So here we are at the end of the midseason for Fear the Walking Dead. And much like the season started out, this midseason pause goes out with a bang—
You reap what you sow.
This one is pretty easy to put in the context, so let’s get started.
At long last we see what happened to Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) at the end of Season 2. After being captured by Jeremiah Otto (Dayton Callie), he discovered she was really from America. Once he had that bit of information he cut her loose to basically die in the desert, refusing to take her back to the ranch because there weren’t many “brown people” there. (I’m assuming he had to say “brown people” because AMC wouldn’t allow him to use the more racist terms for Latinx.) After becoming so sunburned and dehydrated that she hallucinated her father (Ruben Blades) speaking to her, she laid down to die only to be discovered by Walker (Michael Greyeyes) while he was out on patrol. And that was how she ended up with his people.
RT: This whole set up is perfect. Already Madison has sided with the Ottos because they have the best set up. Ofelia’s backstory just proved, however, that they are not the best people. Or, Jeremiah, at least…
CF: They’ve done a good job of letting you know Jeremiah was an asshole. We now find out just how much of one.
Then we quickly break to the present, where Ofelia is making a break for one of the ranch trucks in the hope she can escape. That hope is short-lived as Madison (Kim Dickens) catches up to her, breaks out the driver side window, and drags Ofelia out of the pickup so she can start beating the shit out of her—I mean, find out what it is she did to make everyone sick. By beating the shit out of her.
RT: HAHA! Madison and her dumb ideas strike again. But, seriously, just when you feel sympathy for Ofelia, this happens and you remember what she did to everyone on Ottos compound.
CF: I loved how Madison was like, “What did you do? *Smack!* What did you do? *Smack*”. She was just losing her shit.
Are You Ready to Die?
At a field hospital where Nick (Frank Dillane) is being treated and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) is helping out, Madison tells Jake (Sam Underwood) that Ofelia put a powder in coffee the militia drink, but she claims she doesn’t know what the powder was. Jake needs to know what that powder was; Madison says she’s going to find out—
Which she does by making Ofelia drive back to the Black Hat reservation with a gun to her head. Once there Madison walks Ofelia in to where Walker is eating, gun still to her head, and Madison begins demanding to know what the hell it was that Walker gave her. Walker’s pretty much like, you know you’re going to die, and Madison’s like, fuck it, I don’t care if I do die: just know I’m going to take you with me before I go. This actually impresses Walker and he tells everybody to stand down. He also tells Madison that what he gave them was anthrax and unless the people at the ranch are strong, it’s going to kill them.
RT: So long as you’re strong. but not strong like the Otto redshirt strong, strong like Nick the ex-junkie… This was only only real gripe with this episode.
CF: I think with all the shit Nick’s had in his veins anthrax was like a mild sedative to him.
RT: Haha! So true 🙂
Madison returns with this news. Jake isn’t happy and tells Troy (Daniel Sharman) that he needs to get the militia ready. Troy doesn’t know what he’s going to use for militia, as most of his people are down with anthrax poisoning. Jake appears to be on the verge of losing his shit and starts shouting orders to get things done.
But He Got Better:
Maybe it’s due to all the other shit he’s had in his veins, but Nick recovers. He convinces Jake to uncuff him from the bed—everyone who was dying from anthrax was cuffed to their gurney in case they turned—and he asks about Jeremiah. Jake tells him not to worry about his dad, that all he’ll do is disappoint him.
Nick returns to his adobe shack and puzzles at the holes in the floor left by Jeremiah when he was on his drunken bender a few nights earlier. Knowing that addicts don’t always do shit for no reason, Nick pulls up the floorboards and begins digging. And after a while he strikes paydirt—
He shows up at Jeremiah’s a while later with a human skull with a bullet hole in it and wants to know what the fuck this is. Jeremiah’s pretty upfront about the fact that it’s Walker’s father, and he admits he killed him when he came around asking about what happened to his brothers, who Jeremiah also killed. Now we know the reason for the bad blood between Walker and Jeremiah, and when Walker talks about the land being soaked with Indian blood, he’s not shitting.
Madison realizes they’ve run out of options as they no longer seem to have any leverage with Walker. However, Alicia remember something that was shown to her in the prior episode: the bones of Walker’s grandfather that he removed from the property before they could be discovered. And Alicia happens to know they’re stored in a trailer…
So in the middle of the night Madison, Troy, and a few of his people head on over to Walker’s place and light up his teepees. This all happens while Ofelia is confessing to Walker that she now feels like a killer since he didn’t tell her what exactly it was she was doing. When they come running out to see what’s happened, Madison backs a truck up to the trailer that holds the bones of Walker’s grandfather and boogies the hell out of there with it, the idea being the trade the grandfather’s bones for little piece.
They’re chased back to the ranch and surrounded by Walker’s people. Madison now learns about the skull Nick found and what it represents, so she takes it out to Walker and says they’ll return all the bones if Walker will leave them alone. He’s not interested, and once Madison returns she tells everyone that they have until sundown the next day to leave the ranch or they’ll all be killed.
RT: I love how quickly shit gets real here. If it were The Walking Dead, we would still above another 8 episodes of this back and forth.
CF: That is so true. We would had Rick figuring shit out, then someone would have went on a run, then Rick would have thought the first plan sucked, then Michonne would have told him it sucked, then… In here, it’s only been about a week since they showed up at the ranch. And there’s no fucking around.
The Last Strand:
We finally catch up with Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) who is on his own looking for safe haven. And what does he find? The Abigail, washed up on a beach. He wades out to the boat and puts down the few zombies he finds a board. The Abigail is pretty well trashed out: windows are broken, fixtures are torn up, and the engines won’t turn over. But Victor finds one of his old dinner jackets, some cigars, and a bottle of champagne, and decides to have a party for one.
RT: Am I the only one gutted that Alex wasn’t here?
CF: I so want to see her again. Like now.
RT: Me too. And Tobias.
The next morning he hears a voice on the radio and it turns out to be a cosmonaut by the name of Vaschenko (David Agranov). Victor asked about what he seen, and Russian tells him that he seen the lights go out all around the world, that everything is dead. They exchange the last words of famous writers before Vaschenko relays the last words of Karl Marx: “Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.” He reminds Victor that as long as he is still alive the world has not ended, at least not completely.
RT: I seriously love that Strand spoke to a cosmonaut. It is an excellent — and different — way to get the word out that the whole world is infected.
CF: They had to do something to get Strand on the move. Otherwise he’d have stayed there forever.
With that in mind, Victor gathers up as much material and weapons as he can carry and sets the Abigail on fire, standing there with a pair of mirrored shades watching what used to be his world burned before leaving.
Time to Pull the Curtain Down:
Madison, Nick, and Alicia are in their bunkhouse talking. Nick let slip that he and Madison lied about what Troy did in order to preserve the peace at the ranch, and Alicia loses her shit on Madison, pretty much telling her she’s a horrible person. With that, Madison starts telling the story of the little girl in Montgomery, Alabama, who had a pretty mother and a politician father who appeared nice to the outside world but was really a raving asshole drunk in private. And how the mother and the little girl were hurt by the asshole raving drunk on a regular basis. And how the mother was scared out of her mind that things would escalate beyond being hurt one day, so it was that the little girl went into her asshole raving drunk father’s bedroom, removed the pistol he kept in a drawer, and blew daddy away because, well, he was a asshole raving drunk. And while Nick and Alicia look on in shock, that’s how we learn that Madison killed her father to protect her mother—and goddammit if she isn’t going to do the same thing now to protect her kids.
RT: Because Madison has always been badass AF.
CF: I was listening to that story thinking, “Holy fuck, she’s fucking hardcore.” And then we saw just how bad she was…
Madison shows up at Jeremiah’s place while he’s preparing for siege. Over a drink she tells him that she lied about not being able to cut a deal with Walker. She did cut one and all it involves is Jeremiah being dead. He wants to know if Madison’s going to kill him. She says, no, I’m not because I don’t want to disappoint my children anymore. So you’re going to kill yourself. He’s literally laughing in her face at this bullshit, and when Nick walks in he basically does the same to Nick—who whips out the pistol Jeremiah gave him and shoots the old asshole right in the head.
RT: Is it wrong how much I giggled in glee when Nick did this?
CF: The moment he walked in I figured he was gonna blow the old man away. Nick gets sick of bullshit real fast. You know Troy is next.
RT: *rubs hands together in glee*
While Madison sets the scene Nick fetches the boys and tells them their father killed himself. They wrap up the body and take it off to the barn where they said it in a makeshift casket. And later that night Madison goes into view the casket—and in the morning she walks out to meet Walker with a present: a backpack containing Jeremiah Otto’s head.
With this done it’s quite likely Madison has bought time for the ranch. And in doing so she’s basically set herself up as the ruler—one might say she’s the new Governor about these parts…
Personal Notes: Something I’ve done for every recap of Fear the Walking Dead is start off each one with a little quote that I felt sort of summed up what was happening in a particular episode. I had a particular feeling about this season which sort of played out at the very end: that of Madison doing anything necessary to protect her children, even if it meant rising to the top of the pecking order and taking control of the ranch that became their new home. So every quote in each of the eight recaps I’ve done for Season 3 have been quotes from The Governor, who pretty much did the same damn thing in The Walking Dead—though he was a bit more psychotic about his control. But given the changes we’ve seen happen to Madison in the first half of the season, can one say she’s not slipping a few gears in the process of bringing her children a little security and comfort?
RT: Holy shit Cassidy! I can’t believe I missed those quotes. What an epic idea 😀
CF: I do my best. 🙂
That’s it for this part of Season 3. Fear the Walking Dead returns to AMC on 10 September, 2017, and I will be here to recap the episodes in all my snarking glory.
See you in September!
As always, let us know what you thought by leaving your comments below!
Season 2 of Fear the Walking Dead is currently available on DVD.
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Madison Clark — Kim Dickens
Alicia Clark — Alycia Debnam-Carey
Nick Clark — Frank Dillane
Troy Otto — Daniel Sharman
Jake Otto — Sam Underwood
Jeremiah Otto — Dayton Callie
Qaletqa Walker — Michael Greyeyes
Victor Strand — Colman Domingo
Cosmonaut Vaschenko — David Agranov
Ofelia Salazar — Mercedes Mason
Daniel Salazar— Ruben Blades
Fear the Walking Dead airs in the US on AMC at 9 PM EDT.