Fear the Walking Dead’s mid-season finale pulled no punches and it was a surprisingly shocking and tense episode that had me glued to the screen for two hours. With the fight against Walker taking full attention this week, it was an intense ride to the end.
It seems that the first thing that needs to be talked about, as usual, is Madison Clark. Her arc over this season has become progressively more and more desperate as she has become ever more determined to keep both her family safe and herself in a position of leadership at Broke Jaw Ranch. This all came to a head in ‘The Unveiling/ Children of Wrath’, as Madison took control of many of the attacks upon Walker’s reservation.
She was so determined to not lose Alicia to Walker that she spearheaded the attack to rescue her, while also returning Ofelia and stealing the relics trailer that Walker held dear. As a leader, she is resorting to as many violent means as she needs to keep the ranch and her people alive.
The best part of these two episodes though was the fact that the writers managed to convey both sides distress and motivations in a believable way. Through both Alicia’s time as hostage and the return of Ofelia (Mercedes Mason), we learnt a lot about the head of Blackhat Reservation.
Walker is no longer just the violent leader of a group determined to get their land back at all costs. Now he is a leader that not only wants his land back, but is trying to the best by his people and provide them with a way of living through the apocalypse. He talks of how his people, the First People, have been prophesized to reclaim the land once more and shows Alicia the bones of his grandfather, who was buried on the land that Jeremiah now owns.
Like last week these episodes were truly about leadership and who deserved to stand up if Jeremiah was to kick the bucket. Obviously, Madison set herself up as a prominent replacement but so did Jake. He nearly got scalped in an effort to bring peace and despite being sick helped everyone with the anthrax attack. Nick also stood out as a leader, joining Troy’s militia and fighting off an anthrax attack before stepping up and doing what had to be done after he found out Jeremiah’s secret.
The tension of the Walker conflict continued to escalate until the last fifteen minutes or so. Madison revealed that she had always done what needed to be done, telling a haunting tale of how she killed her own father to protect her family before the apocalypse, as a way to reinforce the reason why she hid Troy’s secret (killing the Vernon’s) from Alicia. This directly led into why she went and asked Jeremiah to kill himself, the price Walker requested in return for peace. It also serves as a reason to explain why Nick killed him in the final moments, as he is following in his mother’s belief of doing what needs to be done.
It was hard to feel sorry for Jeremiah or think that Nick didn’t make the right decision by the end of the episode as the Dayton Callie’s did an excellent job of portraying Jeremiah as a racist and conflicted character. The reveal that he had killed Walker’s family years before made it easier for his death to be accepted as a suitable way of gaining peace.
Aside from all the drama featured at Broke Jaw, the second half of the finale featured Strand as well. Strand is in a desperate situation, alone and without a home and on the verge of giving up. He found the Abigail again and, after a brief and interesting conversation with a Cosmonaut, ended up burning it and leaving it behind. It was good to see his leaving of his past behind him and hopefully his story demands more attention in the second half of the season.
Fear the Walking Dead set itself up to be a serious contender to the original show this season. However, its lacking in Strand and Salazar’s divergent plotlines needs to be explored more in the future. Apart from this it was good to see that maybe our survivors aren’t on the right/good side of this conflict as they originally thought and the finale provided a brilliant end to the Walker/ Broke Jaw conflict.
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