Plot threads and characters are coming together finally in the world of FEAR THE WALKING DEAD. This week’s episode, entitled “La Serpiente,” spends the entire hour with Madison, Strand, and Walker trying to get to the dam (where their old frenemy Daniel is) to acquire water for The Ranch. Nick, Alicia, and other characters back at The Ranch take the bench for the episode, but that’s fine as there is plenty going on here worth devoting an hour to.
The episode picks up with Walker driving a truck (to hopefully be filled with water and returned to The Ranch) with Madison and Strand to the dam. Victor has told them about the dam and the abundant water they have there. The trick is going to be getting to it. Their first obstacle comes in the form of a car crash obstructing the road–oh and a herd of zombies walking straight towards them. Strand (cleverly?) sets what looked like an electronic car key to beep repeatedly (can they do this?) and throws it a little ways away from the road. How the zombies here that over the very loud engine of the truck is beyond me, but they start walking towards it and clear a path. Walker busts the truck through the car wreck and they are off.
However, eventually they find that there is no way to get to the dam without going underground. They soon take to the sewers, much to Walker’s dismay. He does not trust Strand, and he is not unreasonable to feel that way. Strand leads them through the dark, seemingly guessing at which turns to take, until they finally come to an impasse: that being an extremely fat zombie stuck in the tunnel. Madison kills it with a hatchet and then attempts to remove it piece by piece in one of the most gruesome moments of this series or its sister series The Walking Dead. When they make it to the exit of the tunnels they are on the right side of the fence to get to the dam. And they conveniently run directly into Daniel.
Daniel has been having his own problems. The people in the colonies surrounding the dam are rebelling, calling Lola “The Water Queen” and trying to take the dam for themselves. But Lola is just trying to maintain some order and ration the water accordingly. She is not interested in power or ruling, but she wants to be fair and protect the people from themselves. They do not understand this. Daniel in turn has come to be feared as a ruthless enforcer of Lola’s, firing his weapon into the unruly crowd and barely escaping multiple incidents without being torn to shreds.
Before running into Daniel, Strand informed Madison of his last encounter with the man: how he had lied to hima bout knowing where his daughter Ofelia was and how Daniel left him for dead. Madison tells him that she does know where Ofelia is and that she is alive and well at The Ranch. So when she finally runs into Daniel for the first time since halfway through season two, she tells him his daughter is alive and he is relieved. However when he takes them to Lola, she refuses to give them the water they need. Additionally, Walker describes what Ofelia did to Daniel: how she poisoned people en masse to avoid a bloody conflict, but all Daniel hears is that his daughter has become a killer. He ponders… maybe it is better that Ofelia believe he is dead?
When more violent uprisings occur, promising even more to come, Strand has an idea. He blows up a truck by a fence and makes it look as though it was the angry mobs outside the dam who did it. This gives Madison a bargaining chip. Her people at The Ranch can supply weapons to help keep order at the dam if they can have ten thousand gallons of water a week until the rains come. And they will be taking a truck filled with water back with them as a sign of good faith. Madison proposes they can meet at the bazaar we saw last week as a halfway point. Lola finally agrees, but also says she wants Ofelia present upon the first trade. I have a feeling something may happen to her before then and Daniel will believe Madison and Walker lied to him and go nuts. That would be an interesting development.
Next week will probably focus more on The Ranch and the simmering tensions that have surely been rising while we were away from them this week. It will all lead up to a satisfying conclusion in a few weeks from now!
Paul Gulyas | Contributor