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.
It’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.
Loved 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.