AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 9: “Minotaur”
Directed by Stefan Schwartz
Written by Mike Zunic
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Children of Wrath” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Diviner” – click here
“Death is Not the End” plays as we see how things are now at the ranch, since last we were with Madison (Kim Dickens) and her family, the remaining Ottos, Troy (Daniel Sharman) and Jake (Sam Underwood). And while things are okay, they’re certainly not great. They never are, not in the post-zombie apocalypse wasteland of America. Only gets so good. Nick (Frank Dillane) is getting closer and closer to Troy, fitting further into the militia-style living and I’m actually a bit worried about his mental state. Meanwhile, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Jake are living together, getting by, though he’s not feeling well; I wonder if his illness is serious.
The power structures at the ranch have changed, certainly. With the Otto patriarch gone, Madison is taking on bigger responsibilities, more leadership. Right now there’s trouble, and the tougher their group the easier things might go with Qaletqa Walker (Michael Greyeyes) and his tribe.
The trailers are arriving, Walker’s leading his people onto the land. But what will happen next?
Troy isn’t ready to “accept” only “tolerate” the tribe. His brother’s more willing to work with Walker, in order to make the transition smoother; Jake wants them all to survive, rather than a large number of them dying in a fight over the land. They’ve got the weapons and ammunition setup so that it takes both Jake and Walker to unlock the storage. They’ll attempt to co-exist.
My favourite thing about Season 3 is the dynamics of families. There are all sorts of father issues, mother issues, other familial issues plaguing characters. Nick and Troy talk about fathers, discussing their resentments for their own, their ends, so on.
South of the border, Daniel (Rubén Blades) is helping keep things on track, helping Lola (Lisandra Tena) take over as leader. I’m imagining he’s headed elsewhere, soon enough. Or perhaps he’ll surprise us. There’s of course more to come with Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) eventually, as well. If they ever come together again.
Rallying his group at the ranch, Jake makes the case to forgive, forget, to move on and try finding a way to live as one with Walker. “Fear creates fury, fury lets blood,” says the Native leader. He also says that Jeremiah’s “sacrifice” took away his grudge. Now, he’s ready and willing to fight the “hell outside” that lurks around them everywhere. And so all raise a drink with him.
Yet all is not well. Because as long as Troy’s alive, and his lie about Walker’s tribe killing the Trimbles is allowed to live on, too, then there’s never going to be full peace. Never.
Out burying those old bones, Walker talks with Alycia. She doesn’t want him and her mother talking too much, believing it’s creating discord and mixed messages. The man knows Madison enough now to realise she’ll do what needs doing.
And there’s some nasty business brewing. A kid named Terrance (Phillip Fallon) takes issue with the death of Gretchen, supposedly at the hands of the tribe. He tries shooting someone, though he gets wrestled away, only injuring a man. Then a tribesman puts Terrance in a headlock, crushing his throat. The kid’s as good as dead.
Things have become very tense. Not only that, there’s two lies floating around: the lie about Walker, as well as the lie being kept about how Jeremiah officially died. Could get wildly ugly should the truth soon slip free.
Guns are being handed over at this point. Jake tries keeping the peace, and safety – “one pussy ass rationalisation,” says his brother – so he agrees to let Walker have control over the arsenal. Only problem is getting the guns from everyone, particularly Troy. That doesn’t go over. He pulls a gun, and while Nick tries calming things down nothing’s easy. This puts them in a terrible position. Walker believes it’s a lost cause. Madison wants to try talking him out of anything fucking crazy.
What we have now is an utterly insane moment for Troy. He’s ready to start popping heads with a sniper rifle from the top of his house. His new buddy Nick, despite his previous feelings, actually doesn’t want to see anything bad happen to him. But lord, it’s looking scary.
Before Madison can talk the guy down shots rain down on the house, with Nick still inside. Men lay siege to the place, as Troy returns fire. When one of the tribesmen goes to stab Nick, guess who’s there to take the blade right through his hand? You guessed it. This puts the two young men in even further cramped situations. At the same time, Nick is seeing the path he’s almost set himself on, falling into the militia thinking that’s taken the younger Otto into dark, dark territory.
Finally, Nick pulls Troy to the floor, fighting with him to surrender. What stops everything? He admits to killing Jeremiah. This rocks Troy, allowing time for the men to break in the door and put an end to the gunfight. Simultaneously, Madison and Walker discuss what justice will come to settle things. Troy will receive exile. They want to punish Nick for joining him, but he only did it to keep peace amongst the groups.
Then there’s the relationship between Troy and Jake. It isn’t great. Especially not since the older brother has to tell little brother he’s being sent out into the wasteland on his own. All he asks is for Madison to take him out there on his final ride, so he can be sure nobody kills him instead: “I trust her.” A surprisingly easy goodbye.
Troy still doesn’t go easy. On the truck ride, before he’s let loose, he does some hardcore shit then kills one of the Native men. Madison aims the gun, pleading that he just leaves. Then they have a little discussion about his dear ole pa. Before she can pull the trigger, he knocks the gun from her hand. She manages to get it back, headbutting herself out of his grip.
In the end, he walks into the horizon. Gone. For now.
Great way to jump back into Season 3 after the mid-season finale! Love this series, almost at times more than The Walking Dead. Mainly because there’s a very desperate feeling of humanity slowly draining away in the earliest weeks and months of the zombie apocalypse.
“The Diviner” is next. Hope to see some more wildness, I’m sure we will.