After last week’s shocking premiere, ‘TEOTWAWKI’ had a lot to live up to. Although it didn’t quite match the standards that the premiere set, the third episode of Fear the Walking Dead still provided a strong episode with a surprising ending.
‘TEOTWAWKI’ invited viewers to get to know Broke Jaw Ranch and its inhabitants. This episode had the Clark family attempting to settle into their new home, while Strand’s past came back to haunt him in Mexico.
The Clark family is having some trouble joining the Otto’s and the other survivors at the ranch. Not only is Troy’s recent villainy hanging over the family’s heads, but the recent death of Travis is still taking its toll on them. Fear the Walking Dead did an excellent job in making Travis’ death matter in this episode. In prior seasons of both FTWD and The Walking Dead some character’s deaths have been skipped over, either by a time jump (in the case of Jesse and her family in TWD) or another major event happening soon after. It is good to see that FTWD isn’t willing to let Travis leave without any major impact.
The theme of this episode seemed to be about finding one’s place within these new communities. Alicia is the strongest example of this and she was hesitant at first, but upon the insisting of Madison, she joined the local ‘Bible Study’ class to get to know people. Turns out bible study is code for a party and Alicia had the chance to just chill out and be a teenager for the first time since the apocalypse really began. Over the course of the party, which involved a zombie head named Jeff, Alicia came to realise the difference between her and those that were in the ranch. She was more experienced in the outside world, and although this set her apart, it also made her someone the others looked up to in awe.
Madison also began to try and find her place in the community and both her and Jeremiah continue to be very similar characters. As is revealed in this episode, Jeremiah, was not the best father to his children, and Madison admits to the same fault. It is through the apocalypse however that both have become very connected with their families and would do anything to ensure their survival. It is interesting to see both characters follow almost parallel storylines, their differences coming from the paths they were set on before the apocalypse. This familiarity between storylines would be an interesting thing for the show to explore going forth.
Most of the tension in ‘TEOTWAWKI’ arose from Nick and his animosity with Troy Otto. After the way he dealt with Luciana and Nick in the premiere, Nick wants nothing to do with the Otto’s or the ranch. This all culminated in the final few scenes where Nick jump-tackled Troy before threatening him. Troy faced all this with a calm efficiency, once again a brilliant performance by Daniel Sharman, and when Nick stole his journal and started throwing bits of it around proclaimed they could be friends. If Nick and Troy are destined to be friends it would be more beneficial for the show to put this later in the season. If this point is the start of their friendship, it feels like it came too quick after the events of the premiere.
The whole time that all this unfolded on Broke Jaw Ranch, Strand was facing his own personal struggle in Mexico. Reunited with his old friend, Dante (Jason Manuel Olazabal), it appeared that Strand had it all back. A position in a new community, an old friend to reminisce with and safety. He was wrong. It was interesting to watch the crimes of his past come back to haunt him in this episode. The con-man routine has succeeded in many aspects on this show, but it was nice to see a so-called friend call him out on his true motives.
In the final moments of the episode, the show revealed its next big twist. Daniel Salazar (Ruben Blades) is alive. I’m not sure if this was a shock to some viewers, as it has been widely speculated that he survived after the events in the mid-season finale last year, but this brings more promise to the show as Salazar was, before his descent into madness, one of the characters who knew more about survival than most.
Going forth Fear the Walking Dead has a lot of new ground to cover. From the mystery of Travis’ shooter to the return of Daniel Salazar, this season is shaping up to be one hell of a ride.
What did you think of the episode? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!