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‘Fear the Walking Dead’: “El Matadero” [Recap]

“You spend your whole life lying to your kids because you think you can protect them. Somehow, someway, they know. They know who you are, they know what you did. They know you…It’s in the blood.” ~Madison Clark

Translated into English, “El Matadero” means slaughterhouse. It is also the title of this week’s episode of AMC Fear the Walking Dead. After Alycia Debnam-Carey’s brilliant performance in last week’s episode, we see her go off on her own and find out if she can handle taking care of herself. We find out that old habits are very hard to break, a long-awaited reunion and a tragic loss.

***WARNING***SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT***

So let’s get into Episode 14 of Season 3 “El Matadero”

We start out with Madison, Victor, Taqa, Lee and Ofelia all heading towards the trading post in hopes of still being able to keep the deal they have with Daniel and Lola. Since the ranch has been wiped out, they intend to offer what they do have and see if Lola’s offer for them to stay and work at the dam still stands. Victor questions Madison on whether Daniel will agree and she responds that they have Ofelia so she is pretty confident. While riding on the back if the truck, Lee notices Ofelia weak and on the verge of fainting. She falls forward, off the truck and onto the highway. Lee signals for Taqa to stop the truck and they all get off to check on Ofelia. She states that she is fine but there is an obvious bite mark on the left shoulder. Knowing what this means, she begs Madison to take her to her father and Madison promises.

NOOOOOOOO…NOT OFELIA! WE JUST FOUND HER!

In what looks to be a warehouse, Alicia is eating and staying warm by a fire she has made. A vehicle is heard approaching and she puts out the fire and grabs her gun to check out who it is. Without seeing their faces she lets off a warning shot and yells for whoever it is to leave. It’s Nick and Troy. Nick tries to convince her that there is safety in numbers and she doesn’t know what she is getting into. She reminds him that he did pretty good on his own. She tells him that he sounds like Madison is the one who is talking and not him. That just trying to survive is killing her. She tells Nick that he doesn’t owe her or their mother anything and to stop trying to atone for his mistakes.

The next morning, Nick gives her a chance to change her mind and go back with him and Troy but she chooses not to. She reassures him that she knows where they will be and if she should need to, she will find them. Nick tells her that he would prefer her not to die and she jokingly promises that she won’t as they hug each other goodbye. Nick hands her a map and gets into the truck where Troy is waiting and they drive off. She smiles, happy to finally be alone.

Troy asks why his family hated him so much to which Nick responds that it really isn’t his business. He tells Troy that Alicia was wrong about the reason he decided to stay at the ranch. He tells him that he stayed because Travis was dead, Luciana was sick and Madison was falling apart. Troy tells him that it is Bull****! Nick asks then why did he stay in Troy’s opinion. Troy answers because Nick loved him so much. Nick gives him a smirk and Troy continues that they are more alike than Nick would like to admit. They both came from violence within the family and both were black sheeps. They make it to the trading post.

Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC

Making it to the trading post, they try their best to cover up that Ofelia is bitten. Victor tells Madison that if they find out that she is sick, they will kill her right on the spot. Madison argues that since they are early for the drop of, they need to do whatever they can to help Ofelia which means getting her meds and a bed to rest. Madison tells Ofelia to “smile” because her life depends on it. Trading half of their gun supply for entry into the bazaar, one of the guards notices something off with Ofelia but doesn’t say anything. They secure a place for her to rest. She is burning up with fever and Madison goes to find meds to make he comfortable. Victor stops her and tells her that what she is doing is wasting their time and resources. She already gave half of their guns and to think about what moves to make next. To him, it seems like a huge price to pay for what he considers a kiss goodbye. Her promise won’t mean a thing if Ofelia dies before Daniel gets there. Madison informs him that she made a promise to take Ofelia to her father and she will not back down from that promise. They have no moves left to make, no guns, no home, all they have now to rely on is the kindness of strangers. Knowing who Daniel can be, Victor reminds Madison not to expect him to honor the deal if they present him with empty hands and a dead daughter.

“Our better angels are all dead, and so is Ofelia” ~ Victor Strand

Madison brings pain meds and electrolyte water for Ofelia who is barely holding on. She tells Taqa that neither she nor Daniel deserves this but she just wanted to give her peace before dying but maybe Strand is correct in believing that Daniel will kill them all. Taqa tells her that he has just lost everything he’s known. His friends, home, and the bones of his forefathers. He goes on to tell her that he was raised on loss and sometimes it can be too much. He reassures her that her bringing Ofelia to her father is right. Ofelia needs to see her father before she dies and returning her to Daniel for him to bury is all she can do at this point, even if it means that Daniel will kill them all.

Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC

Stopping for a quick bite to eat, no not really but while driving around, Alicia scavenges for food at a fast food restaurant. She comes across a bucket of instant potatoes and is about to take it back to her truck when she is attacked by an infected. She puts it down but notices that more are close by and on their way inside. She grabs her rifle and hides in the play area ball pit. The infected walk in but as she is hiding she doesn’t notice movement behind her and that something is in the pit with her. It suddenly drags her under and we see what looks to be an infected child. They struggle but Alicia puts it down as well. Not being able to relocate her rifle, she hides underneath the balls in the pit but looks through the net barrier. In walks in a female survivor named Diana who puts down all the infected inside the restaurant. Alicia stays silent but witnesses her take a gold ring and a tooth off the infected bodies. As she leaves, she notices the bucket that Alicia left on the counter and grabs it. She walks out and drives off. Alicia is disappointed that she did not stop her from taking the food she found.

Nick wakes up a sleeping Madison who was left to look after Ofelia. Startled, she jumps up but Nick tells her not to worry and she is still sleeping. Madison asks for Alicia and he tells her that they found her but that she seemed really happy to be on her own and that if she needed to find them, she would. She asks about Troy. Madison turns away from Nick and she begins to cry. He consoles her and tells her that it will be okay, to go get some air and he will look after Ofelia for a while. He sits and watches her sleep. He glances at the bag of pain meds next to her, hesitates for a moment while contemplating then picks up the bag. He holds up ONE tablet and stares at it then puts it in his mouth and swallows it.

Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC

On the search for her potatoes…you just don’t mess with a girl’s potatoes…she finds Diana’s car in the parking lot of a strip mall. She walks past an infected with its fingers cut off much like the way Diana cut off the finger of the infected at the restaurant to take its gold ring. She looks through the car and sees her bucket. Before she is able to take it, Diana calls out to her, warning her to stop. Alicia informs her that the potatoes belong to her. Diana challenges her. Alicia tells her that she will just take her potatoes and be on her way but Diana refuses. Not wanting to kill another person, she threatens to shoot the gas tank. Diana challenges her more by asking what she intends to do after she blows up the car. Alicia decides to lower her rifle and bargains to share the food because she is really tired and hungry and isn’t in the mood to kill her.

Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC

Troy is waiting to eat and is brought his plate he ordered. He asks what it is made of and the waitress replies that “antojitos zombie” which translates into “zombie snacks” or “zombie appetizers.” Nick joins him and asks for 2 shots of tequila. Troy tells him that he doesn’t drink and Nick tells him that he has a head start on him and he has to catch up. He places a few of the pain tablets he took from Ofelia on the table. The waitress brings the shots and Nick asks where he can find uppers. She tells him that he is looking for “El Matadero” and he needs to ask for “el matarife” or butcher. Nick thanks her while Troy tells him that it’s not a good idea. Nick reminds Troy he saved his life and that Troy owes him. Nick takes another pill with a shot and orders Troy to drink his milk. Troy reluctantly takes one too to appease Nick.

Some things never change.

Victor walks through the corridors of the bazaar looking through the various rooms. He comes to a locked gate and tries to open it but is stopped by the guards that were going to kill him in the earlier episodes. He tells them he needs to speak to Proctor John but they refuse. He tells them he has something that he may want and he will want to hear about it.

Oh Victor, what are you up to now? Just when we want to think you’re good, you always seem to do something shady!

Madison wakes up a very weak Ofelia and tells her it is time to see Daniel. She and Taqa help Ofelia up and Madison tells him that she will take her alone. Taqa insists on going too but Madison tells him that she is unsure of how Daniel will react if Taqa is there too. Ofelia tells him that it is okay and they embrace. Madison helps Ofelia through the parking lot of the trading post and they stop to wait for Daniel to arrive. Ofelia asks Madison that if she turns, she needs to be the one to put her down, not her father. She also asks her to tell Daniel that she was looking forward to getting to know him. Madison tells her that as a parent, you spend your whole life lying to your kids to try to protect them but they see right through the lies and know exactly who their parents are. She tells Ofelia that she knew Daniel and Ofelia thanks her.

Ofelia rests her head on Madison’s shoulder while the water truck approaches. Madison tries to wake Ofelia up but it’s too late. UGH, really? By only seconds!? Instead of putting her down like she asked, Madison walks towards Daniel who is walking towards her, asking for his daughter. She tries to stop him to explain but he ignores her and walks past her to Ofelia who is dead but leaning up against a pole. He calls to Ofelia who doesn’t answer. Realizing that she is dead he takes her into his arms and holds her. He angrily turns to Madison and asks if it is a sick joke and what happened. She explains that the ranch was overrun and she was bitten but she saved those who survived. He mumbles to himself that this is a price that he is paying. Madison tries to talk to him but he tells her to leave them alone before he kills her. She walks away as we see a silhouette of Daniel lifting his gun to Ofelia’s head and shoots.

A very inebriated Nick and Troy walk through the stadium seats. Asking for “The Butcher.” Nick is directed inside. Entering “El Matadero” which happens to be a makeshift bar, Nick is welcomed by “el matarife.” Nick is offered a tray with his choice of morphine, cocaine, heroin or codeine. Nick tells him he wants to go “up” not “down.” Troy is still trying to discourage him but Nick ignores him. El matarife asks if he really wants to go up and Nick agrees. Two shot glasses are placed in front of them and el matarife brings out a jar containing locus coeruleus. Troy asks what that is and el matarife explains that it is the nucleus of the brainstem, pure adrenaline. Nick asks how much and he tells him that it is free. Nick responds, “nada es gratis” or “nothing is free.” Nick takes his shot and Troy looks around, hesitates but takes his shot as well.

After consuming the brainstems, Nick and Troy are at the gates of the post. High on adrenaline, Nick climbs over the fence and Troy follows. Nick tells him not to fight it but Troy is very paranoid because he’s not used to feeling this way. They spot a group of infected and Nick says he wants to try something. He kills one lone infected and smears its blood all over himself and Troy’s face telling him to lay it on thick. Nick runs towards the infected and stops as they get close. Unsure of what he is doing, Troy calls to Nick. Nick begins to slowly walk through the group of infected and Troy follows seeing that they are undetected because of the blood. Nick begins to talk to them, telling them that he can’t go back with her, meaning Madison. Troy tries to calm him down and holds him so they won’t call attention to themselves.

Alicia and Diana are sitting by a fire sharing their potatoes. Alicia asks what she does with the teeth and Diana answers that she can trade it at the trading post. Diana asks Alicia where she is headed and Alicia tells her that she has got a tip on a place in the low desert with water and game. She tells Alicia that there is practically nothing left but Alicia responds that she’ll find a way or she’ll die. Diana tells her that when they are done, she’ll get her stuff and leave and Alicia agrees. She also tells Alicia that the problem isn’t killing but the friends. A woman can grow accustomed to killing if she puts her mind to it.

UGH…why is she telling this girl all this information? Hasn’t she learned a thing?

In the morning Alicia awakes to find Diana gone. She finds her outside trying to fix her car. Alicia asks where she’s headed and Diana tells her “some more killing” because she can’t leave in her car and the teeth aren’t going to pull themselves.  A group of infected are nearing and Alicia asks if she needs help putting them down. Diana reminds her that they agreed “no friends” so Alicia responds to her that it’s “just killing then.”

Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC

Back at the post, while Madison is gathering her things, she notices that some of the pain meds are missing. She knows that Nick took them. Daniel walks in. He tells her that he had been walking around all night carrying Ofelia. He found an olive tree and buried her underneath it. She tells him that Ofelia saved Alicia but that Alicia left to be on her own. He asks if Ofelia said anything before she died. Madison tells him that she said that she loved him. She pauses and tells him that she was looking forward to getting to know him but that she already did. He tells Madison that Ofelia never knew the man that brought her to the states. She had seen him once but she was scared of him. He tells her to get her things because the post is not a place for her. She asks if she could bring the others and he nods in agreement.

Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC

While loading the trucks, Nick and Troy approach. Madison tells Nick that they are heading back to the dam. Nick tells her that he and Troy are going to stay behind a few days to secure better relationships in case they need to trade later and obtain more provisions for the dam. Knowing that Nick is up to his old tricks and will never change, she tells him to do what he needs to and he knows where to find them. She can’t protect him anymore. Nick walks away. Madison looks at Troy who can’t give her eye contact, then she walks away. Victor asks if she’s ready, she replies yes, asks if he is and he replies, “always.”

We are so sad to see Mercedes Mason leave the show. It is so sad that Ofelia and Daniel didn’t get a chance to see each other before she died. Mercedes and her husband are getting ready to welcome their first child so we are sure she is very excited about that.

Not really sure if they were callbacks to The Walking Dead or not but Ofelia is bitten on her left shoulder/neck area. Exactly where Sophia was bitten. Strand also tells Madison that their better angels are all dead. “Better Angels” is the title of the twelfth episode of season two where Shane kills Randall and lures Rick out to the woods to kill him but Rick has to kill him instead. Or it can all be just a coincidence.

So are you all ready for next week’s season finale? What do you think will happen? Did you see the callbacks to The Walking Dead that we saw? How do you think Alicia will handle having Diana around when she wanted to be alone in the first place? What is Strand up to?

The two hour season 3 finale of Fear the Walking Dead airs next Sunday at 9 pm. The 100th episode and Season 8 premiere of The Walking Dead air October 22, 2017, at 9 pm on AMC.

 

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Kimberly Lujan

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Librarian by day, Nerd girl by night, WSC/FanFest Ambassador. Enjoys movies and television. Loves to attend SDCC every year and any WSC that she is able to. Loves to meet fellow ambassadors and anyone belonging to TWDFamily. If you ever see her around…SAY HI!