Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 14: “El Matadero”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 14: “El Matadero”
Directed by Stefan Schwartz
Written by Alan Page

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “This Land Is Your Land” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Things Bad Begun” – click here


Strand (Colman Domingo), Madison (Kim Dickens), and Walker (Michael Greyeyes) are headed back to the damn. They have Crazy Dog (Justin Rain) and Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) in tow, the latter of whom isn’t doing so well. She suddenly faints hitting the pavement. They stop the truck, but she says she’s okay, she only lost her grip.
But it’s more than that. She has a bad wound at her shoulder… a bite.
Out on her own elsewhere, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) hears a vehicle stop nearby in the night. She readies herself, nearby she sees people stop. But it’s only Nick (Frank Dillane) and Troy (Daniel Sharman). Her brother thinks she’s “crazy.”
At the Bazaar marketplace, Madison and the rest go through the gates, as Ofelia must do her best to keep her bite and burgeoning illness under wraps until they can meet with her father Daniel (Rubén Blades). They get inside, managing to stow away in Strand’s old hiding place. But the poor girl is getting sicker by the minute.
Madison: “Smile. Your life depends on it.”
Things aren’t so great, though. Madison and Colman are at odds over her decision to hand over a bunch of weaponry for entry. Believing when the time comes to make the deal for the water, they’ll be up the creek once Ofelia most likely dies and they have nothing else to offer.


After Troy and Nick leave Alicia, they head for the marketplace. The former also speaks about how similar they are, the “black sheep” of their families. Difference being he accepts his status, whereas Nick fights against it. But that IS the major difference: Nick is, beneath it all, a good man.
Walker and Madison try making Ofelia comfortable, it’s all they can do. They talk about loss. And Walker, tough as he is, all he’s been through, recognises sometimes there is too much of it. Everyone has a threshold. However, he thinks Madison must do right by Daniel, reunite him with Ofelia. No matter if it ends in violence.
On the road Alicia stops at an On-the-Go Burger joint. Inside are the remains of old meals, a ransacked building, flies and other insects. A customer or two left as withering corpses. While she looks for anything usable, locating a batch of instant potatoes, a walker creeps up. She quickly puts it down, only to notice a group of the undead shambling near the entrance. So she gets into the ball pit, waiting for any of them to make their way inside.
BUT SHE FORGETS WHAT COULD BE UNDER THE BALLS! A zombie kid attacks. She gets a knife in its brain, though the others come in the door. She hides under the balls as they pass. Soon, a woman (Edwina Findley Dickerson) with a pick-axe bursts in slaying them. She cuts off fingers for any rings, even using pliers to pull out gold teeth. This is a bad ass. The mysterious woman likewise steals the potatoes and gets away in a vehicle. Alicia follows her to a parking lot where they face each other. Eventually they come to a compromise: sharing is caring.
At the marketplace, Nick gives his mom a break. When she’s gone he finds the pain medication laying near Ofelia. He takes one; so much for sobriety. Dammit, Nick! I didn’t want this to happen. This is the last thing he, or any of them, needs right now. Troy’s out getting a bite to eat, freaked out by “all the Mexicans” and unsure about what meat is in the quesadillas. Immediately, he notices something a bit off about Nick, as well. Either way, they’re both on the pills, and drinking, too.
Meanwhile, Strand is looking for Proctor John. Wants to make a deal for… something special. Hmm.
Screen Shot 2017-10-09 at 12.31.03 AMScreen Shot 2017-10-09 at 12.31.46 AMIt’s time for Ofelia to go to her father. Madison asks Walker to stay behind, not knowing what Daniel might do if he’s there. So, he says his goodbye to his close friend, for the last time. The two women head outside together, waiting. As they talk, about parents, children, just as Daniel comes across the parking lot, Ofelia dies. The reunion lost. He goes mad, pulling a gun on Madison, believing it a “sick joke.”
I hate this dude. Used to feel there was redemption for him, but he only lashes out at everybody when he’s lived a lifetime of shit. So, I don’t know where they’re taking this character. I hope he does something major to redeem himself, otherwise he’s a horrible man. Later, Madison tries giving him hope. Although he deserves none of it.
Inside, Nick and Troy are buzzed, roaming around in a state of intoxication. Nick finds a place called El Matadero, and the man “with the things.” There’s everything from cocaine to morphine to heroin, to a bit of “locus coeruleus.” Some brain stem. It’ll take you higher than you ever imagined. Nick slugs it back, ready for a trip, as does Troy. Blast off, baby!
Alicia and her new friend eat together, the former talking briefly about the place she and Jake (Sam Underwood) talked about going, before he died. The woman warns it’s all endless ghost towns on the road, nothing to find. But Alicia’s determined, she wants to go her own way or perish. They get one chance to bond again, when they take on a group of walkers together.
Out on their hallucinatory trip, Nick gets wild. He covers himself, and Troy, in blood. Then he runs for a group of walkers, deciding on walking through them. Like he used to do. This time it’s a hell of a lot more dangerous. Yet when Troy sees how it works, he’s mesmerised. They both stand in the midst of a horde and Nick almost sees it as a reminder, that he can’t go his mother’s way anymore.
And this leaves the Clark family divided further, all over again.
Screen Shot 2017-10-09 at 12.44.50 AMScreen Shot 2017-10-09 at 12.58.53 AMLoved this episode. Season 3’s been pretty stellar all around, so I’m looking forward to seeing where we go in these last few episodes. Very interesting things happening with many of the characters.
“Things Bad Begun” comes next week, our penultimate Season 3 finisher.

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Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 12: “Brother’s Keeper”

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
Pic 1Out 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.
Pic 1ABack 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.
Pic 2Things 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?”
Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 12.30.41 AMScreen Shot 2017-09-25 at 12.33.33 AMThe 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 youre dead.”
Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 12.45.03 AMOne 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.