AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 15: “Things Bad Begun”
Directed by Andrew Bernstein
Written by Jami O’Brien
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “El Matadero” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 finale, “Sleigh Ride” – click here
Nick (Frank Dillane) has a shopping cart full of zombie heads. He’s cleaning the place up in front of the Bazaar. Why? He’s helping the man in the bar come up with more brain stem, y’know, for the local economy. And it helps their people fight harder, needing no sleep. But who are they fighting? Nick’s curious. Right now, he only cares about the cash.
There’s also Troy (Daniel Sharman) trying to fit in, trying to figure out what’s about to go down. He goes to find his buddy, telling him: “Your mother‘s in trouble, Nick.” Oh, shit.
Over at the dam, Madison (Kim Dickens) and Strand (Colman Domingo) talk, he tries convincing her of something bigger, better than right now. She wanted a future for her children, maybe grandchildren, a normal life again somehow. Only she’s there without her kids. Still, Strand believes they can make that life, if they want it bad enough. They even drink to it.
And elsewhere, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) is driving around with Diana (Edwina Findley Dickerson). Out of nowhere, they’re smashed into by another vehicle. They take on the men, not allowing them to steal any of their things. Alicia manages to get a gun, but lets the men live, a foolish move. Diana’s leg gets broken in the scuffle, so her new friend has got to try and help her out.
Daniel (Rubén Blades) gets a visit from Walker (Michael Greyeyes), returning a cross necklace Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) had worn. The grieving father feels guilt over not having stopped his daughter’s death. He discovers Walker feels the same way, too, and he has no answers, nobody does. This is life in the post-zombie landscape, nothing is forever, nothing is for sure. Ever.
“Deny Odysseus‘ journey and who the hell is Odysseus?”
Drinking together, Madison and Strand ruminate on the future of the world, the future of stories, how long until The Iliad and other classics are forgotten in this undead world. The conversation turns to murder. She admits having to kill, whereas Strand hasn’t had to do that quite yet. Not cold blooded murder.
At the dam, Nick arrives to fill his mother and others in on the plan at the Bazaar. There are boats, guns, all sorts of weaponry, equipment. Lola (Lisandra Tena) knows a “siege” is coming, a brutal one, Efrain (Jesse Borrego) fears their cruelty. However, everyone has ideas. Nobody wants to desert the place. If they stay, they must fight. On top of everything, Madison worries about Nick, his being back on drugs, and he keeps warning the people coming are worse than anything they’ve come across this far. In the meantime, Walker and Crazy Dog (Justin Rain) are heading their own way.
We also find out Strand made a deal with the Proctors. He’s supposed to let them in, to be able save people and let the Proctors have things easily, under Daniel’s nose. Now, the whole thing’s fucked up, and he wants Nick to take Madison, to leave. Simultaneously we see Daniel becoming suspicious, his behaviour feeling dangerous. He asks Nick questions, quickly figuring out he’s lying. This is making things a little scary. “This is not a way to grieve,” the young man pleads. Nevertheless, he sits for a longer talk with the old dude.
“People don‘t change. We just walk in circles.”
Setting explosives as a last resort, Troy talks to Madison about feeling fear for the first time in a long time, maybe ever, when he was with Nick at the Bazaar, when they had their wild night. She asks that he look out for her son, he needs somebody. I wouldn’t exactly put all my trust in him, though.
Locked in a room together, Daniel presses Nick for information, on how the horde wound up at the pantry bunker. He gets nothing. And this is starting to make the treacherous old bastard. He’s convinced someone caused the horde, in turn causing Ofelia’s death. Soon enough Nick lies, pinning it on Jake (Sam Underwood).
Daniel accepts his lie. For now.
Alicia gets Diana to a man with medical experience named Eddie (James Le Gros). She’s brought to a man in a wheelchair, none other than the infamous Proctor John (Ray McKinnon). The Proctors were a humble motorcycle club. At this point, they’re doing all they can in the this new world. Unfortunately, Proctor John’s got a growth on his spine, rendering his legs fucked up. The man wants Alicia to help Danny in the medical department, to go on to Texas with them. If they fail, they die. Great “incentive,” right?
In surgery, Eddie cuts Proctor John open, digging for the growth. Alicia talks to her patient, who won’t be put under, she tries keeping his mind busy, getting him chatting about his life. And he admires her “tough skin.”
Things aren’t well at the dam, not with Daniel paranoid and Strand scheming behind his back. Nick catches up to mom, telling her they need to leave, and then the truth about Troy comes out. The relationships deteriorate, as the last standing Otto rants about the ranch. Until Madison plants a ball peen hammer in the side of his head and busts his skull open in front of Nick who’s horrified. They leave his corpse to be swallowed in the likelihood of the explosion; you know it’ll come to that.
With the surgery complete, Proctor John is able to wiggle his toes. A sigh of relief around the room. No murder; today, anyway. At the same time, troops are moving for the dam – where Strand has pulled a gun on Lola and Daniel, the latter not believing anything will happen. The two men wrestle. Strand gets the gun under Daniel’s face and pulls the trigger, blowing a hole through his cheek.
Bigger things are going down – the Proctors have invaded the dam, shots are fired, everyone’s running or fighting or both. All out warfare commences. Strand finds Madison and Nick, stashing them away someplace safe. He takes the detonator, promising he’ll help. You can never tell with him.
Visions of the Clark household at the holidays, Christmas music playing. The table’s set, the turkey’s being basted, everything is wonderful. A vision of festive happiness. It’s in the middle of the wasteland, and there’s no real happiness. Alicia’s dead, the Ottos are still dead. Nick has a child with Luciana (Danay Garcia), but they leave her behind, all alone.
What a great lead-up to the finale. “Sleigh Ride” – fittingly titled after this ending, is next. Giddy up.