have. And the people that you have."

People like Mo. And people like Rick Grimes. They're going to find the friend Morgan told Mo about. "It wouldn't be the first time we found our way back to each other," Morgan says, clicking a walkie. "This message is for Rick Grimes. It's Morgan Jones. Man, I'm gonna come and look for you, whether you're at Alexandria or not. I will leave this message every morning at dawn, and I'll leave the walkie on for a few minutes after. Who knows? Maybe you might even be listening."

Morgan remembers people he's lost. Eastman. Benjamin. Nick. Isaac and Rachel. John Dorie and John Dorie Sr. Alicia. Jenny. Duane. Grace. You never really lose people. One last look back, and Morgan and Mo leave the cemetery behind. Morgan's future is clear.

In a stinger, radio static over the radio: I repeat. My name is Madison Clark. If you can hear this message, you are in the territory PADRE once patrolled. PADRE has fallen. They are no longer a threat to you or your children. If you lost a child ... come to the following coordinates and send an SOS on this channel.

A mysterious figure scribbles down the coordinates into a notepad. 31 degrees, 51 minutes north. 81 degrees, 10 minutes west. We will find you. We will do our best to reunite you with your children. We'll make up for all the damage PADRE did to you.

On the table are familiar possessions. Victor Strand's sunglasses. Alicia Clark's amputated bone arm. A map marked with a trail from the Gonzalez Dam in Texas to Savannah. And a hammer.

Fear the Walking Dead returns with its final six episodes later in 2023.