With the mid-season finale fast approaching next week, tensions are rising at the Broke Jaw Ranch for Madison, her family, and the community. With danger not only from outsiders, the people of the ranch may have to be cautious of those within the ranch that are becoming a bit unhinged.
Red Dirt (Season 3, Episode 6)
The episode opens with Jeremiah Otto (Dayton Callie) giving Nick (Frank Dillane) a shooting lesson. Nick, worried about Madison tries his best to remain focused.
Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) lies in bed with Jake but is restless. Stating the obvious, that the group should have returned already, Jake (Sam Underwood) makes an effort to calm her, trying to convince her that Troy can be trusted and wouldn’t hurt Madison.
Nick and Jeremiah notice the group limping on the road walking towards the gates. Their feet are raw and bloodied from the long trek without boots. The community runs out the greet them. Madison (Kim Dickens) collapses in Nick’s arms, dehydrated and in pain. Troy is asked by his father what has happened to which he asks to speak in private. Vernon, the third founding father, demands to know everything that has happened. He feels the community has the right to know. Jeremiah agrees with Troy but Mike, Vernon’s son, decides to take it upon himself to tell everyone.
He tells them that Walker’s tribe killed all their men and if they don’t give up the ranch, Walker and his men will come and take it by force. He succeeds in scaring everyone by saying, “If we stay, we die!” Troy tries his best to defuse the situation, with no luck.
Madison, Jake, and Troy join Jeremiah in his office to discuss their next step and what happened. Troy wants to retaliate while Jake wants to negotiate and talk to Walker. Jeremiah is easy to blame Troy but Madison comes to his defense. Madison questions whether the land was stolen and Jeremiah tells her that it was sold to him. Jake tells her that he had fought Walker in court for this land several times and has won. Jeremiah goes on the tell Madison that Walker’s group is no match for them. Madison disagrees based on what she saw the previous day. Per his father’s orders, Jake is to address and reassure the community.
Nick and Alicia tend to Madison’s injuries. She notices Luciana’s empty bed and Nick explains that the went to meet with people she knew in Mexicali. Madison tells Nick that she’s sorry that Luciana left and Nick shrugs it off replying that she is strong. Madison tells Nick that he is too.
Later, Madison is visited by Gretchen and the two talk. Gretchen explains how her father, Vernon, is scared that the ranch is no longer safe. He is telling anyone that will listen, that there is a colony in Colorado and he wants to leave.
Alicia joins Jake at the shooting range. She gives him her condolences, he says that he didn’t really know any of them and that McCarthy wasn’t a good man anyway. He tells her that his father is feeling the pressure of being one of the only founding fathers left and that it comes with the territory. She asks him to teach her how to shoot while she tries to convince him that he should run the ranch if something should happen to his father.
Before Jeremiah can get reacquainted with an old friend, the community is alerted to several spot fires set along the perimeter of the ranch by Walker’s group. The next morning they notice that the fires were not set to burn them out but were set as a warning, a scare tactic. Jeremiah believes that if Walker had the power to attack, he would have already. As he walks away, Madison informs him that the people in the community are scared.
Nick heads down to the pantry as members of the community are packing supplies to leave. Troy asks him about Luciana and Nick, wanting a reason to kick the crap out of him, asks Troy to say her name one more time. Before Troy can respond, he confronts a couple of members who are taking more than what they should, in his opinion. Troy lets them go after they state that they cleared it with his father.
At breakfast, Vernon tells Jeremiah that he is leaving because he needs to protect his family. Troy asks if Mike was leaving too and Vernon tells him yes. Vernon walks off and Madison is left trying to convince Jeremiah to not let people leave. The more people they lose, the weaker they will become. Troy runs after them, stopping them at the gates, demanding Mike look at him, be a man and tell him why he’s running. Jake tells Troy to let them leave and Troy refuses, saying that they are not taking the gas and supplies from the ranch. The brothers fight causing Jeremiah to step in, hitting Troy. The gate is opened for the Trimbols to leave as Alicia waves goodbye to Gretchen.
Down in the pantry, Madison finds Troy securing the guns in the armory. Assuming that he went down there to find something to kill his father with, he tells her that he would never do that. The community is the only this that he knows and has now that the world is “burned.” To him, “anyone that leaves is dead” to him. He goes on the tell her that he and Mike had been friends ever since they were boys and that he never quit on him even when others did. Madison tries to convince Troy that Mike didn’t quit on him, he just chose to leave with his family. Troy doesn’t understand why Mike didn’t care enough to even look at him in the eye and explain why he was leaving. Madison sees an opportunity to control him more by telling him that he needs to stop more people from leaving and agreeing to help him. The militia enters and he rallies them to be what the community needs. To make them feel safe again.
That night, Nick finds Jeremiah in his house moving a table and intoxicated. Jeremiah babbles on about that particular spot being sacred because it is where he, Russell, McCarthy, and Vernon first discussed the concept of the community. He tells Nick that 2 of them are dead and 1 is dead to him. Nick tries his best to calm him telling him he can crash there for the night. Jeremiah flips the table in anger and Nick goes to pick it up. Nick sees him pick up his gun and point, at first thinking that he is pointing it at him but instead, Jeremiah shoots the floor boards 3 times. One bullet for each of the founding fathers that have been lost. He apologizes to Nick and passes out on the bed.
Alicia tries her best to sneak into their room without waking Madison. Madison startles her be asking if she was at bible study. Alicia admits she was with Jake. They have the awkward mother/daughter birth control talk. Alicia denies falling in love with Jake but does say she likes him, to which her mother warns that love creeps up on you.
The next morning Otto wakes up in Nick’s house and tries to apologize for his behavior. Nick cuts him off, letting him know that there is no need for apologies because he was at his mother’s room all night and he has no clue what Jeremiah is talking about. Understanding what Nick means, Jeremiah leaves the subject alone but notices Vernon’s horse in the pasture behind Nick’s house. He sends Nick to get Madison.
Her Nick and Otto take off in search of the Trimbols. Madison is trying to make sense of it all and Jeremiah tells her that he is sure that they are dead, but how and by whom is the question. They soon come across Vernon’s RV riddled with bullet holes. From outside they can hear the snarls of infected inside. Jeremiah enters and soon shoots off 2 rounds, he exits the RV and confirms it was Vernon and his wife. They walk around to the back and find Mike dead. Hearing more snarls and what sounds like a horse in pain, they find 3 infected feeding on it. One by one, they shoot the infected, realizing that the last infected was Gretchen. Madison hesitates shooting her. Nick puts her down.
After packing the bodies in the back of the truck, Nick tells Madison the Jeremiah believes that Troy killed them. Madison denies it. Nick makes a good argument saying that if it were Walker’s group and they took all of their guns and supplies before, why would they leave all the supplies behind this time. She tells Otto that he can’t be sure that it was Troy. He admits that he has no clue what to do.
Alicia finds Jake packing to got to try and negotiate with Walker. She pleads with him not to leave to go on a suicide mission but he leaves anyway. After her mother, brother and Jeremiah return with Vernon and his family, she leaves to go after Jake fearing that he will meet that same fate.
Arriving back at the ranch, Madison decides to show the people of the community what happened to Vernon and his family as Troy looks on nervously. She realizes that if she tells the truth, they would leave in fear of Troy so instead she lies and covers up what Troy did by placing blame on Walker’s group. She tells them that all Walker wants to do if make them scared enough to want to leave then pick them off one by one. She tells them that if they leave, they will die. They need to stand and stay together as one force and fight for the ranch. Nick looks at his mother in disbelief.
People begin to return the items that they had packed they day before. Nick tells Madison that what she did was impressive. She states it was necessary. He asks how she can sleep at night after telling a lie that big to which she replies “like a baby” because they are safe. He tells her that he should have told her and that he would have backed her no matter what. He warns her not to forget what Troy really is. She nods in agreement.
Later, she finds Troy and he admits that what he planned was not to kill anyone. All he wanted was for Mike to give him the same respect that Vernon did Jeremiah. He lost control. Madison sees another opportunity to gain trust and get in his head. She strokes his ego by telling him that he should be the one to take over the ranch. She saw how he can lead the community and that is what they need but that he cannot lose control. She tells him that she doesn’t care about the how or why but to just control his urge to kill in order to save the people of the community. She asks if he can do that and he responds, “yes ma’am.”
This season just keeps getting better by the episode. With next week’s mid-season finale being 2 hours long, I can’t wait for what is in store for us in the back half of the season. And from the looks of the previews, We will finally get to see where Ofelia has been.
Fear the Walking Dead will air its 2-hour mid- season finale next Sunday night at 9 pm on AMC.
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