The FEAR THE WALKING DEAD mid-season finale was a two hour back-to-back episode event that took us on quite the rollercoaster, which included the death of some major players this season as well as the return of THAT character who has been missing for all this time.
Last week left off with Jake headed to Walker’s camp to try and negotiate some sort of peace between the Native American group and his own. Walker and his people claim that Jeremiah Otto and the other “founding fathers” of Broke Jaw Ranch took land that contained sacred buriel ground of his ancestors. This needless to say is not a compelling case for Jeremiah to pack things up and leave in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. Alicia ends up following Jake to Walker’s camp, and when Jake can’t make a truce, she stays as a sort of tribute, while Walker offers one of his own people to go with Jake back to Broke Jaw–Ofelia!
That’s right, Ofelia, daughter of Daniel, is alive and well. Apparently after she left the hotel and wandered the desert for a while, she found her way to Walker’s group, where she has incorporated herself into the fabric of their society. When she returns with Jake, Madison obviously has all sorts of questions. And we find out that Ofelia and Jeremiah have previously encountered one another (more on this later). Meanwhile, Alicia is getting to know Walker. He shows her the helicopter that they shot down and she tells him that her step-father Travis had been on board. Walker shows genuine remorse for having taken his life, but tells her that he’s glad if she hates him; then she can know and understand what he feels for Jeremiah, who killed his family members. Alicia is starting to see that she and her family may be on the wrong side of this thing.
Especially because that maniac Troy is on the Otto’s side, who we know from last week killed the Trimbol family. Madison has turned the other cheek on this one, which doesn’t make her very likable or sympathetic from where I’m sitting. I know she wants to do “anything it takes” to keep her family safe, but is aiding and abetting a murderer like Troy who is liable to kill at any moment really helping to that end? I find it hard to believe. She even takes him on a rescue mission to grab Alicia when she freaks out that Jake left her with Walker. This goes terribly, and there is even more blood on her hands. This eventually results in Ofelia returning to their camp saying Walker beat her and cast her out, but in reality using this as an opportunity to poison the Otto’s small army they were building with anthrax, including Nick. This is where “The Unveiling” ends and the finale “Children of Wrath” begins.
In this episode, we learn through a flashback that it was actually Jeremiah shooting at Ofelia in the desert, assuming she was an illegal immigrant crossing the border. When he finds out she’s American he doesn’t killer–he just leaves her for dead. It’s Walker and his people who save her, and it is why she’s so loyal to him and willing to hurt those who side with the Ottos, even the Clarks. Madison takes Ofelia by gunpoint back to Walker’s reservation, where she demands a cure for Nick. There isn’t one, but if he is strong he can survive. No surprise here–he does.
But it doesn’t look good for the rest of the people at Broke Jaw. Once again acting brashly, Madison enlists Troy and now Alicia to help hijack Walker’s RV–which contains the displaced bones of his grandfather. Big mistake. The Native Americans surround the compound, and it doesn’t give the Clarks, Ottos, and company much wiggle room. But when Nick reveals he found the skull of Walker’s uncle under the floorboards of Jeremiah’s place, a killing that happened before the apocalypse and after Jeremiah won the land legally, that it becomes truly clear the Clarks are fighting on the wrong side here. It was obvious to me, and most likely many other viewers, much much earlier, but I guess when you’re a survivalist like Madison you’re willing to ignore certain transgressions. Up until now.
The only way for there to be peace, as it was explained to Madison, is if she brings Walker Jeremiah’s head. And she intends to do that. Only she doesn’t want to kill him. She suggests to Jeremiah that he blow his own brains out as recompense for failing as a father and failing as a leader of their community. Jeremiah refuses and so Nick does it himself. Madison admits to her children that when she was young she murdered her own father, who she had watched drunkenly beat her mother one too many times. This is something that fleshes out her character well and justifies her readiness to do whatever it takes to protect her loved ones. This seems to be what inspires Nick to shoot the man who had sort of taken him under his wing thus far this season. It was a surprising and dramatic turn, but I was sad to see Jeremiah go. He was an interesting character in a cast that needs them badly.
We didn’t get much of Strand (and nothing from Daniel) but what we did get was great. Strand stumbles upon The Abigail, his yacht that he and the group set out on in season two. A remnant of his past life. There he gets on the radio with a Russian astronaut, who was in space when the zombie apocalypse happened. Now THAT is some terrible luck. He confirms that all of earth has gone dark. But he says that it is not the end of the world as long as Strand remains. It was a touching little conversation and it made me wish we had more Strand this entire season.
The mid-season finale set up what is sure to be the impending Clarks vs. Remaining Ottos battle in the back half of the season. I look forward to the next batch of episodes!
Season 3, Episode 7-8 (S03E07-08)
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sunday at 9PM on AMC
Paul Gulyas | Contributor