AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 5: “Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame”
Directed by Daniel Stamm
Written by Suzanne Heathcote
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “100” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Red Dirt” – click here
Russell (Worth Howe) wakes to find his wife Martha (Heather Wynters) having turned. He welcomes her into his arms. She can only gum at her neck, her teeth in a glass by the table. One of the more profoundly creepy things I’ve seen. These are the old people Nick (Frank Dillane) saw dancing before, in the previous episode. The old man puts a gun to his head, pulls the trigger, and kills him and his wife. Knocking over a lantern, setting fire to their house.
Everybody’s alerted to the fire. Jake (Sam Underwood) leads the charge to get water on its blaze, though all is lost in terms of the house. When Jeremiah (Dayton Callie) arrives he makes it clear: “They‘re gone. Save the water. Let it burn.” No sense in trying to save the people, already dead. Still, a harsh thing to watch.
Madison (Kim Dickens) gets a bit of flack from one of the men going out in a search party. Of course Nick and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) don’t want her to go, especially with Troy (Daniel Sharman). She’d rather keep the enemy close, understand the Otto family. She believes he won’t hurt her. I think she’s right, though I’m still wary of him. He’s a psychopath. All the same, Madison can handle herself. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it every time: she’s bad ass, tough as hell.
Everyone’s dealing with things in their own way. For her part, Luciana (Danay Garcia) thinks it’s romantic that they were “together ‘till the end.” She wants to leave that ranch and get to Tijuana. She says there are prohibition tunnels she and Nick can use to get there. He stalls, which worries her. That he might not be able to leave his family.
In a car together on the road, Daniel (Rubén Blades) and Victor (Colman Domingo) have a bit of trouble. Strand doesn’t always say what he means, exactly. The old man just wants to track down his daughter Ofelia (Mercedes Mason), so instead of waiting for the right time or a perfect plan they speed on through a horde of walkers. SPLAT!
Alicia and Jake are getting to know one another better. He’s taking the fire hard, the old couple were one of the “founding families” of the whole place together with Jeremiah and a couple others. So Jake and Alicia get talking, finding comforting in each other. More than just talking, too.
Out in the shit, Madison supports Troy, as they stop where a prison bus has crashed. Everyone takes a handheld weapon. She gets herself a nice medieval-style axe. The jerk from earlier helps her out when a couple walkers get the jump on her, but she fares well overall. The jerk actually gives her credit, not that she needs his approval. Goes a long way with those macho sorts, anyways.
The title of this episode comes from Charles Bukowski. We see that Jake likes him, he’s a bit of a writer, too. Catch is when he gives Alicia a copy, she refuses it saying: “What‘s the point?” This brings up an important part of the apocalypse. Some people still value things, such as art. Others feel as if these aren’t worth holding onto, when survival is pretty much the single thought on everyone’s mind.
On the other side, Jeremiah sees guns as art. Clashing with the worldview of Nick, who’s more a modern day hippie, if we’re meant to categorise him. A conscientious objector in the zombie era. Although he’s not opposed to killing for survival, like everyone else. Just not with a weapon like a gun, a cheap and easy way to death.
Jeremiah: “It‘s a beautiful gun”
Nick: “Isn‘t that a contradiction?”
The search party gets to where the chopper crashed. Only it’s no longer there; someone, somehow, hauled the wreck away. They’ve got to figure out where these people are, and who, why they attacked their people. Why they killed some.
They come across a house on higher ground. Blood everywhere. No sign of anybody. Except for a pile of smoking, recently burned bodies. An old man sits on a chair, a hole in the back of his head. A raven picking at it. He’s mumbling the poem “Antigonish” by William Hughes Mearns. Everyone is shocked, one guy pukes. Madison puts him out of his misery smoothly, with mercy. Then they find a Native man named Qaletqa Walker (Michael Greyeyes), he’s known to Troy. A tense situation. Walker makes them drop their guns, even commands they take off their boots. Seems that the ranch is on Native land. Oh, shit. But Madison has her say, she reminds this man they shot down the chopper, that they killed her husband; a native of his own land, of the Maori in New Zealand. Gotta mean something.
Strand and Daniel arrive at the hotel after nightfall. The place is an absolute mess of dead walkers, blood, guts, broken glass, broken everything. Then the old man makes Strand tell the truth, nearly feeding him to the walkers. Although he manages to get away. Not quick enough, as he watches Daniel take off in the car without him. Again left in a horrible predicament.
Trouble brews a bit when Troy’s getting stressed, Madison tries to play the mediator. He doesn’t like that she steps out of line. “You wanna be a mama‘s boy?” she asks him. She uses the memory of his mother to quell his anger. Learning how to control him, a weak man with mommy issues. This is good. Gives her a leg up on things.
However, in the night he puts a blade to her throat. He doesn’t know whether he wants to fuck Madison or kill her. A dangerous, ugly thing. Which another man in the party witnesses, though he chooses to roll over and sleep rather than say or do anything.
In the morning Nick wakes up to see that Luciana’s left without him. The search party go for the rest of their walk without anything on their feet, as Walker and his people are ready to take back their land. There are many things about to happen come next episode. “Red Dirt” is the following chapter. Expect bloodshed and war, possibly. Or, who knows?