Fear The Walking Dead’s midseason premiere shows how desperation and fear can be worse than zombies
The two-hour midseason premiere of Fear The Walking Dead brings us back to the ranch as Walker (Michael Greyeyes) and his people begin to settle in. Relatively sheltered from the dead, people on the ranch are too comfortable and thus not willing to put grudges aside to “survive together”. Troy (Daniel Sharman) engages in a shoot-out with Walker’s men, and it’s here Nick (Frank Dillane) reveals that he murdered Jeremiah (Dayton Callie) so everyone else could live, which causes Troy to stop fighting. It’s ultimately decided that Troy will be exiled, and after a scuffle with Madison (Kim Dickens), he goes on his way but not before reminding us that he doesn’t surrender. Off the ranch, we’re taken back to the dam where Daniel (Rubén Blades) still is. His position at the dam becomes more important, as we’ve learned that the ranch only has about six weeks worth of water left. This basic need motivates Madison and Walker to head out to a nearby trading post, leaving the kids in charge.
Jake (Sam Underwood) gets bombarded by ranchers demanding answers and water, and he’s at a total loss. Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) steps up to diffuse the situation. Meanwhile, Troy’s militia is rebuilding in the shadows, and they make Nick their leader in Troy’s absence. He plays along, hoping to steer them away from all out violence. After supposedly both sides not heeding the restrictions set in place over water, Alicia tells the ranch that there are only six weeks of water left, and that’s why they should be rationing. Instead of working together, it becomes every-man-for-himself, and a brawl ensues. Back on the search for water, Madison and Walker find a bazaar and it’s here that we finally see Strand (Colman Domingo) again, who’s in trouble. Madison pays off Strands debts, freeing him, and it’s decided that Strand will lead them to the dam he offhandedly mentioned. The episode ends on the brink of a fight back on the ranch, until everyone comes together to dig another well.
Did Fear The Walking Dead return with a bang or a whimper in “Minotaur” and “The Diviner”? Let’s ask our roundtable:
Jeffrey (@TWalkingDWorld): TWD/FearTWD enthusiast and A&E Editor of the Niner Times
Jen (@jryan_author): TWD Fan Site Editor & Contributing Writer, Fan Fest News
Ivy (@IvyDC_): Deputy manager, HUGE FearTWD fan, and co-owner of FearSource
Sophie (@phiebramley): Mega TWD fan, admin for Our Fear The Walking Dead Group on Facebook
Lauren (@Iaurencox): Senior Editor at HollywoodLife.com, social media addict and Walking Dead enthusiast.
1. Troy went further off the rails and dragged Nick down with him, and it got him exiled. How long do you think it’ll be until we see Troy again?
Jeffrey (@TWalkingDWorld): I think we might have to wait for a few episodes to see Troy again. This show is no stranger to surprise returns, so I’m thinking he may reappear sometime in the future to cause trouble at the Ranch. He’s certainly not the type of person to go down without a fight, as seen in the gunfight at the Otto cabin; plus he believes the Ranch is his property, so I think he will take some drastic steps to get Walker’s people off of his land.
Jen (@jryan_author): I totally believe Troy will be popping up again before the end of the season. There’s no way he’s done with the ranch or Madison for that matter. I think if he didn’t come back, it would be a disappointment.
Ivy (@IvyDC_): I think we won’t see Troy in the next two episodes, for sure. He said to Madison he’s tired, so I think he’s going to find himself, during his own journey. A bigger threat is coming and maybe he’s gonna be the one who will help his people to deal with it. Troy is little crazy, yes, but one thing is for sure: He cares about his people and he wants to protect them.
Sophie (@phiebramley): Hopefully we’ll see him again in the finale episode!
Lauren (@Iaurencox): I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Troy, but I think it’ll be a while before we get an update. ‘Fear’ does a really great job of keeping us on our toes, and Troy is too crazy to be ignored. Hopefully, he’s out there building some crazy blood-thirsty militia of followers that will bring us some action before season three ends.
2. Alicia and Ofelia stepped up in these episodes, and they’re emerging as leaders. What do you want to see out of them both going forward?
Jeffrey: I love what is happening with Alicia this season and I really think she is going to continue to evolve into a leader. I would love to see her continue to take charge at the Ranch and unite the two groups; they need a level-headed leader to get them through the water crisis. As for Ofelia, I feel like she is at a crossroads with her loyalty split between The Nation and the Clarks. I would like to see her get on better terms with Alicia, Nick, and Madison, but I’m starting to think she will be the one to lead The Nation if something happens to Walker.
Jen: Alicia just needs to accept the fact that she has got to be one of the strong ones. She has transitioned to the new way of the world, finally, but I think she needs to find a way to make peace with it. Both Alicia and Ofelia genuinely seems to want to keep the peace, but not as a leader. They both want to be on the winning side, which happens to be the living side. What I think both women will have to do is continue to make these better choices for all, but understand that sometimes it will come with a price and that they may need to be the one to make the hard choices.
Ivy: The second episode was a big one for Alicia. The girl who begged for her mother’s love is long gone. She managed to unite enemies to work together for a better cause. At the beginning of Season 4, I wanna see Alicia as a true leader and a real badass! I think Ofelia feels guilty about leaving Alicia at the hotel. She wants to serve the Nation because Walker saved her, but she also doesn’t want to hurt Alicia. I hope these two will break the ice because they’re both really strong characters and I think they can make a great duo.
Sophie: First of all I want to say how great it is the have some strong female leads. Alicia kind of reminds me of TWD’s Maggie, she’s very strong yet clearly has a good heart too and I’d like to see that continue to develop I like her take-no-shit attitude. She’s a great talker and sometimes words can be what is needed in times of struggle. Again Ofelia seems like a mix of Carol and Michonne, I can see that she will continue down this path but will have some demons along the way. I’d actually quite like Alicia and Ofelia to really work together eventually but I’m unsure if they will be able to.
Lauren: The best part about ‘Fear’ (and the entire ‘Walking Dead’ franchise, to be honest) is the presence of strong female characters. Alicia and Ofelia are no exceptions. I think that Alicia is, at some point, going to have to take over for Madison because she’s in way over her head. Madison’s decisions seem emotionally driven while Alicia is more strategic, which makes her a stronger leader. As for Ofelia, I think once her dad, Daniel, is back in the picture they are going to butt heads more than anything. Ofelia doesn’t need her daddy to take care of her anymore, and that’s not going to go over well with him.
3. With Troy gone, the militia has turned to Nick as a leader – and he is reluctantly playing them. Do you think Nick can keep them at bay, and if so, how long do you think that can last?
Jeffrey: Nick is smart and resourceful, but I’m not sure he will be able to keep the militia members from carrying out an attack on The Nation. When water and other supplies begin to really dwindle, I think the militia will do whatever it takes to regain control of the Ranch. Nick may be caught in a tricky position where he will have to either turn against the militia or turn against Alicia/Madison, who are working with Walker.
Jen: I do think Nick will be able to guide them to less violent options. At the end of the episode, his actions proved that when he walked away from the impending attack. (Which, sorry to divert, but WHY would you do that in the daytime? Talk about dumb choices!) Now, that’s not to say should another incident occur where the general population of the Ranch on both sides can’t play nice, the militia may not want to listen to or follow Nick if he doesn’t draw blood. I guess it all depends on how quickly they dig out a new well, or how soon before a new threat shows its face.
Ivy: I don’t think Nick can be a leader… He made one mistake with the Colonia and lots of people died. He’s kind of a person who would do anything for the people he cares about, but he’s good to serve (let’s not forget how Celia brainwashed him and he left his family because of this). He won’t be playing with the militia much longer, that’s for sure.
Sophie: I can see why he is playing them, however, he is delving into the unknown and eventually one of these guys will get smart and realize what’s going on. He will be ok for a short while but I don’t see it lasting too long.
Lauren: Nick is smarter than he looks (and acts), but like his mom, I think he’s in over his head. You can already see that some of the more hot headed militia members are side-eyeing his decisions. Unless they somehow decide that following Nick’s less violent way of doing things is actually getting something accomplished, he might just be setting himself up for trouble.
4. Madison paid off Strand’s debt at the Bazaar, and now the two of them and Walker are heading toward the dam. What are your predictions for the inevitable reunion between Madison, Strand, and Daniel?
Jeffrey: I am really excited for the upcoming reunions, specifically Madison and Daniel. This should be pretty emotional because of the fact that Daniel asked Madison to care for Ofelia, something that has become complicated since Daniel disappeared. I’m wondering if Madison will immediately tell Daniel that Ofelia is alive or if she keeps it a secret from him. Hopefully, they will be able to get some water from the Dam to take back to the Ranch though.
Jen: Daniel’s reaction to Strand is something I am interested to see, especially after how they parted ways. However, I think his sole focus to Madison will be asking about Ofelia. I can see Madison keeping that information to herself and using that to convince Daniel to let them have the dam. Question is, will he trade the water for the location of his daughter? Or will he even trust Madison’s answer as to where Ofelia is?
Ivy: Daniel is not much of a fan of Strand, but once Madison tells him Ofelia is alive he would know that Strand told him the truth. Daniel will go with them and next week we’ll see an Ofelia and Daniel reunion, I think.
Sophie: Well first of all Madison will tell Daniel that Ofelia is alive with Walker’s reassurance that it’s true. And hopefully, that will mean that next week Daniel and Strand will be back with the others. Daniel has always had issues with trust however and I think that will resurface very quickly.
Lauren: Madison is the only person who can make Victor and Daniel tolerate each other. Plus once Madison tells Daniel she knows where Ofelia is, that’s all he’s going to care about.
5. Alicia said Madison is broken. What do you make of that?
Jeffrey: I think Alicia has a lot of pent up emotions relating to Madison, specifically the favoritism towards Nick. There is also the factor of Madison killing people to keep her family safe, something that Alicia is struggling to come to terms with. I’m really interested to see how the Madison/Alicia dynamic changes moving forward as it isn’t always easy to tell if they’re on good terms or not.
Jen: I think Alicia saying that wasn’t just for Nick, but herself as well. Whether she wanted to admit it or not, I believe Alicia thinks that Madison isn’t thinking clearly or making good decisions. I think Alicia has thought Madison has been broken for a long time because of her husband’s death and Nick’s addiction pre-apocalypse. In this new world, Madison can’t seem to rid herself of the guilt she feels which is affecting her still. The decision Madison and Nick came to about Jeremiah was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Alicia. Going forward, I think Alicia will stop doing what she thinks will make Madison happy, and doing instead what she really feels in her own gut is the right calls. Hence, making leading her to that place of “making peace” with her role in the new world order.
Ivy: Well, Alicia didn’t lie… Madison doesn’t have a moral compass and sometimes she’s made silly mistakes and I wanna slap her in the face tbh. She covered Troy for killing Trimbols, let Nick kill Jeremiah, delivered his head to Walker… o.0 It’s not surprising Alicia is so done with Madison…
Sophie: I actually agree, I don’t think Madison has dealt with the death of Travis and I think the way she is trying to be a leader is actually her distraction.
Lauren: Um, Madison isn’t just broken — she’s shattered. She’s been shattered since she killed her daddy, and more pieces break every time she loses something or someone else. Nick and Alicia’s dad, Travis, and, eventually, the Otto ranch. The only thing that is keeping what’s left of Madison together is having her children nearby, but again that’s causing her to make more emotional decisions than anything. Not good.
6. We haven’t seen Luciana since she left the ranch earlier in the season. Do you reckon we’ll see her again before the season ends?
Jeffrey: I feel like we are going to have to wait a while to see Luciana. I have a feeling that they are going to give her the Daniel/Ofelia treatment where she disappears for a half season only to miraculously reappear with an interesting backstory of where she has been.
Jen: It would be an interesting scene for the finale for Luciana to come face to face with an exiled Troy. If it doesn’t happen that way, then I say let her go and let her be a memory.
Ivy: Yes, definitely! And that’s because I remember that Danay said on an interview earlier this year that this new villain will have a big impact on Luciana. She felt like a stranger at the ranch and she left Nick because she didn’t want to make him choose between her and his family and I think when we’ll see her again soon, Luciana will be stronger than ever.
Sophie: I really like Luciana, so I hope so.
Lauren: Absolutely. ‘Fear’ doesn’t just let people walk away like that. And wouldn’t it be something if Troy, somehow, ended up where she is? Hmm.
7. After the death of Jeremiah, both sides made pleas for peace. After butting heads, “The Diviner” ended with them coming together to dig another well, but do you see actual long-term cooperation in the future for the ranch, or do you expect it to fall eventually?
Jeffrey: If I know anything from years of watching “The Walking Dead” and “Fear the Walking Dead”, it’s that peace doesn’t last for long. They may have united over the water crisis, but some other conflict is sure to form that will reopen the split and cause more drama. I could definitely see the season building up to a final battle between the groups that leave the Ranch destroyed, similar to the end of TWD’s Prison story arc.
Jen: Oh, it’ll fall. We the viewers are seasoned veterans of this world, and we know from experience that there will always be something to come along that threatens safety. There are no real walls, and armed or not, if a big enough herd comes shambling through, that ranch is toast. I say it will at least last the season, but once they get the water situation worked out, something or someone will come along and will rip that little pocket of safety, apart.
Ivy: The new threat is coming and whether they want it or not, they should put aside their differences and fight together if they want to survive. I think this is a tough long-term cooperation and Alicia started it which makes me extremely proud of this character.
Sophie: I do expect it to fall. Despite Madison and Walker working well together with many members of each group still, have a deep hatred for each other. Tensions will soon begin to run high again.
Lauren: Not at all. There’s too much animosity on both sides. Plus, we have to be logical. Sure, everyone wants there to be peace on the post apocalyptic earth, but that would make for really boring television. That being said, let the killing sprees begin!
Final Verdict: All things considered for a midseason premiere these episodes were pretty tame – which means mayhem is on the horizon.
With the two communities coming together, begrudgingly, at Broke Jaw Ranch a lot of housekeeping was in order, making parts of this premiere pretty tame – and almost boring – at times. The opening sequence of “Minotaur”, while perfectly underscored with Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds singing “Death Is Not The End” felt like it dragged on even though it was important to see the aftermath of Jeremiah’s death on the ranch. Whenever things are like that though, you just know things are coming to a boil elsewhere, and soon there will be too much going on to even catch your breath. We had brief moments of that tension coming to a head with Troy’s showdown and the standoffs over water, which are just hinting at how badly things can become in the future. Alycia Debnam Carey’s character Alicia really shined throughout the two episodes, and like my panelists, I’m excited to see her step up and be the level-headed leader the group needs (cause Madison and Nick are way too emotionally motivated). I also cannot wait for Daniel and Ofelia’s reunion, since Ofelia is a much different person now than the one Daniel remembers. I know these episodes are laying the groundwork for what’s to come, and I’m hoping it’s a big breathtaking payoff on the ranch with all of the favorite characters in play. It’s Season 3 – it’s time for the training wheels to come off, for everyone!