As one leader falls another one rises on the mid-season finale of Fear the Walking Dead
Last week Madison (Kim Dickens), Troy (Daniel Sharman) and the group made their way back to the ranch with the warning from Walker (played by Michael Greyeyes) to vacate the ranch or die. Not wanting to hear it, and thinking they can talk Walker and his group down, Jeremiah (Dayton Callie) told Jake (Sam Underwood) it was his turn to step up and fix things, but not before Walker made good on his threats by setting small fires out and around the ranch, letting everyone know they’re there and not going anywhere. With fear spread throughout Broke Jaw Ranch, Gretchen (played by Rae Gray), her brother Mike (played by Justin Deeley) and parents decided to pack up and leave to find safety elsewhere – something that didn’t sit well with Troy since Mike was one of his closest friends, but Jeremiah gave them the okay and let them leave.
As Troy tried to step up and rally his crew together to prepare them for war, Jeremiah started drinking again and after one too many, very likely let slip to Nick (Frank Dillane) that they’re currently residing on a burial site. As Jake packed up to go make peace with Walker – against Alicia’s (Alycia Debnam Carey) wishes, one of Gretchen’s horses made its way back to the ranch and sent Madison, Nick and Jeremiah – who already knew what they were going to find everyone dead – off to find them, but Jeremiah didn’t believe it was Walker who did it, he believed it was Troy. Once back to the ranch, knowing Troy was likely guilty, Madison lied to everyone and told them it was Walker and that leaving the ranch was not safe – for anyone. Alicia then went after Jake who was long gone before she could know the truth as Troy confessed to Madison that he did it, but he didn’t mean to, he just lost control. She tells him they need him and that it can’t happen again.
This season has made Fear the Walking Dead feel like a brand new show and we could not be more happier! This weeks roundtable is jam packed because the mid-season finale was just that good, so wanna know where Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) is? Let’s get this party started:
Kevin (@KelvinBelmont) – Video Game and Walking Dead Fan
Sara (@writtenbysara) – Walking Dead Fan & Writer For The Amazing Nerd Blog
Jeffrey (@TWalkingDWorld) – Zombie enthusiast and A&E Editor for the Niner Times
Maria (@curiousmaroon) – An enthusiast of TWD universe because of its examination of humanity
Mateo (@MateoMokarzel) – TV Fan and Indie Film and Music Producer
Jill (@sparkle4meplz) – Cat Mom of 2, TWD and FearTWD addict, and all around silly
1. From the beginning, as we continued to learn more about Madison, it was no secret that she carried a darkness within herself and tonight we found out just what that was, how surprised were you when you found out what she did? What were your first reactions?
Kevin (@KelvinBelmont): I was honestly very surprised by the backstory from Madison because of her character from previous seasons where she could fight but nothing containing this strong and dark beast. This shows that Madison isn’t afraid to do something like this when it comes to protecting her family.
Sara (@writtenbysara): I have definitely felt for a while now that Madison has a dark past. It was so clear from the way she had always acted in the show. She has always been so strong, and never afraid to do anything to protect her family. I was shocked at hearing Madison admitting to killing her father, but more shocked as to what Alicia & Nick’s reactions would be!
Jeffrey (@TWalkingDWorld): I wasn’t all that surprised by Madison’s backstory as I theorized since the first season that she had killed someone prior to the apocalypse. Last week, she had a conversation with Troy that made me start to think that she had killed her father. I am so glad they finally peeled back the layers and gave some explanation as to why Madison doesn’t really have problems killing people.
Maria (@curiousmaroon): Very surprised. I was of course expecting a dark background but killing her own father as a child is intense. I liked that she has no qualms about it because she saw it as necessary to save her mother from harm. Her Machiavellian actions to keep Travis and her children safe now make so much sense.
Mateo (@MateoMokarzel): Based on how well-equipped a seemingly mild-mannered High School Counselor seems to be in regards to the apocalypse, I knew Madison was holding onto to something dark in her past. It was still surprising.
Jill (@sparkle4meplz): I was a bit surprised but had a feeling it was coming the way Madison told the story. My first reaction was wondering how old she was when she killed her father. I thought how was it handled when and if the police arrived after she killed him. I couldn’t take my eyes off of Nick and Alicia during Madison’s retelling of the story. Their expressions were quite similar to mine. Speechless!
2. When Madison told Alicia and Nick about her painful past, it was right before she went to Jeremiah’s where she planned on killing him, did this confession come as a way of telling them what she was about to do, in order to protect them? Or in the way of influencing Nick do it for her -because if there’s one person she knows best, it’s Nick and she knew he wouldn’t want her to carry that burden.
Kevin: I feel that this was Madison’s way of telling her children why she has acted so quickly and violently during this season; from the moment she took out Troy’s eyeball in the first episode to the midseason where she almost killed Jeremiah. Everything she has been doing was for the sake of her family and keeping them protected.
Sara: Madison is extremely manipulative from what we have seen this season from the way that she has talked Troy into doing certain things. However, I take it that in this particular situation, this was her warning to her family. Madison told Alicia & Nick earlier this season that they could take over the ranch if they wanted to. Now, she was more than ready to do that, but she had to let Alicia & Nick know that she was more than capable of killing the man with whom they had once broke bread with. I don’t think that she ever intended for Nick to kill Jeremiah.
Jeffrey: I think Madison’s decision to open up came from a place of wanting Nick and Alicia to understand her more. She has been carrying the weight of killing her father for years and it has caused her to become rather emotionless. I think that when Alicia called her out for being cold, a switch flipped in Madison’s head and she realized that her children had the right to know what she did. This is important because she killed her father to assure the survival of herself and her mother; similarly, Jeremiah’s death should assure the survival of her family now.
Maria: I completely agree. She told them that in order to prepare them for what she would do. I have known for a while that Madison is a badass but after revealing her reasoning to her children, she is officially a compassionate badass. Nick saw that and went after her, so she would not have to deal with the guilt of another death.
Mateo: I think Madison was warning them she would do anything to protect them, not knowing how her murder attempt might pan out.
Jill: I honestly don’t think she told Nick and Alicia about killing her father as a way to protect them. I believe she needed to release the burden, and without Travis, she opted to tell her children. That is an unspeakable burden to bear. Of course, we don’t know if Travis knew about Madison’s past; however, she only has her children left in terms of family. I don’t think Madison wanted to influence Nick in anyway. Madison doesn’t seem like one that would want her children to take on extra burden for her. If Madison wanted to get out of doing it herself, I think she would have gone to Troy instead. Troy (to me) seems like a loose cannon and is swayed by her requests.
3. We saw in the last couple of episodes Nick and Jeremiah bonding, whether that be genuine or strategy, but regardless, how will killing Jeremiah affect Nick from here on out?
Kevin: Nick began to grow suspicious about Jeremiah beginning with the specific plank of wood he shot in the ground. I feel that once he learned that the skull he found was from Walker’s family and how Jeremiah tried to sweep it under the rug he lost respect for him.
Sara: It’s hard to say how killing Jeremiah will affect Nick from this point. I say this because I think that Nick has gone through his own transformation this season. He never was really the one to fight before, and now he has killed someone with whom he bonded with. I think that Nick is now becoming like his mother in the sense that sometimes, you have to do crazy things in order to survive in a crazy world. It will be interesting to see how Nick tackles the world later on this season.
Jeffrey: I was completely stunned when I saw Nick kill Jeremiah, not because I didn’t think he was capable, but because I believed they would keep developing their relationship. I think Nick viewed Jeremiah as a father figure and someone that he could relate to because of their shared experiences as addicts. I think Jeremiah’s death will affect him heavily, especially after losing his own father and also Travis. Hopefully, he won’t be overly burdened by this as it was most definitely necessary.
Maria: No. Nick did not plan this. He has always searched for connections with others from Strand in season 1 to Alejandro from season 2. Nick is strong and will be able to deal with his choice. He did it to keep his family safe.
Mateo: Nick was disillusioned by Jeremiah once he knew the truth. I think this will make Jeremiah less accepting of people he meets in the future.
Jill: Nick and Alicia are protected and naive. Nick is very trusting. Alicia not so much. I think killing Jeremiah will put the edge on Nick. I think that it will make him less trusting of people and perhaps, a little more ruthless. I think this will definitely change Nick’s trajectory and scope as his character continues to develop.
4. Do you think Alicia knows what Nick did and that Madison covered it up to look like a suicide?
Kevin: I have a feeling that Alicia knows something big was about to happen after Madison told them her story; she may not know the specifics of what happened but most likely knows someone important was going to die.
Sara: I’m pretty sure that Alicia knows what Nick & Madison did! Nothing gets past Alicia! Her mother sure knows that by now!
Jeffrey: Alicia has already shown herself to be incredibly smart, so I think she will figure it out if she doesn’t already know. She may notice the similarities between Madison killing her father and the death of Jeremiah, but I feel like she will keep it a secret from everyone. Violence seems to be a last resort for Alicia, so if she realizes what Nick and Madison did, there may be an internal struggle for her.
Maria: Nick and Alicia are close. She will sense what is wrong, and Nick will tell him. I am unsure of how she will receive it. She may accept his decision, or she may pull away from him and Madison.
Mateo: Alicia is smart. I wouldn’t doubt she knows.
Jill: I think Nick made this choice all on his own. I don’t think he wanted Alicia to know because of her involvement with Jake. I was under the impression that Madison was just trying to cover for Nick. She said, “Do exactly as I say.” The next thing we saw was Madison sitting across from Jeremiah, and Nick was nowhere around when Jake and Troy came into to find their father dead. I would like to know how Madison convinced Jake and Troy that Walker wanted Jeremiah’s head. I would love to know who did the severing.
5. Since Walker and his group came into the picture, we’ve been expecting things to end in a huge war, but in the end it was the complete opposite, was it satisfying or were you wanting a huge fight?
Kevin: The fact that the mid-season didn’t end on a war was rather surprising but the more I thought about it, Walker seemed like a fair person. He started to go down on his demands compared to when we first met him; he wanted them off the ranch first, then some water supplies and then he wanted Jeremiah’s head. Granted this all would have been very difficult with Troy and Jake around but ultimately it avoided the unnecessary war between the Ranch and Walker’s group.
Sara: Seeing Nick kill Jeremiah was way more satisfying to me then anything else that could have happened! Also, it was a twist that I was not expecting at all! It was so well done!
Jeffrey: I was completely satisfied by the outcome of the episode as the peaceful truce allowed for great character development for the Clark family. Jeremiah’s true nature was shown over the course of the two hours and there was no way he could be left alive as his weak leadership would have surely caused the Ranch to be taken over by Walker’s group. This ending allows for a possible alliance to be built between the Ranch and Walker’s tribe with them hopefully working together from now on. Plus, a full-blown war would have likely destroyed the Broke Jaw Ranch, which I’m really enjoying as a setting.
Maria: I wanted a compromise because the ranch appears to be the only option for survival. I do not think this truce will hold. Walker wants his land and will come to fight for it.
Mateo: I was ready for all-out war, but instead we got a fairly non-eventful peaceful resolution. Then again, considering we have protagonists on both sides, this was probably for the best.
Jill: I was satisfied with the ending. From the start of the episode, I felt the tension building and was expecting a huge fight and more bloodshed. I don’t think the population at the ranch was strong enough to handle a huge fight. Troy said at one point that the ranch wasn’t as well equipped as Walker’s residence. Walker has more fighters and firepower. He could have decimated the ranch, and I don’t think that was the statement this episode was supposed to make.
6. We FINALLY saw Ofelia and found out what happened with her after she met Jeremiah last season, did her Trojan Horse actions shock you tonight? I mean she volunteered to poisoned the ranch folks and ended up almost killing Nick – with Anthrax (though, she didn’t know it was that) even so, scale of 1 – 10, surprising or not?
Kevin: Ofelia’s actions surprised me a lot because I didn’t think she would have had it in her to poison and kill this many people. I remember my exact reaction from the moment one of the militia men vomited thinking “wait were they poisoned? By who?” then remembered Ofelia worked in the kitchen at the Black Hat and jumped to that conclusion that she poisoned them.
Sara: 10! Ofelia’s actions definitely surprised me! I don’t blame her for doing it though because of the way that Jeremiah had treated her! It was a bummer that Nick got poisoned, but I know that her true intentions were not to hurt anyone that badly!
Jeffrey: 10 for sure! I was completely blindsided and shocked by Ofelia’s mass poisoning this episode. Throughout the first two seasons, she was shown to be quite innocent, but she really demonstrated that she is truly Daniel’s daughter in this move. The greatness of this episode stems from the fact that nearly everyone did things that make them seem villainous. While Ofelia didn’t know the full extent of what she was doing, she still went along with a plan that harmed and nearly killed Nick, a close friend of hers. Her role in this plan really shows off how great her character development has been over the course of the series.
Maria: Not surprising. Walker saved her from imminent death. He also welcomed her into his community after Otto rejected her in such a cruel manner. She would do what he asked her to pay him back.
Mateo: 10 – I was surprised. Not knowing Ofelia’s journey, this seemed very deliberate on her part. That being said, once we saw her journey and the fact Walker told her the poison was something else, it makes more sense.
Jill: When Ofelia arrived back at the ranch beaten, I was surprised and thought, okay, Walker just beat her up for stopping him from scalping Jake. I wonder now if it was Walker that beat her. My thoughts were on Walker when Ofelia was at the ranch talking to Madison. I thought, okay, this man is ruthless and willing to beat up a woman for stopping him from scalping a man. When all the soldiers started to get sick, I could not imagine what happening. Then I remembered Ofelia telling Madison that she worked in the kitchen at Walker’s residence. It then dawned on me that she had poisoned them somehow. My first thought was it was only the soldiers that she wanted to harm, which would weaken the protective barrier they had planned. When I saw all of the “walkers” around the ranch, I believe I said out loud, “She [Ofelia] poisoned the whole damn ranch.” It was such a slow burn the way the events played out. The tension was incredible. My mind was working over time putting all the pieces together, so I am going give this scene a ‘10’ on the surprise scale.
7. What do you think is next for Broke Jaw Ranch now that their leader, Jeremiah is gone? Will Madison take control like she said when they first arrived? Or will she have issues with Jake and Troy?
Kevin: The dynamic is going to change for the better since Jake stated that the people looked up to him and how he has more peaceful ways of trying to solve the manner at hand. Madison rising up to take control of the Ranch doesn’t seem too farfetched of a possibility, but I think she will bide her time until its right to take control.
Sara: I am so hoping that we finally get to see Madison take her rightful place as leader of The Broke Jaw Ranch! However, I am pretty sure that will not come along without having issues with Troy & Jake. Oh well, she could just spoon out their eyes right?
Jeffrey: The shot of the Clarks standing on the porch of Jeremiah’s house and overlooking the Ranch really seems like it foreshadows their future as leaders. Madison, Nick and Alicia all did things this episode that show off their willingness to help protect the Ranch and its residents. I do think that there will be some conflict between Jake and Madison as he made it clear that it isn’t her place to make decisions. I’m really curious to see if Jake or Troy investigate their father’s death; hopefully they won’t ever see that his body is missing the head!
Maria: Madison will continue controlling Troy and make him feel as if he is in control. Jake may fight back, and Alicia will have to choose sides, which may be interesting.
Mateo: The next battle at Broke Jaw Ranch will be between Jake and Troy. Madison will continue to try and manipulate things from behind the scenes. She is shaping up to be a formidable villain.
Jill: Madison mentioned to Nick and Alicia that they had never been to Montgomery [Alabama], which is where Madison is from originally. That gave me idea that maybe Madison was thinking about leaving the ranch and attempting a cross-country journey to Alabama. We didn’t get to see a body count after the anthrax, so I am wondering if any of the other ‘founders’ of Broke Jaw survived. Madison told Troy in an earlier episode that he was the heir to ranch as opposed to Jake. It should be interesting to see how this plays out. When Madison, Nick, and Alicia, arrived at the ranch, she suggested that they could overtake the ranch if necessary. The relationship between Alicia and Jake complicates things and will potentially blur Jake’s judgement. I mentioned earlier that Troy is a loose cannon, so I am not totally secure in his leadership abilities. Although between the two brothers, I believe the ranch might fair better under Troy’s leadership.
8. Describe this first half of the season in 5 words.
Kevin: An improvement from both seasons.
Sara: Explosive, Unpredictable, Twisted, Astonishing, & Satisfying.
Jeffrey: Bigger and better than ever!
Maria: Madison emerges as THE leader.
Mateo: All Out War! (Oh Nevermind)
Jill: Secrets, Truth, Rivalry, Revealing, Truce
Final Verdict: There’s a new leader of Broke Jaw Ranch and her name is Madison Clark
The writers and producers of Fear the Walking Dead are not messing around and this first half of the season is proof of just that. The mid-season finale was filled with intense, jaw dropping moments, surprising twists and an ending that left us with our jaws on the ground – all of which are needed for a killer finale. With Jake on his way to meet with Walker to come to some kind of deal, Alicia, thinking Walker’s group was responsible for killing Gretchen and her family, followed and caught up with him. When they arrived at the Black Hat, Alicia was shocked to find that Ofelia was with Walker’s group – only one of the surprises that was in store for us. Walker and Jake reached a parley, but when Jake took back to Jeremiah he refused and when Madison found out in order to negotiate the parley, Ofelia went with Jake as a hostage and Alicia stayed with Walker, she got a group together and they invaded the Black Hat and got Alicia back – with casualties. When Jake took Ofelia back, Walker almost killed him, but she stopped him and then was dumped at the ranch’s gate after Walker declared there was no place for her with him anymore. Jeremiah let her stay at but under the watchful eye of Madison. With everyone on alert for an attack on the ranch, guys started to drop and die and Nick became violently ill, but not before seeing Ofelia trying to make a run for it. Madison caught her and she confessed to putting a poison in the coffee. When Madison took her back to Walker to demand a cure to save Nick, he told her there was none as it was Anthrax! Nick, being young and strong pulled through and then ripped up the boards in the house him and Jeremiah fixed up and found a body buried underneath. When he took it to Jeremiah he confessed it was Walker’s father’s. Walker didn’t want his body back when Madison took it to him. Feeling it was time, Madison confessed a life long secret she had been holding on to. She grew up with an abusive, alcoholic father and after years of fixing up her mom and covering for him, she shot and killed him. Leaving her kids in shock, she made her way to Jeremiah’s where she told him that there was only one thing Walker wanted and that was him dead. In the end before Madison could pull the trigger, Nick showed up and did it for her. In the final moments, Madison met with Walker and delivered Jeremiah’s severed head to him. We have no idea what’s next, but we can’t wait to find out, because if the truth get’s out about what really happened to Jeremiah, it will not be pretty so Madison, Nick and Alicia will have to play their cards precisely. Elsewhere, Stand found his boat, the Abigail, and after a short but much needed talk with a Russian astronaut over the radio, Strand burned his baby and took off to places unknown – until September that is!
Fear the Walking Dead returns Sunday, September 10th, at 9/8c on AMC.
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