So far, Season 3 has introduced us to new locations and new characters, and this episode continues to focus on that. The episode title is an acronym that means ‘the end of the world as we know it,’ which is what the Otto family called the potential ‘end of the world’ before the apocalypse actually happened. The Ottos were survivalists who have been preparing for the apocalypse for many years, which we learn through a video of the family at the beginning of the episode. Since this is something we’ve yet to see in The Walking Dead universe, it makes it much more interesting than the farm reboot in Season 2.
This episode also gives us a better look into Troy’s psyche. While he continues to act creepy towards Madison, it may be in a more mother-son way than originally suspected. Jeremiah tells Madison that Troy’s mother was an alcoholic and ended up passing away, and that has clearly left a hole in Troy’s life. We also learn that he never attended high school due to his anti-social tendencies. While it’s more likely that Madison will continue to manipulate Troy than actually give him the kindness he needs, it’s an interesting dynamic to be explored.
The tension between Troy and Nick escalates, causing them to have a confrontation when they’re finally alone. Troy taunts Nick to shoot him, and while Nick doesn’t do it, he does end up laughing about it. The scene ends with a ‘truce’ of sorts, but with Troy’s instability, we know that won’t last. Madison also isn’t happy with Nick, and there’s a moment where she blames him for Travis’ death. This creates an imbalance in the Madison/Nick dynamic, where Madison finally sees the dangers of continuously chasing after her son. Things are only going to escalate on the Madison/Troy/Nick front, and it won’t be a surprise if one of the boys end up dead because of it.
Alicia gets a chance to interact with the locals her age at “bible study” – which loosely translates to her getting drunk and high while talking to the head of a zombie kept in a cage. It’s weird, to say the least. However, we do see that the locals have an interest in Alicia’s experiences out in the world. Although they’re equipped with survival skills, they probably won’t be much use come an invasion of some kind. We know that Alicia is too smart to get too comfortable in this kind of environment, so hopefully she stays on her toes.
Strand also manages to get himself in some trouble. Upon leaving the hotel and visiting his old friend Dante, he gets himself locked up. However, the biggest surprise of the episode comes right at the very end. Someone arrives to give Strand some water, before we hear a very familiar voice. It’s none other than Daniel Salazar! In this universe, you know when you don’t see a dead body, there’s a good chance they’ll be back. Judging by the promo for next episode, we’ll learn more about what Daniel has been up to.
The episode feels like a slow filler after an action-packed start to the season, but it does provide us with more information about the mysterious Otto clan. However, the same question has been clear since the end of last season: Where is Ofelia? Her absence is beginning to detract from the show, not add to it. She has been criminally underused since her introduction in Season 1, and there is a lot of untapped potential there.
The man who stopped Ofelia at the border last season was, in fact, Jeremiah Otto. So where is she now? She could be a prisoner at the ranch, which would be interesting. She could also be a part of the group that shot the helicopter down, which the ranch residents are now hunting for revenge. Either way, I’m hoping a Daniel-centric episode next week will provide us with some answers.
THE REEL SCORE: 7/10