The mid-season premiere of Fear the Walking Dead‘s third season is another two-parter, and it doesn’t quite pick up where the last episode left off. We open on Madison sleeping in the bed of the big house, which is where Jeremiah once lived. We also see Nick dressed in army gear, walking around what we can assume to be Troy’s new militia group. Another notable change is that Walker’s group has now moved on to their land, and it has already put everyone on edge. Also, the rumour has spread that Jeremiah took his own life for the good of the group, despite the fact that Nick killed him.
It’s clear that there’s a major power struggle happening both within and outside the group. It seems that everyone, from Walker to Jake to Madison, wants power in some form or another, and it’s not just them either. Alicia, Nick and Ofelia are making their own power plays relevant to their interests. It’s an interesting thing to see here, because in The Walking Dead we’re so used to seeing everyone fall in line behind Rick as the leader. To be three seasons in and still not have a definitive leader of the group keeps things entertaining, and further separates it from the other show.
Tension rises early on for the group, when a ranch resident named Terrance is openly disgusted about Walker’s people moving on to their land. He shoots one of them, only to have his trachea crushed by another. This leads Walker to be in control of all the weapons, but Troy decides he doesn’t like that very much. He hosts a stand-off in his own house and kills a number of Walker’s men, only to finally be calmed down when Nick drops the bomb that he killed Jeremiah. It was definitely a surprise; I thought that secret would last the rest of the season. It leads to Troy being banished from the ranch, but not before trying to kill Madison first.
While Madison is rummaging around in Jeremiah’s things, she finds documents that say the ranch only has about four months’ worth of water left. The 3B trailer showed that the rest of this season will deal heavily with the water supply, and there’s no doubt it will turn deadly. Also, this opens up an opportunity for Daniel (who is currently at the dam) to reunite with the rest of the group and, most importantly, his daughter Ofelia. We do get to check in with Daniel at the dam. After Dante’s death, Lola is now the leader, and they have their own problems with angry outsiders and walkers getting inside.
Speaking of leaders, Alicia is continuing her streak of outmanoeuvring her mother. Seeing Alicia come into her own further makes up for the fact that half her storyline now revolves around Jake, who is probably the blandest part of this season. Alicia is mostly in the background this episode, but it’s clear she’s slyly moving her own pieces into place, especially when talking with Walker.
There’s a nice scene between Nick and Ofelia too (after she almost killed him with anthrax in 3A). Since their dynamic ended so abruptly when Nick went wandering off in Season 2, I was curious to see how it would pick back up again. With Luciana gone, I’m wondering if they’ll become close again, especially with Ofelia saying “We’re not so different, you and I”.
While the first half of the episode is slow, the latter part definitely heats things up. This allows for the episode to move smoothly into the second one of the night. I’m most excited to see how characters like Ofelia, Daniel and maybe even Strand will connect with the main group after changing so much. There’s also no doubt that we’re hurtling towards an explosive conclusion between Walker’s people and the ranch residents.
THE REEL SCORE: 7/10