AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 8: “Children of Wrath”
Directed by Andrew Bernstein
Written by Jami O’Brien
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Unveiling” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Minotaur” – click here
We flashback to Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) on the road by herself, after fleeing Mexico and leaving the others behind. Right before she meets Jeremiah Otto (Dayton Callie), firing bullets at her from a distance. Before greeting her: “Welcome to America.”
She tells him where she’s headed, explaining about her fiancee. The old man says it’s best to probably go back to Mexico. The States are a wasteland now. There’s a clear air of racism about Jeremiah, he’s not a cheerleader for “brown people” and that’s something we already knew.
So he leaves her in the middle of nowhere. She continues on, dehydrating worse as the time passes, her skin beaten down by the wind, blowing sand, the desert heat. Later, she hallucinates seeing her father trying to keep her alive as she wants to lay down close her eyes. Who comes upon her? None other than Qaletqa Walker (Michael Greyeyes).
He takes her back to the Black Hat Reservation. He tends to her wounds, helps her wash the blood and dirty from her skin. Feeding her. Generally nursing Ofelia back to health. Not worried about the colour of her skin, as Jeremiah was before.
We cut back to where we left Ofelia previously last episode, running from the ranch after she set in motion a dangerous series of events, leaving many dead, poor Nick (Frank Dillane) half poisoned. Madison (Kim Dickens) chases her down – “What did you do?” she screams while beating her senseless. Violence everywhere. Luckily, the ranch survives, though their numbers have been chopped slightly, and many are left not well. Some still dying, turning into the undead.
Madison brings Ofelia at gunpoint to the Black Hat, confronting Walker. She wants answers, and resolution. She wants to know what was put into the coffee, what’s poisoned her son. “Anthrax,” he tells her. Incurable. At the same time, Walker respects Madison, not wanting her harmed. Says she’s “more of a man” than either of the Ottos. And she makes it very clear they’re not going anywhere. They’ll fight and die with the ranch.
Back south of the border, our man Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) is surviving, not yet food for the walkers. He’s crafty, a survivalist in his own right. Funny enough he stumbles onto his boat the Abigail near shore; little worse for the wear, but not entirely fucked up. On board are a group of zombies. He locates a harpoon, then takes them on one by one. He can handle himself, good as anybody. Nice aim, too.
Relationships at the ranch are deteriorating. Nobody’s clear on what to do next, both Troy (Daniel Sharman) and Jake (Sam Underwood) have their own ideas about what to do. Madison’s in the middle, as is Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey). All the while people are poisoned with anthrax, an attack by the tribe coming sooner than later.
Even Jake isn’t well, even as he pretends otherwise. He and Nick come together, that’s one good thing. he warns of getting too close to Jeremiah, that he’ll be let down. That all of this bullshit is due to him. Becomes clearer every episode that the Otto patriarch is a racist, with no problem stealing the land of a Native tribe.
The tribe finds parts of their land blazing in flames, Troy and the remainder of the militia, as well as Madison and Alicia on the horizon. Everything’s going sideways, fast. Back at the ranch, Nick is digging under his little house. He’s found something he wants to share with Jeremiah: a skull. To whom does it belong? The old fella tells a story about the Natives wanting their land back, killing cattle. He and the other Founding Fathers killed several of the men. The skull belongs to Walker’s father.
Jeremiah: “Get right with the past, or get off my land.”
Madison and Troy and the others get back with the tribe on their tails, a trailer in tow with tribal artefacts to help in bargaining. There’s also a big wedge now between Nick and Jeremiah, as the younger of the two calls the older out on his lies. The Clarks are trying to figure out what they need to do. Nick tells his mother there has to be “a line” where they draw their morality in the sand. More than that Alicia finally finds out the truth about what Troy did to the Trimbol family. The family’s real messed up now. Morality officially up in the air, scattered everywhere.
Strand’s drunk on champagne, lying by the radio on his boat. He hears a transmission from Russia, more about the rest of the world and its state. They share a few nice moments over famous “last words” from Chekhov to Karl Marx and more. A brief respite from the ugliness of the new apocalyptic world.
“Do not wait until your death bed to enjoy your champagne, Victor.”
Doesn’t look like a deal will go smoothly with Walker, even after Madison offers up the skull of his father. It’s either leave or die. No more options, no more bargaining chips. In with Jeremiah, Madison talks more about the situation, about how he’s leading them all wrong. She offers him a solution: kill yourself. He won’t, though. He wants her to kill him. He’s sticking to his racist guns. Then once Nick shows up the deed is done; he finishes it off before mom can take a shot.
Madison passes it off to Troy and Jake as a suicide. Making things look better for all involved, for everybody on the ranch. A new beginning for the place, a way to placate Walker and the tribe. But how long can Nick and Madison hang onto their humanity? If this is the cost of surviving in the new world, is it really worth it? These are the moral decisions with which people in the post-zombie apocalypse have to come to grip with, else they perish. Life or death at any given moment. For now, Walker has what he wants, and the folk at the ranch are safe.
Only question is, where do the people at the ranch go from here? Will Madison help lead them? Will Troy want to take charge as his brother Jake refuses to be the leader? We’ll see when the season returns after the break.
I’ve always loved Fear the Walking Dead. No denying the quality has shot up in this latest season. Mid-season break will take us into the fall, likely somewhere around when The Walking Dead premieres for its 8th season. I do hope we’ll get a 4th out of this one, too. So many good characters, wild situations, various plots and twists. Can’t wait for the return.