Reviews | Written by Rich Cross 04/11/2021

FEAR THE WALKING DEAD, Season 7, Episode 2, SIX HOURS

With no let-up in the intensity established in the opening episode The Beacon, the drama of Six Hours turns the attention to the trio of survivors who have sought sanctuary from nuclear radiation aboard the USS Pennsylvania. Morgan (Lennie James) and Grace (Karen David) are struggling to feed themselves and Mo, the young baby they have of necessity adopted. With brief foraging trips in hazmat suits turning up precious little by way of supplies, Morgan convinces Grace to begin a perilous road trip out of the fallout zone. It’s a journey that they must complete within the six-hour maximum exposure period.

Though a high-risk strategy, it seems better than the alternative of slow starvation and radiation poisoning. But things get complicated when a mishap in the custom-built car (with its intentional nod to the design motifs of Mad Max), and the unwanted attention of an irradiated and desperate couple threaten to wreck their travel plans. Since his introduction in the first-ever episode of The Walking Dead, Morgan has been through many character makeovers, all of which James has taken in his stride. In Six Hours, he’s the empathic proxy father and the concerned platonic partner to an embittered and angry Grace, whose grief at the stillbirth of her own baby has left her a resentful stand-in mother. Their difficult relationship is put under extra pressure by the horrors of their flight through a radioactive wasteland. Like The Beacon, this is an intense character piece, in which the threat of walkers is a secondary concern to the existential nightmares that haunt the survivors.

While the evocative visuals and saturated colour palette add to the sense that this is unfolding in a world apart, two developments lock the story of Six Hours into the wider narrative of the season. Strand’s enforcers and an unexpected stalker both cross paths with the retreating Morgan and Grace, setting up future conflicts even as the pair find temporary respite. Despite some plot contrivances, this is another absorbing and disturbing instalment of what’s shaping up to be the bleakest season in the show’s history.

Season seven of FEAR THE WALKING DEAD is screening in the UK on the AMC channel and to rent on Amazon.

Read our previous reviews of FEAR THE WALKING DEAD below:

Season 7, Episode 1, THE BEACON