After the last episode and the amazing performance by Ruben Blades, we couldn’t wait to see what the next episode had in store for us and our group of survivors. Season 3 of AMC Fear the Walking Dead seems to just keep getting better and better, especially with the departure of not-so-needed characters, new character introductions and tension building storylines.
The whole episode itself, title included, is based on contradiction. From the fact that Madison knowingly has to put herself in danger in order to prove to Nick and Alicia that she will be safe to the whole art is important during the apocalypse that Jake tries to lay on Alicia (no pun intended) after they hook up. So, with that being said, let’s get to Sunday night’s episode:
Episode 5: Burning in the Water, Drowning in the Flames
The episode opens with Russell Brown, one of the four founding fathers of Broke Jaw Ranch, waking to find his wife Martha stumbling around in the dark. Lighting a kerosene lantern, he asks what she is doing. As she turns toward him and he realizes that she is now one of the infected having died in her sleep. He calls to her, “my love”, to embrace her. Holding her, they dance one last time. He reaches for his pistol, points it at his own head and pulls the trigger, killing them both, Well, killing him and her…again.
The ranch wakes to Russell’s house on fire. The people of the ranch, including Nick, Jake, and Troy, try their best to put out the flames. Jeremiah yells out to stop, let the house burn, and save the water.
The next morning, Madison gears up to go off with Troy and his group to check the outpost where another group had gone but have not returned or responded. She convinces Nick and Alicia that she needs to go because the more they understand the Ottos, the safer they will be.
Alicia feels remorse after snapping at Jake while trying to grab a cup of coffee. She realizes that Russell was an important member of the ranch and to Jake. She later heads up to his apartment in the main house and tries to apologize by making small talk. Jake asks if she needs something. She tells him how things are never going to be normal again, she kisses him and they hook up. After, Jake gives her a book, Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame by Charles Bukowski, which she politely refuses. She sees no point to art and poetry. Later, Jake takes Alicia to the lake. He argues that amidst all the chaos that is around them, there has to be hope. Something more than just guns and fighting. That’s why it is still important to have art and poetry.
Nick brings Luciana breakfast and they talk about the couple that died. Luciana describes it as “sad, but beautiful.” She tells Nick that it is time for them to go. He points to her wound and tells her she isn’t ready. She argues that he doesn’t want to leave because he is afraid of leaving his family behind. She tells him that she knows people in a town and he tells her that they are probably gone by now. She tells him she cannot live there and he promises that he will leave with her by saying, “Si, prometo.”
Daniel decides to take Strand up on his offer to take him back to the hotel in search of Ofelia. We all know that Strand is lying and that Ofelia left a long time ago. The ‘Bickersons’ wait for a group of infected to pass. Daniel wants to drive through them and Strand doesn’t want to damage his precious gift. *eyes roll* Victor tries to make Daniel feel guilty for leaving Lola behind at the dam. Strand reminds Daniel that it is an apocalypse and that Ofelia might not even be there anymore. Daniel says that he will ask Madison and Alicia where Ofelia went if that is true. Knowing that Victor is playing him, he can’t pass up a chance of finding his daughter. Holding the gun, Daniel orders him to drive through the infected.
Troy, Madison, and the group come across an overturned Department of Corrections transport bus with infected inmates and officers. They put the infected down. Madison impresses the group with her skills and ability to handle herself. Arriving at the crash site, they find that the wreckage has been removed and bullet casings are scattered everywhere. They piece together that the first group fought off hostiles and retreated back to the outpost. They leave with the intent to find out who killed Charlene…and Travis, as Madison calls out before heading out.
Nick decides to clean up Russell’s burned down home for himself and Luciana. Jeremiah finds him and tells him the history of the house. When he remarried, he built the bigger house and Russell and his wife moved in. Jeremiah finds the gun that he gave Russell, which he used to shoot himself and Martha, and admires it. Nick tells him that a gun being beautiful is a contradiction. They challenge each other regarding Troy and what he believes. telling Nick that Troy is trying to understand himself, he asks if he knows who he is. Nick responds no, but he knows he’s not that, glancing at the gun. Comparing himself to Nick, he tells him that he should know how it feels to struggle with demons. Nick uneasily agrees.
Stopping so Daniel can relieve himself, Strand asks how he survived the fire. Simply stating that God spared him, he also says that he has no place in Heaven and that he is destined to suffer in purgatory. Questioning his motives for leaving the hotel, Daniel takes a jab at him thinking only about himself.Strand tries to convince Daniel that he is a changed man. Threatening Strand, Daniel warns him of what would happen is he was still the same person. A fed up Strand throws his hands up and tells Daniel that if he wants to kill him, go ahead. Daniel simply gives him a look and they leave.
While taking a break from cleaning the adobe house, Nick and Jeremiah talk about making the house his own. Nick glances at Luciana standing in the distance. Jeremiah assures him that she is okay. Nick lets Jeremiah know that she believes that the people at the ranch are more dangerous than the infected. Jeremiah tells him, then Luciana should go. A confused Nick asks if they are all on the same side. The living against the dead? Jeremiah tells him that if it were true, yes, but when people are faced with a crisis, they regress to what that know and are familiar with. Nick assumes that he means that she should go because Luciana is Mexican and Jeremiah responds that she should go because she can’t let go of what has happened and move on. He confesses to Nick that when Troy was very young, he had crying fits and his mother locked him in the basement. Troy was forgotten until the next day and that even that didn’t stop him from drinking. He reminds Nick of the obvious by asking, “Your momma wants to stay, but your lady wants to go. What do you want…what do you want?” Nick asks him what finally made him quit drinking. He confesses to shooting deer and almost shooting his d*ck off. They both laugh.
The group arrives at what seems like an abandoned outpost. Blood is seen in the walls and vehicles. They discover the burned bodies of their men. Off in the distance, they find Phil McCarthy, another founding father, sitting in a chair. As they approach, he is reciting Antigonish, a poem by William Hughes Mearns. Suffering from an obvious injury to the back of his head, they realize that a crow is picking and eating at Phil’s brain. Madison takes Troy’s knife and puts Phil down. She tells them they have to leave but are interrupted by Walker. Walker has a history with the ranch clan. Walker tells Troy that he and McCarthy go way back before he was even born. Phil killed two of Walker’s men the day prior. Troy threatens Walker to which he responds to lower his voice and put down their weapons. Madison tries to warn Troy, who snaps at her to shut up. Walker tells Troy that they are surrounded and that his group is taking their guns, vehicles, supplies, and shoes. Madison tells Troy to give the order. Troy tells the group to disarm.
Walker wants the return of what they believe to be their land. Troy tells him that it will never happen. Walker warns him that if they don’t then they will feed everyone to the crows. Madison demands water if Walker wants his message to be delivered. Walker asks her name and she tells him. He informs her that she has invested in a lost cause and she replies that it became her cause when they shot down the helicopter killing Travis.
Daniel and Strand finally arrive at the hotel which looks to be abandoned. No gate, no guard. Daniel walks in while hearing snarls of infected in the distance. Daniel knows that Strand had lied the whole time and forces him to tell the truth by drawing the infected to them. As the infected get closer, Daniel asks about Ofelia and Strand tells him that Ofelia left awhile back but doesn’t know where she is. Daniel leaves Strand behind unarmed and drives off. Strand runs off to escape the infected.
Nick surprises Luciana with a candlelight dinner in the adobe house. He tells her the Brown’s story. She asks where he heard the story from and he tells her from Otto. She realizes that he has already chosen to stay and when he asks her what’s wrong, she tells him nothing and kisses him.
Troy, Madison, and the group continue their way back to the ranch, although their feet are shredded from walking the terrain without shoes. Madison suggests that they need to rest to which Troy refuses. Troy tells her that she’s overstepping her boundaries. She takes control of the situation by going for the gut and reminding him how his mother never loved him despite his caring for her. She makes the decision to rest for the night, the men agree with her. While trying to sleep, Madison awakes to Troy holding his knife to her neck. She pleads with him that he is better than what he is about to do and he releases her and runs off.
Waking up the next morning, Nick realizes that Luciana has left, leaving behind a note.
Dragging their wounded feet, the group start their way back to the ranch.
Looking for “shards of light”, as suggested by Jake, Alicia jumps into the lake and relishes in the moment.
As a gesture of officially accepting Nick as a member of the ranch, Jeremiah gifts him the same gun that he gifted to Russell.
Another great episode. With an obvious war about to ensue, we are in for one helluva ride. Every week we get answers but then are left with a whole new set of questions. from the looks of the preview for next week’s episode, we can expect the group to make it back and what seems like the ranch getting ready for a battle.
Fear the Walking Dead airs every Sunday night at 9 pm on AMC.
What did you think of Sunday night’s episode? Do you feel that Fear the Walking Dead has improved?
Shannon Toohey is Editor-In-Chief of FanFest.com. She graduated from Hofstra University in 2015 with a B.A. in Journalism from the Lawrence Herbert School of Communications. Shannon has been a proud member of the Fan Fest team since 2013. Tweet her in your prettiest bird voice: @shannontoo