AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 12: “Brother’s Keeper”
Directed by Alrick Riley
Written by Wes Brown
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “La Serpiente” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “This Land Is Your Land” – click here
Out in the wilderness, Troy (Daniel Sharman) writes away in his little book, he eats whatever snakes and other animals he can find to quell the hunger. He’s surviving. But for how long? He has one bullet left in the chamber of his gun, nothing else. He goes back to an old ranch, where they found the old man having his brain pecked out by crows awhile back. In the shed he finds a bit of canned food, some normalcy. Behind a false wall he finds weaponry, as well.
So, for now, it’s a life for Troy. A sense of being back in the world. Except he’s still alone, there’s nobody else. No mother, no father. Not his brother. Not even Nick (Frank Dillane), or Madison (Kim Dickens), either. He’s got solitude and nothing more.
Until he fires off a shot and hears the faint sound of zombies in the distance. At least he has the dead. A super creepy moment.
Back on the ranch, Nick and Crazy Dog (Justin Rain) are actually working together, as well as the rest of the two camps. Our boy’s getting pretty comfortable with a gun. They’ve got to put down a herd of cattle, they’re not well. Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) is doing her best to keep Jake’s (Sam Underwood) head in the right place, he’s lamenting the loss of everything the ranch was in the beginning. Then it turns out he knows there are other places like the ranch, it wasn’t “a monopoly.” However, they can’t take everyone, it’d only be them.
Jake: “It was supposed to be more”
Regardless of what’s going on, Crazy Dog sits uneasy, as Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) keeps his confidence up. But they’re always watching. Best is they do trust Nick, as does everyone. Why wouldn’t you? His character development’s been incredible since the first episode. Such a unique character, Dillane’s brought out the idiosyncrasies and the most impressive qualities of him and the writing.
The question in this season becomes, how far do you go to destroy a monster, or monsters? The human ones, not the walkers. To what extent must a person change, throw away their morality in order to save themselves, and save others? Alicia seems more inclined to be like her mother. Nick has doubts, even if he did kill Jeremiah.
Who turns up that night? Troy himself. No longer in exile. He claims he’s “on a mission.” Says he’s there to return the favour, believing Nick saved him; this IS true. Yet we can see with his talk of “Biblical” nonsense his mind has warped even further than it was already. He says the place will soon be obliterated, and that Jake needs to bear witness, too. Holy fuck. That’s ominous.
Things are getting nasty between Jake and Alicia, their relationship breaking down a bit. All before Nick turns up to tell them about his visitor, all the weird shit he was talking. Alicia believes they’re being lured, though it doesn’t deter Jake. He wants to face his brother, after all that’s happened. When he and Nick go out looking for him, he tells a story about having to put down an animal. This is what he intends to do with his brother. A primitive parallel.
Soon after they discover an enormous dust cloud on the plains. Kicked up by a sprawling horde of the dead. So, the lads decide on trying to change their path. They can’t, because Troy is shooting off rounds in the grenade launcher he found up at the abandoned ranch. Alicia gets words back at the ranch, she talks to Ofelia about what’s going on, even about Troy. She wants help in helping to stop the approaching horde.
Nick wants to talk to Troy; big brother would rather kill him. He talks to the lunatic, who watches on as his “cleansing” goes on before him. He’s bonded with the zombies. He feels like them in a way. He pumps out another grenade, the explosion letting people at the ranch know something’s very wrong. In the meantime, Troy reveals to Jake what truly happened to their father, what Nick did, and what Alicia knows about.
Except Jake doesn’t care. Before he can kill his brother, though, Nick knocks him over the hill where he’s bitten by a zombie. This prompts Nick to cut his forearm off in an effort to save him.
“This is evolution. This is Darwinian.”
“No, this is murder, Troy. Nothing more.”
“Murder. You really wanna go there, Nick?”
The ranch gears up, militia and the tribe together. For better or worse. Crazy Dog allows the weapons to go free, hoping they can fight off any coming attack. At the same time, Nick rushes past the zombies to try getting help for Jake. At the ranch, everyone lines up the trailers and RVs to form a path for the dead. The living hide on one side, pushing the horde further down. They just underestimated exactly how huge the horde was, how many of them were headed for the ranch. Zombies being crawling under the blockade, people chop and stab and slice.
From a nearby hill, Nick watches on, as Troy holds his bleeding brother. Our main man is sick of Troy, whose idiocy has led the ranch to utter destruction, his brother’s likely death and the possible deaths of many others between the ranchers and the Natives. Things are looking grim. Alicia orders everybody into the pantry, as one RV topples, and the dead crawl over the living. She’s left in the midst of it all with Ofelia, forced to put a bullet in one of the militia men’s heads to save him from being eaten alive, reanimated.
Just like Troy must put down his brother after he comes back as a zombie.
We see the resiliency of the human spirit, as Ofelia, Crazy Dog, Alicia, they fight tooth and nail against the walkers even as they’re surrounded by dozens of them. Luckily, many of them make it inside the bunker. Now they’re all trapped together, surrounded outside by walkers.
Troy: “I need some sleep”
Nick: “No, we gotta find a way to save everyone you tried to kill. You can sleep when you‘re dead.”
One of the best episodes of the series! Just unexpected, good character work as usual. Lots to enjoy, to look forward to, and a bit to weep over. Really love Sam Underwood, too bad his character is gone. Yet in a way, I love they did that. Never saw it coming, plus Troy’s left and his morally ugly character will provide more plots to spring up, especially if he and Nick save everyone in the pantry.
“This Land Is Your Land” comes next week.