The season 3 premiere of Fear the Walking Dead has no shortage of action, proving to the naysayers it can be just as exciting as its parent series.
We return to Fear the Walking Dead where we left off, at the U.S.-Mexico border. Bypassing unnecessary travel time, the episode starts with Madison, Travis, and Alicia already at the border, being taken for ‘processing.’
Why do you get a couch and I get a floor?
Poor Travis is handcuffed and taken to some damp and cold basement, sharing a room with a few other captured men. No, wait, a few other men and Luci. And who’s that she’s symbolically and literally leaning on? Why, it’s Nick! Finally the Clarks and Travis are in the same place again, even though their situation seems bleak.
Next we cut to Alicia and Madison, who are faring much better than everyone else. Handcuffs off, in a lit office space, the Clark ladies frantically try to find a way to escape. Ever a voice of reason, Alicia remarks that they should stop running after Nick every time he runs away because it just gets them into trouble. As harsh as it may sound, she has a point.
Nick is an adult; he can take care of himself. Granted, he’s a troubled, young adult, but he chose to leave. Madison needs to accept that even though Nick is her ‘baby boy,’ there comes a time when she just needs to let him make his own decisions, even if that means letting him go.
Before Madison and Alicia make much progress, in walks a young, handsome military man. Say hello to Daniel Sharman, here dubbed Troy, of Teen Wolf and The Originals fame. On the surface, Troy seems to be kind and understanding, even offering them tea. Given that Daniel Sharman’s character could not be more American, with an American accent, in military uniform, and christened Troy, I can only assume the tea offering is an attempt to make him feel at home, given his British roots.
All-American boy Troy tries to comfort Alicia and Madison, telling them they’ll soon be released along with Travis. Naturally, Madison and Alicia don’t believe this, and concoct a plan to attack Troy when he returns.
Just missing the Swastikas
To nobody’s surprise, this compound is home to unethical activities. As it turns out, these military men are performing some Nazi-esque experiments. They’re killing innocent men to see how long it takes them to turn. Age and weight are noted, with the thought that the more you weigh and the older you are, the longer you’d take to turn.
But don’t worry, they have good intentions deep down. It’s all for science! It can’t be bad if it’s for science!
Careful what you wish for
In the end, Madison gets exactly what she wanted, if not in the way she wanted. Everyone escapes but are separated from each other. Again. Madison went looking for Nick, and she found him, except now she’s separated from everyone else.
Special note: It was great to have Noel Fisher in the show, even though he only lasted one episode and his character is a terrible human being. But hey, even though he kills innocent people without thought, he did have consideration for the rats. Note how carefully he places his feet when the rats pop out of the wall. Such a sweetheart. I love me a man who cares more about sewer rats than people.
Travis the bad-ass
Travis is definitely taking steps in the right direction. His character has been annoyingly moral in the series, refusing to adapt to the new way of life. But after the death of his son Chris last season, there was a sharp change in Travis. In a shocking character moment, he brutally killed the boys who killed Chris. It would seem we still have that Travis.
Travis determinedly fights his way out (and helps everyone else escape, of course), only to get recaptured. He’s thrown into an infected fighting pit, and whatever frustration he had left is released here. Despite being surrounded by infected, I never felt like Travis was in danger. He was so in control of his breakdown, he destroyed that hoard.
Special note: Who else laughed when he threw the concrete block at Noel Fisher? Way to be, Travis, I’ll take more of that.
Unfortunately, though, we won’t get any more of brutal Travis.
In a fate reversal from The Walking Dead, the violent ones aren’t lasting long. First, Chris goes crazy and he’s offed. Now, Travis loses some of his sensibilities, and he’s the next to go. Frankly, it feels more like an act for shock value rather than a necessity for plot and/or character development.
There’s a new sheriff in town
Episode 2 is also our first look into a new community. Unlike many other groups we’ve seen on The Walking Dead, this one seems fairly lax on citizens being armed. We can’t get too trusting, though. Don’t forget,
Sheriff Unser Jeremiah Otto is the same man who shot at Ophelia and captured her. Is she wandering around the area free, or is she bound and gagged in a basement somewhere?
Naturally, Nick is not loving the current living arrangement, but he can’t seem to grasp the difference between short-term and long-term planning. Luciana needs medical attention, and they’re completely out of options of anywhere else to go. Does he really think wandering the vast unknown, hoping to stumble upon something better, is realistic? Madison is right: it’s better for them to recuperate here while figuring out their next move.
Special note: Madison wasted no time finding a new plaid shirt. This woman has sniffer dog instincts for flannel.
De nada, asshole
Doctor Strand is in the house! Er, Doctor Strand was in the house! Poor Victor is kicked out of the hotel because he’s not a real doctor and they can’t risk the residents finding out. His last two acts before leaving are to help bring life into the world and then help take it away.
Within 24 hours, Strand delivers a baby and witnesses a woman take her own life. The former is a small blessing, and the latter, a small mercy. While ending one’s life is sad, this woman was clearly in pain, and not fit to live in this new world, so Strand’s talk with her was the help she needed to make her decision.
Where does Strand go from here? He says he has a place in mind, but where is it? Why is it not somewhere he’s suggested before? Will he be joining another group, or does he have a small hideout of his own somewhere?