Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 7, “Portrait,” felt like it was a better episode overall. But was that only because it was less bad than some of the previous episodes? I’m not sure. It certainly doesn’t hold up to the quality of the Madison-and-Nick days of the series. But there were quite a few interesting moments this week, and Colman Domingo is definitely killing it in his role as “crazy Victor.” However, a few character inconsistencies left me really struggling with whether I could say it was a “good” episode or not.
This article is a Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 7 review of “The Portrait,” based on watching the episode as it aired on AMC+. There will be MAJOR episode spoilers.
This episode was definitely an improvement over most of the other episodes this season. I still have quite a bit of things that I have issues with, which I’ll mention. But overall, I enjoyed the pace of this episode and I enjoyed how Domingo is really getting into his crazed Victor Strand persona.
As I’ve said in previous reviews, I don’t like how they turned Victor into a caricature of his previous self. During this episode, I managed to make a bit of peace with the whole thing by simply assuming that Victor has lost his mind and is now crazy. That’s the only way I can reconcile it all in my head, so that’s now my personal canon.
The gas masks and how they handle radiation is also driving me crazy. I am just going to assume that the radiation isn’t as bad as we were led to believe, and that’s why they’re not all dying from radiation poisoning based on how often they take off their masks. Yes, yes, I know they’ve explained it. But does the wind really magically blow in the right direction every time Morgan is on the screen? 👀
Morgan & Victor Are Great on Screen Together
What I did enjoy about this episode was seeing Morgan and Victor share the screen together again. When they’re not being comically forced to try to kill each other for no good reason (I’m looking at you Submarine Scenes from Last Season), the two really have great chemistry. Lennie James and Colman Domingo are great together. It’s not their fault the plot goes a bit off the rails at times.
This week’s episode starts with Victor commissioning a painting that looks exactly like him. But he is furious about how it turns out, for some unknown reason, and ends up throwing the painting off the ledge. (But not before we get a really amusing scene where he turns down every single person who requests admission to his community. He played that scene great.) The opening is basically showing us that Victor is unhinged. I mean, the show already forced us into the storyline where Victor is evil and will kill people for no good reason. But now he’s crazy too. And shortly after the episode begins, he realizes he needs to be around someone who knew the real Victor. And since Alicia’s not here, Morgan will have to do.
After turning down Morgan’s request to get medical help for his baby, Victor has him tracked down and brought back. He lets June treat the baby for a double ear infection, while keeping close tabs on Morgan the whole time. But in the middle of Morgan’s visit, a group called “The Stalkers” shows up. They’re mad that Victor wouldn’t let them into the community, so now they’re going scorched earth. “If we can’t live here, no one can,” is what they basically say.
They put together a trebuchet to hurl zombies into the windows of the tower, threatening its stability. Then on top of that, they reveal that some of their zombies were planted with pieces of dirty bombs.
Morgan begs Victor to let him radio his people, who are on the outskirts nearby, and get them to help. Victor says no at first, but eventually relents after he realizes he’s poisoned. There’s a mole in his group — someone tried to kill him. So at this point, he only trusts himself and “kind of” Morgan to go get the radio, which is on a ground level somewhere. For some reason, Morgan takes his baby with him. This ultimately ends with a poisoned Victor holding the baby while Morgan finds the radio.
At some point in the middle of all of this, everything is resolved. It’s weird how it happens in a “blink and you’ll miss it” kind of way. Victor passes out and everything is resolved off screen. Grace and company somehow manage to scare off the Stalkers off screen. And when Victor wakes back up, he notices that Morgan’s thumb is blue… Because the poison was also blue, Victor realizes that MORGAN POISONED HIM.
Pacifist Morgan Poisoning Victor Is Really Out of Character
So this is where I had a really tough time. Can we all just stop and consider how out of character it is for Morgan to poison Victor? Morgan is a pacifist to the extreme now, having only recently managed to make himself OK with killing zombies. (Remember his last season on The Walking Dead?) He has spent every season since he joined Fear determined to save every single villain. Remember “Filthy Woman”? Remember how he betrayed his OWN PEOPLE to try to give Virginia a second chance? Poisoning Victor after all of that makes ZERO sense. And yet here we are.
Victor threatens to kill Morgan as retribution, but Grace agrees to join his community if he’ll spare Morgan’s life. So Grace and the baby are now Tower People, and Victor is determined to be the baby’s new dad. It’s weird, and that poisoning plotline now feels a bit like a plot device just to get Grace and the baby stuck at the Tower.
For many fans, the best part of the episode was finally getting Alicia back on screen. But after seeing Alycia Debnam-Carey as Lexa on “The 100,” I was disappointed to see that they are still holding back on her character here. At the end of last season, she was put in charge of a group of people in a bunker and then she helped them survive in a radiated world later. She is a badass survivor who should have appeared strong AF when Morgan saw her. Don’t get me wrong – I loved that she still gave him a big hug and was glad to see him. But she shouldn’t have needed his help. She should have simply invited him along to help her now that they ran into each other again.
When she talks with Morgan in that brief scene, it’s obvious that she knew Morgan and Victor were both around, but had decided not to deal with either of them until now. (To be honest, I think avoiding both of them was a smart move on her part.) I’m just disappointed that the scene was painted with a “Morgan I can’t do this on my own; I need your help” brush. Alicia should be more than capable of standing on her own at this point.
The episode ended with zombies showing up at Alicia’s camp with dirty bombs inside them. They detonated, sending a wave of radiation in their direction. Alicia’s under attack now, and things are getting really serious.
So all in all, this episode had good parts and bad parts. There were plotholes and moments of character discontinuity that didn’t make sense to me. But Victor and Morgan together on screen was a lot of fun to watch, and it was great to see Alicia return. So I think I still enjoyed more about this episode than I disliked, overall.
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