Fear The Walking Dead 3×11 has us wondering: is being a snake a good thing?
This week’s episode of Fear The Walking Dead brought us a reunion of the remaining three adults who left Los Angeles together at the start of season one. Madison Clark (Kim Dickens), Victor Strand (Colman Domingo), and Daniel Salazar (Rubén Blades) came face to face outside the dam, and Daniel finally found out that Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) is alive! However, he also learned that she is not the same woman he last saw – that she’s a soldier now, and one that has killed people, which doesn’t make him too happy. Strand worked his magic by posing as a doctor to get information from Lola’s (Lisandra Tena) men and later rigged a truck to explode, all to manipulate the situation at the dam into playing out just how he wanted.
Lola had the tremendous task of trying to do what was right by her city. She wants to help everyone, which is noble, but practically impossible under such desperate conditions. Thanks to Strand’s stint with the explosion, she was tricked into thinking the dam was under attack – something Daniel long predicted would happen. This fear of attack enabled the trade for water in exchange for weapons to go through with the ranch. Everyone seemingly wins here. This episode was titled “La Serpiente”, which translates to “The Snake”, and it’s clear that Strand is the snake – but is that necessarily a bad thing? Do the ends justify the means in the apocalypse? Where does one draw the line?
With a deal for water struck, will things finally work out for our beloved Fear The Walking Dead characters? To the roundtable! Meet our panelists:
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
Lauren (@Iaurencox): Senior Editor at HollywoodLife.com, social media addict and Walking Dead enthusiast.
Sophie (@phiebramley): TWD/FTWD fan, preschool teacher, mother, admin for Our Fear The Walking Dead Group on Facebook
Ivy (@IvyDC_): Deputy manager, HUGE FearTWD fan, and co-owner of FearSource
1. Tonight Daniel implied that Strand was the snake. Is being a snake a good thing or bad thing in this world?
Jeffrey (@TWalkingDWorld): Being a snake in the apocalypse can be either a good thing or a bad thing. If you’re smart about it, you may just find yourself alive for a long time; at the same time, if you’re dumb, being a snake could get you killed fast. Strand is very intelligent and resourceful, which makes him a “smart snake”, but he is also not the best at getting along with others (like Daniel, Dante, Celia, etc.) and that makes him a “dumb snake” at times. I can see him surviving for a long time, but I think his shadiness and lying will be his ultimate downfall.
Jen (@jryan_author): I think it is a good thing if you want to survive. Everyone has their skill set – being manipulative, or in this case, a snake is Strand’s. It’s like his superpower. In certain situations, it works to your advantage and even though Daniel calls Strand a snake, he took complete advantage of his skill set by giving Strand the nod to do what he needed to in order to make the deal happen at the dam.
Lauren (@Iaurencox): A good thing, especially where Strand is concerned. Think about it: he survives on being a snake. Strand isn’t very violent or confrontational, but somehow he’s made it this far — and saved others in the process. He might be manipulative but it works for him, and survival is what’s most important in their world.
Sophie (@phiebramley): I think it’s a mix of good and bad. Sometimes it can work to your advantage especially when figuring new people out; however, it can massively cause you to screw yourself over.
Ivy (@IvyDC_): Definitely a good thing! Strand proved it in this episode, too. If he didn’t do what he did Lola would never give them the water they need. Despite the fact Lola wants to help her people, they hate her and Strand saw that and used it to their advantage. Being a “snake” is definitely one of the ways to survive the apocalypse. Good people don’t last… Ask Travis. 👀
2. Lola is caught up in a vast manipulation between Strand, Madison, and Daniel. Do you think she’ll find out? If so, what do you think will happen when she does?
Jeffrey: I definitely think Lola will find out about what Strand did at some point, but I feel like the Dam will fall long before that happens. I think Lola may be forced to leave the Dam in the future and then the truth will come out. At that point, she won’t have the same power that she has now. If Lola doesn’t die, I think there will be some interesting conflict developed between her, Daniel, and Strand.
Jen: Of course she will find out, one way or another. I think by the time she does though, something will have happened with the communities around the dam that shows her, even more, evidence that it necessary to arm the dam. I feel like Lola is struggling with the idea of being a leader and making the hard choices. The conversation she had with Madison will linger in her mind I think. By the time she learns about their manipulation, she will have to decide what kind of leader she wants to be: one that is alive feared and in control or one that is dead and martyred.
Lauren: I think Lola is doomed. I don’t know if she’ll find out or not, but I assume she’s probably going to die soon — and it will probably be at Daniel’s hand.
Sophie: Yea, I think she will find out, and it could possibly be the start of another enemy. The one who controls the water controls the people.
Ivy: Oh, yes she will! Lola is a smart girl and when she finds out the ranchers won’t see a single drop of her water and Daniel will leave the dam immediately… She won’t hurt them or punish them, though. Lola’s just not that kind of a person.
3. If not for Madison, Walker probably wouldn’t be living on the ranch right now. Do you think he’ll ever fully trust her?
Jeffrey: I don’t think Walker will ever be able to fully trust Madison. Killing Jeremiah should have been the moment that he got on her side fully, but he knows that Madison is someone who is willing to do whatever it takes to protect her children; Madison will take out Walker and/or his people if they threaten Nick and Alicia, and Walker knows this. They may work together, but they’re both so headstrong that they will never be on the same page fully.
Jen: The deal Madison was able to strike for the water will go a long way in keeping the relationship between the two groups at an uneasy peace. I don’t think Walker has the capacity to fully trust her solely because she’s an outsider and once the water situation is under control, something else will come along to try and crack this shaky foundation. In the end, I think Madison will ultimately end up killing Walker which will lead to the end of the ranch as we know it.
Lauren: No, but I don’t think she’ll ever fully trust him, either. Madison will always put her kids first, and her extended family (Strand, Daniel, Ofelia, etc.) in a very close second.
Sophie: I think he will trust her eventually.
Ivy: No! He knows Madison would do anything for the people she loves: she lied the ranchers that the natives killed the Trimbols and sided with Troy, then when things didn’t go well she delivered Jeremiah’s head to Walker, she stole Taqa’s gold to save Strand… I don’t think Walker will ever trust Madison.
4. What are your predictions for the reunion between Daniel and Ofelia?
Jeffrey: I’m excited for the Daniel and Ofelia reunion (if it ever happens), but I’m also worried. Both have obviously changed drastically since they last saw each other and I’m not sure that it will be the happy reunion that we are all expecting. Ofelia isn’t her father’s little girl anymore and that will probably be hard for Daniel to accept, especially after he and Griselda tried so hard to keep her away from the dark parts of the world. I really feel like Daniel and Ofelia will be on opposite sides moving forward.
Jen: I am still not 100% convinced we are going to get that reunion. At the end of this episode, Daniel says to Strand along the lines of ‘this isn’t goodbye. I will see you in five days, with my daughter…’ I am no fool. When you hear a character say a phrase like that, on a show like this, there’s a really good chance that one of these characters will die before that.
Learning of Ofelia’s location and what she’s done since picking up with the Nation, was both heaven and hell for Daniel to hear. Knowing she’s alive, but also knowing she’s becoming the shadow of what he used to be must be crushing to him. If they ARE able to be reunited (which, I am totally pulling for BTW), I think for him it will just as sad, as it is happy. Ofelia will be thrilled to see her father alive, but she’s definitely not the wallflower he remembers.
Lauren: I think I said this last week, but it’s not going to go well. Ofelia is tougher now, she doesn’t need to hide behind Daniel for protection. You saw how appalled he was to learn that she manipulated and killed people for Walker — he’s going to be just as appalled when he gets to witness it.
Sophie: I think it will be bittersweet. Sweet, because they’ll be pleased to see each other and know each other are okay. But after Daniel’s reaction to Walker telling him what she did to people, he didn’t seem too enthused, so he is likely to have some harsh words for her.
Ivy: Ahh Daniel seemed really hurt when he found out what Ofelia did, but I expect an emotional reunion. And then maybe a good father-daughter talk. Daniel has never wanted Ofelia to become like him, a killer. He was always trying to prevent that and now I think he’s disappointed, and Ofelia will feel that disappointment
5. What’s a better long-term solution: staying on the ranch, or moving into the dam? What would you do?
Jeffrey: I think staying on the Ranch is the better option for now because the endless supply of water at the Dam will likely lead to it being overrun at some point. Water is the most important resource in the world and people will fight and die to get to it. That being said, I don’t think the Ranch will be safe forever and the fact that there aren’t any real defenses against the Infected leads me to believe that a herd will pass through at some point. This may not be until next season, but I feel like Madison and the others will have to evacuate the Ranch and find a new home; maybe that Colorado colony that was mentioned in the first half of the season?
Jen: Out of the two, the ranch feels like the better option. Both camps are in a state of unrest, but it appears the best possibility of survival, is on the ranch. They are more exposed, but they also have more resources as far as food, livestock, and people.
Lauren: K, let’s be real here: it’s the apocalypse. They’re both doomed. Walker was quick to drop Madison and attempt to return to the ranch so he could get rid of her people — including her kids. Back at the dam, we see that Daniel isn’t just being crazy, paranoid Daniel — the people really are ready to take the dam from Lola. Take some water, raid the ranch supplies and GTFO!
Sophie: I’d move to the dam, there is water and plenty of surrounding land to grow food. I’d let Walker and his people keep the ranch and make a trade deal.
Ivy: Moving into the dam is the smartest decision, but everyone needs a place to call it a home. So maybe I would try my chances with the ranch and the community in it, and if things didn’t go well I would be going straight to the dam.
Final Verdict: All of our heroes this week were shady as hell! But it works!
It was great to see Daniel, Strand, and Madison back together again, and even better to see Daniel’s face when he learned Ofelia was in fact alive. Rubén Blades is a joy to watch because we never know what his character will do, and he frequently steals the scenes he’s in. I never expected him to tell Strand that if his plans benefit him, he’ll back him. I also genuinely feared for Walker when he revealed Ofelia was a soldier, a chip off the old block because that is *not* how Daniel raised her. Colman Domingo’s Strand is also a joy to watch for the same reason. I was surprised again and again, from his beeper distraction for the herd to his touching chat with Madison to the truck explosion. He gets things done one way or another – which explains how he always seems to find himself in trouble. That being said, there were pockets of this episode that either dragged on or went by way too fast for my liking. I would have enjoyed more time in the sewers, or maybe experiencing a bigger threat from the fire-walker zombies after the explosion. Our main three – Daniel, Strand, and Madison – manipulated the situation at the dam to achieve the ends they all wanted. There’s a lot of moral ambiguity in this world, which makes for very interesting television but, damn, if it doesn’t make you feel a little dirty when you cheer for their successes. Will they reap what they sow? We just have to keep watching to find out.