Fear the Walking Dead finds religion in a bounceback episode. “Ner Tamid” introduces a new character, Rabbi Jacob Kessner (Peter Jacobson), to the zombie apocalypse. Charlie (Alexa Nisenson) becomes disillusioned with life on the road. John (Garret Dillahunt) and June (Jenna Elfman) leave the convoy to rescue her. Sarah (Mo Collins) and Dwight (Austin Amelio) are left to guard the fuel tanker. Logan (Matt Frewer) finally gets his wish.
“Ner Tamid” opens with Rabbi Jacob lighting a candle and praying. He hears a walker clawing at the door of the synagogue. He grabs a rifle with a bayonet and kills it. Outside at night, he sees the gate open and walkers gathered by a car. He closes the gate, then kills a walker. The second one falls on him. As he struggles with it, a dirty Charlie opens the door and knocks it off. Jacob kills the walker with his gun, then welcomes Charlie to Temple B’Nai Israel. She saw the light in the darkness. Jacob tells her its called Ner Tamid, the flame of truth. He continues that God led her there.
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The MRAV leads the convoy and the fuel tanker. They circle and fence themselves in. The next morning, John tells June that “they’re running them ragged.” The constant moving around from Logan has “taken its toll.” Dwight informs them that the headcount is off, “someone is missing.” Charlie wakes up to Jacob playing the piano. He goes outside to clear more walkers by the fence. Charlie tells him she got separated from her group. She asks him, “Did God really lead me here?” Jacob’s watch beeps, “Hashem calls.”
Inside the temple, Jacob does the daily ritual. He clings to tradition. The battery is dying for the eternal light. Charlie “knows where to get some.” She calls June on the radio. Charlie admits that she ran away. She wanted to find someplace to settle down. Charlie asks June to bring car batteries. She’s found a place they could live. Another walker is at the door. Jacob kills it. Charlie thinks there’s a gap in the fence. Jacob tells her to wait in the temple.
He walks to a building with chains on the door. Walkers are escaping through a loose board at the bottom. He kills one, then pushes another back before fixing it. He places his hand on the glass and prays for the walkers trapped inside.
John and June have arrived with batteries. The eternal flame shines. They’re ready to leave, but Charlie wants to fix the fence. John gives Jacob candy, who checks if its kosher. He then gives John a yarmulke to wear under his cowboy hat.
As they clear the fence, June tells Charlie they can’t settle at the temple. It’s not big enough, there’s no water source, and it’s not secure. Charlie thinks it’s better than being in the convoy. She doesn’t see any different from where she was before. June reminds her they’re different people with a purpose.
At the convoy camp, Sarah and Dwight drink beers on their lookout. Dwight sees pickup trucks approaching through his binoculars, “Logan’s guys have found us.” At the temple, Jacob pours wine for service. He has his own vineyard. Charlie tells him she wants to live there. Jacob replies that’s “not a good idea.” Charlie wants to stay, to keep the lamp lit. June gets a call from Sarah. They’re on the run from Logan’s men. She sent the cars to the rendezvous, but needs “the Swatty pronto.”
The walkers in the adjacent building break through the glass. They swarm the temple doors. Jacob admits they are his congregation. On the roof, Jacob tells them he left for supplies. When he returned, they were all walkers. They need to get back to the convoy. John takes a ladder and smashes it though a car sunroof. He climbs down, followed by June. Surrounded by walkers, they move the ladder from car to car. Then gingerly make their way to the MRAV outside the fence.
The fuel tanker races down a highway with Logan’s men in pursuit. The bad guy Dwight let loose taunts them on the radio. At the temple, John falls while crossing, but they make it to the fence. The ladder collapses on the fence, leaving them stuck on a car roof. The herd has them trapped.
On the roof, Jacob refuses to use bullets on his congregation. June wants to lure them in the temple, but Charlie doesn’t want “to give this place up.” Charlie saw “the light, God led her there for a reason.” Jacob regrets telling her the story. He lied. He doesn’t believe in God. He didn’t leave for supplies. He left because he lost faith. When he came back, his congregation were already dead and locked up. Charlie weeps.
Inside the temple, Jacob blows the Shofar. The ram’s horn draws the walkers inside. John and June barricade the doors. Above the pews, Charlie and Jacob watch as the eternal light flickers out. Jacob apologizes to Charlie. He takes his suitcase and gun as they walk away from the temple.
The fuel tanker is about to run out of gas. Sarah and Dwight grab they’re guns. They won’t give up the fuel. They’re shocked when Logan’s men drive by. The MRAV rolls up behind them. Charlie apologizes for running away. June admits she’s been “pushing everyone too hard.” Jacob says she has faith, “Don’t underestimate it.”
Sarah fills up the tanker’s gas tank. Sarah introduces herself to Jacob. Dwight is surprised to learn she’s Jewish, “Sarah Rabinowitz.” He’s concerned that Logan’s men ran off too easily. Cut to Logan driving in a truck. He gets a call from the guy in the pick up. They had lured “the panzer away.” Al’s videotapes are strewn across the dashboard. They arrive at the “Lonesome Quarry.” Logan has found the oil fields. He smashes through the entrance.
“Ner Tamid” had its flaws, but was the best episode since Fear the Walking Dead’s midseason premiere. Charlie running off was silly and unbelievable, but Rabbi Jacob is an intriguing character. Much like Father Gabriel, his crisis of faith is a viable story arc. Logan used the tapes to find the oil. The fight for fuel begins in earnest, next week on AMC.
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