The clock is ticking when Morgan (Lennie James) and Grace (Karen David) face the fallout of the nuclear zombie apocalypse on Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 2, "Six Hours." Surviving together aboard the USS Pennsylvania — the beached submarine where Morgan and Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) failed to stop the launch of Teddy's (John Glover) warheads in Season 6 — the cramped couple is quickly running out of food for Baby Mo. "Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Chernobyl — it's going to be a lot worse," Grace, a former power plant worker, told Morgan when they considered suicide to spare themselves succumbing to the radioactive fallout in "The Beginning." But then came baby Morgan, the orphaned daughter of Isaac (Michael Abbott Jr.) and Rachel (Brigitte Kali Canales).
Meet the new nuclear family.
Before the Clock Hits Zero
A hungry Mo cries. Outside of the USS Pennsylvania, Grace wears a hazmat suit as she searches the ashy remains of Galveston, Texas. Her Geiger counter clicks inside a bomb-blasted store with fresh blood on the walls.
Powdered milk cans are either empty or chewed through by rats. Someone's coming. Grace pulls a shelf down to hide from two strangers: a masked man and a bandage-wrapped woman.
Outside, no one is around to hear Grace's guttural screams. "You can rob me! You can take everything from me! I mean it!! I don't even want to be here!"
The submarine. It's Morgan's turn to go out and search. He stops Grace from going back out. "There's a reason why there's a limit," he says, telling her what she already knows. "You were exposed once before all this. And we talked about the fallout and the weather patterns and the readings you were getting, and you said six hours. You said six hours is the longest that either one of us could be out there."
Mo cries. "It's my turn, Grace. And I'll be back before the clock hits zero."prevnext
Our Way Out
Grace tries to soothe Mo. Nothing works. She begs the baby to calm herself. Please. Morgan told her to try singing to Mo, but she can't bring herself to do it. Only music from Grace's tape player stops the crying. Time passes. Morgan returns to a timer on zero.
Morgan didn't find formula. He's been working on something else instead: a way out of here. Morgan made a hermetically sealed vehicle. Using a smock he found in the ship's dental kit, Morgan fashioned a safe spot for Baby Mo. The air inside there is as clean as it is inside the submarine.
Morgan and Grace study a map tracking Teddy's exploded warheads. He figures the fallout of the ten nukes will cover hundreds of miles in any direction, but using fuel from the sub's diesels, they can make it out. It's too far to go and will take too long, argues Grace, but Morgan believes they can get as far as they need to get in less than six hours. The stripped-down, souped-up car is light and it is fast and it can get them the hell out of here.
He tells her why he's doing this: "We can build something someplace else that will actually last." He's doing it for her. And for Mo.
Morgan lets Grace pick the music for their road trip. They drive away from the submarine.prevnext
My Dreams of You
Nightfall. Old country western music plays as Grace looks out at the ash and devastation. "It's a lot worse than I thought. The bombs detonated on the ground. If they didn't burn clean, there could be a lot of dangerous stuff out here that'll stick around for a long time."
"It's a good thing we're getting out of here," Morgan says.
"The really dangerous stuff, you can't see it." Their Geiger counter won't detect it. "It's gonna get a lot worse before it gets better, Morgan."
He has faith they're heading in the right direction. The Geiger counter clicks to life. Morgan and Grace are close to ground zero. They need to talk about what happens when they get where they're going.
A voice on the tape interrupts. It's Grace's. "There's a playlist of songs I left on this tape. I hope when you listen to them, they make you smile."
Grace desperately tries to remove the tape. "Turn it off. Morgan, make it stop! Stop it right now! Morgan, please stop it!" He's trying, but he can't. "In Dreams" by Roy Orbison plays — the soundtrack to Athena's death. An upset Mo cries. "I don't want to hear this song!!" Grace yells.
Up ahead, a roadblock. Morgan swerves to avoid it and the car crashes into debris. "I close my eyes… then I drift away… into the magic night…" Morgan finally stops the music. Grace sobs. "I don't want to hear it… make it stop."prevnext
Every Second You Can Get
A bent wheel renders the vehicle immovable. He'll head for a nearby body shop, but the clock is ticking: they can spare only 30 minutes. Grace removes her mask and goes to leave.
"Once you fix the car, you take the baby and you go. The car will be lighter. You'll get farther. The rations will last you longer. The clock is ticking."
He urges her to put the mask back on. There's no time to argue.
"You and the baby need every second you can get," she tells him.
"What we need," Morgan tells Grace, "is you." She'll die.
"I know. And I'm okay with that. I didn't want any of this, Morgan. I knew what it was gonna be like. I knew how hard it would be, how it would all probably end in the same place, but take longer and be a hell of a lot more painful."
"We heard Mo crying. We had to go to her," Morgan reminds her. "We have to take care of her."
"You decided that! You put the gun down, and now you have to live with that decision. But I don't. I'm sorry, Morgan, but I can't — I can't do this."prevnext
Some Kind of Family
A cocking shotgun interrupts the quarrel. Masked marauders Fred (Derek Richardson) and Bea (Maren Lord), the couple from the store. The wife opens the car door, letting dog Rufus run free. "I hear her!" She desperately searches the car and finds the crying baby. "They've got her. She's here."
Morgan offers the car. They just want to take their baby someplace safe.
"Her name is Emma," the woman says. Adds her armed husband, "She's not your baby. She's ours."
A clicking Geiger counter inside the body repair shop. Grace recognizes Beta burns on Bea, a sign the couple may have been exposed to something worse. Fred trains his shotgun on Morgan as he repairs the tire. Morgan points out the clicking was slower until these two showed up.
Bea calls Fred over to a crying Mo. Morgan worries the baby is being exposed to something more dangerous than the barrel of a gun. "I'm more worried about this running out," Grace says of their ticking-down timer. "She can survive them. She can't survive this."
They need to get the car fixed and get out of there. But Grace meant what she said before. "I may not want to be here, but I'm not giving up now. Not like this. Not like them. Not when I know you and Mo end up dead, too."
"I'm still here," Grace adds. "I'm not with the person I really want to be with."
"You mean Athena?" asks Morgan. "I'm never gonna apologize for giving you and that baby another day."
"Did you really think that we can be some kind of family to Mo? I can't do that. It won't be the same."
"Doesn't mean it won't be something," Morgan tells her.
Growling walkers press against the garage doors. Fred urges Bea to keep the crying baby quiet. I'm trying! Fred gets in close. "You remember what happened last time?"
Grace gets the tape. Fred holds off shooting the dead to avoid drawing more. Bea says they're from the crater, and they're dangerous. "They fall apart when you hit them. You don't want them to fall apart on you."
The music soothes Mo. A rotted door isn't going to hold against a horde of walkers. Grace connects with Bea. The couple lived in the town before the bombs fell.
Grace offers Bea and Fred a ride. They can all get out of here — together. Morgan tells them he knows a safe path to take away from the fallout.
"You know about Padre, too?" Bea asks.
Fred hushes her.
The parents load up the car. They're leaving with Mo. Morgan asks for their masks back if they're going to be stranded. When Fred turns to oblige the request, Morgan maneuvers to steal the shotgun.prevnext
Grace stops him from firing on the car as the engine starts. Fred hops in as Bea takes off. "You damage the car," Grace points out, "no one leaves."
The car peels out, bursting through the walkers crowded at the garage door. Grace tells Morgan the couple might be able to get the baby someplace safe.
"This isn't about her. This is about you because you're scared," Morgan tells her. He fires at the window. "I already lost one child. I'm not gonna let that happen again!"
"I lost a child, too!"
"Then you know why I have to do this."
Morgan fires a shot that stops the car. Bea jumps him as Fred makes off with the baby. Bea's bandages unravel, revealing a burned and almost featureless face. "I'm not one of them. Not yet."
He helps her flee encroaching walkers. Inside a hastily made shelter, Morgan learns Bea and Fred were close to the blast by a few miles. They took shelter in a root cellar. The burns came later.
"I just want to get Emma someplace safe before the end," the mother tells him. Morgan reminds her that baby is not her child to take.
"She's not yours, either."
"Not by blood," Morgan says, "but I made her father a promise that I would build a better world for her. Least I can do is take her someplace where that might be possible."prevnext
Better Than Here
Morgan and Grace are taking her outside the fallout. They tried it, Fred says, but a storm "pushed all that stuff in the air clear toward Louisiana." If they keep driving the way they were going, Bea tells Morgan and Grace, "You'll end up just like us."
"Where were you trying to take her?" asks Morgan.
"We'll show you."
On a map is a marked location: PADRE. A red circle around an area somewhere between the Fannin Battleground in Victoria, Texas, and the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge near San Antonio Bay.
"We know it's safe. We know it's better than here," Fred says.
Morgan asks how they know.
"They don't want anyone saying. People on the radio."
They know where it's not, Fred says. "There's only one more direction to go looking."
Searching like that is going to get them killed.
"It's too late for that," scoffs Fred.
"You're gonna get her killed," Grace says.
"I would never do that to her."
Grace offers them a spot in the sub if they bring their supplies. It's not much, but it's protected from the dangers outside. Together, they can buy time for Mo.prevnext
Something Close to What I Once Had
Mo's cries threaten to draw more walkers. They need to get back to the car. Now. They have about two hours left on the timer. Retreating to the sub is the only way they make sure Mo stays safe. Their gas tank half empty, it's now or never.
"We just need to know where we're going, and what Padre actually is. What is Padre?" asks Morgan to no answer.
"What you said before, about me being scared," says Grace, "you're right. I am. But I'm not the only one."
"I'm doing the only thing that we can."
"Because you're scared to admit that what you want to build for Mo might not be possible."
"Maybe you're right," Morgan tells her. "But this thing I wanted to build was just something close to what I once had. I'm not even talking much. I'm talking about sitting at the table with the woman I love, sharing a meal and getting angry at our kid because he's reading comics instead of talking to us."
"And I'm telling you," Grace says softly, "that might not be possible."
She urges him not to listen to these people and take Mo back to the submarine. In the distance, a revving engine and the glow of approaching headlights.
Who the hell is that?prevnext
Bright beams are blinding. Morgan tells the others to take cover as he crawls into the car, gun trained on the stranger. The engine revs again. The sound of a closing door and footsteps. The stranger — just the silhouette of somebody illuminated by the headlights — steps forward from the darkness, ignoring Morgan's orders to halt.
The gun cocks. "Take another step and I'll shoot."
Morgan fires. The stranger advances. He fires again. The stranger doesn't stop. A third bullet stops them.
Inside, Fred paces as Mo cries. Shh, please, please, please.
In the car, Morgan hears something. Fred and Bea's suitcase is moving. Faint growls as something presses from the inside.
"What the hell really happened to your baby?" asks Morgan.
Fred begs for "Emma" to stop crying. Morgan shoots the suitcase as Bea sobs.
"I'm sorry, but she was already gone."
Bea insists her baby isn't gone. She's inside with Fred.
"You know that's not her, and it's okay to admit it, because that's how you start saying goodbye — and how you stop repeating the same mistakes over and over again."
A sobbing Bea explains Emma was in pain like them and wouldn't stop crying. Fred didn't want her to suffer, and she just wouldn't stop…
Morgan realizes. He calls out to Grace. Walkers stand between him and getting to Mo. Fred, hands outstretched, closes in on Mo. "It will be better this way, I promise…"
Grace shoots him. Just in time. Walkers growl and grab at the windows as Grace flashes to images of Athena. Finally, she sings: "In dreams, I walk with you. In dreams, I talk with you. In dreams, you're mine. All of the time." The cries stop. Grace cries, holding Mo close. "We're together in dreams. In dreams…"prevnext
Time to Stop Crying
Morgan is back behind the wheel of the car when he sees the red glow of taillights heading the other direction. The stranger is gone.
Morgan and Grace drive off to "It's Time to Stop Crying." He says it doesn't feel right leaving Bea behind. "She wants to spend the time she has left with her husband and child," Grace says. She gets it.
He's sorry. For the baby. "I almost got her killed."
"You saved her."
"Only because I was chasing after what I needed," he says. "I should've listened to you. I just wanted to give you and her something more than what we have."
"You didn't fail her. You didn't fail me," Grace tells him. She explains she didn't want to die because of him or anything he did. It's because of what's out here.
Maybe it's alright to be a little bit broken, Morgan realizes.
"You're not replacing Athena, Grace. You know that, right?"
Grace leans her head onto his shoulder. "So it's time to quit grieving… it's time for believing… and it's time to quit crying…over you…"prevnext
Sounds Like Trouble
At the sub, Mo is sound asleep when Morgan puts her to bed. Masked men hold guns on Morgan and Grace. "We don't want any trouble," he says.
"Well, that makes two of us," says Howard (Omid Abtahi), right-hand man of The Tower leader Victor Strand.
Morgan asks if they're the ones who came at them on the road.
"I said we don't want any trouble," Howard replies. "And that sounds like trouble."
Another surprise: Victor's told us all about you.prevnext
An Ark For the Future
Howard realizes he's talking to Grace and Morgan Jones. He invites Grace to join Victor at The Tower, but Morgan doesn't make the cut. "Victor's building a place removed from the fallout. Safe from the world around it. An ark that will carry us into the future. He's doing everything you couldn't," Howard tells Morgan. "Food, water, security."
Grace, a former power plant worker, is needed for her expertise in radiation. "I know what he did to Morgan," she says of Strand's attempted sacrifice of Morgan aboard the sub. "I'm not interested in what he's offering."
Morgan tells her to think about it. She has. "It's what I want."
Howard and his men go to leave. Morgan stops them. He asks about the baby. "If Victor is building a place for the future, he's gonna need people to live in it, right?"
"You'd give her up?"
"I will do whatever's best for her," Morgan tells him.
"Morgan, no," Grace says. "Whatever Strand's building, it's not going to be what we have."
"She's right," says Howard. "It's going to be better."
This is a one-time-only offer. "We're staying," she decides.prevnext
There's Always Tomorrow
Morgan and Grace find the sub pantry ransacked by Victor's men. There are questions: "If he didn't run us off the road, who came after us?"
They have more immediate problems. Mo needs to eat, and Strand stole their shit. Grace goes to pick up a crawling Mo and discovers a hidden cache of food stores below their feet: oatmeal, canned foods, powdered milk. Enough to last for months.
In the woods, the stranger's car stops. Rufus eats from a can of beans. The stranger opens a box marked "MORGAN JONES." In it is the decapitated and zombified head of Emile (Demetrius Grosse). The stranger removes the head, looking into a face identical to his own. "I'm sorry, brother. Mr. Jones may have got the best of me today… but there's always tomorrow."
End of episode.
Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD and stay tuned to ComicBook for coverage all season long. New episodes of Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 premiere Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.prev