Poor Morgan Jones has seen better days after being shot and left for dead in the Fear the Walking Dead season 5 cliffhanger, but he quickly learns in the season 6 premiere that the gangrene eating away at his flesh is the least of his worries. There’s an axe-wielding bounty hunter named Emile LaRoux (Demetrius Grosse) on his trail, hired to collect Morgan’s head for Virginia, who is too much of a coward to finish the job herself.
Emile ends up being nothing more than a one-off villain meant to spark new life in Morgan, who had lost the will to live after being defeated by the Pioneers last season, but his introduction does also tease quite a few things about season 6 nonetheless. For one thing, it’s confirmed through Emile’s very existence that there are bounty hunters wandering around The Walking Dead universe and ready to chop off heads. That may seem like a foregone conclusion, of course, since this universe is best known for its absolute lawlessness, but this is the first time we’ve met an actual bounty hunter in the 10 years since The Walking Dead premiered.
We also learn that someone has hired Emile to retrieve a key, which is likely meant to unlock something inside that marooned submarine we see in the final seconds of “The End Is the Beginning.” The episode doesn’t really give us much information about the key beyond a tease, but the fact that someone needed a professional killer like Emile to acquire it means that the key is of great importance to the group in question. Whether it’s a MacGuffin or the key to something dangerous waiting inside that submarine — perhaps a nuclear weapon? — we’ll likely learn more about it before the season is up.
As for Emile himself, the fascinating new villain met his end faster than anyone probably expected. During their climactic battle, a wounded Morgan manages to get the better of the bounty hunter and stab him through the chest, a killing blow that Morgan follows up by chopping off Emile’s head. It’s a big moment for our fallen hero, who chooses to once again spill blood in order to help those who need him. By episode’s end, Morgan has donned Emile’s cowboy hat and duster, proclaiming that “Morgan Jones is dead” over the radio for all to hear, including a clearly terrified Virginia.
Did Emile’s short time on the show make way for the return of a more violent Morgan? Fans who remember the character’s time on The Walking Dead know what Morgan is capable of when driven over the edge, and the closing minutes of “The End Is the Beginning” seem to tease that he’s gone down a darker path once again.
“You’re dealing with someone else now,” Morgan tells Virginia over the radio as she looks on at Emile’s severed head. But is this “Clear” Morgan or a version of Morgan we’ve never seen before? By the way he confidently rides off on his horse, likely to plan his revenge for what Virginia and the Pioneers did to him and his group, I think it’s the latter.
We’ll keep you updated as we learn more about Morgan and Fear the Walking Dead season 6!