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.

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Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 9: “Minotaur”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 9: “Minotaur”
Directed by Stefan Schwartz
Written by Mike Zunic

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Children of Wrath” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Diviner” – click here
Pic 1“Death is Not the End” plays as we see how things are now at the ranch, since last we were with Madison (Kim Dickens) and her family, the remaining Ottos, Troy (Daniel Sharman) and Jake (Sam Underwood). And while things are okay, they’re certainly not great. They never are, not in the post-zombie apocalypse wasteland of America. Only gets so good. Nick (Frank Dillane) is getting closer and closer to Troy, fitting further into the militia-style living and I’m actually a bit worried about his mental state. Meanwhile, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Jake are living together, getting by, though he’s not feeling well; I wonder if his illness is serious.
The power structures at the ranch have changed, certainly. With the Otto patriarch gone, Madison is taking on bigger responsibilities, more leadership. Right now there’s trouble, and the tougher their group the easier things might go with Qaletqa Walker (Michael Greyeyes) and his tribe.
The trailers are arriving, Walker’s leading his people onto the land. But what will happen next?
Pic 1ATroy isn’t ready to “accept” only “tolerate” the tribe. His brother’s more willing to work with Walker, in order to make the transition smoother; Jake wants them all to survive, rather than a large number of them dying in a fight over the land. They’ve got the weapons and ammunition setup so that it takes both Jake and Walker to unlock the storage. They’ll attempt to co-exist.
My favourite thing about Season 3 is the dynamics of families. There are all sorts of father issues, mother issues, other familial issues plaguing characters. Nick and Troy talk about fathers, discussing their resentments for their own, their ends, so on.
South of the border, Daniel (Rubén Blades) is helping keep things on track, helping Lola (Lisandra Tena) take over as leader. I’m imagining he’s headed elsewhere, soon enough. Or perhaps he’ll surprise us. There’s of course more to come with Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) eventually, as well. If they ever come together again.
Rallying his group at the ranch, Jake makes the case to forgive, forget, to move on and try finding a way to live as one with Walker. “Fear creates fury, fury lets blood,” says the Native leader. He also says that Jeremiah’s “sacrifice” took away his grudge. Now, he’s ready and willing to fight the “hell outside” that lurks around them everywhere. And so all raise a drink with him.
Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 9.42.04 PMYet all is not well. Because as long as Troy’s alive, and his lie about Walker’s tribe killing the Trimbles is allowed to live on, too, then there’s never going to be full peace. Never.
Out burying those old bones, Walker talks with Alycia. She doesn’t want him and her mother talking too much, believing it’s creating discord and mixed messages. The man knows Madison enough now to realise she’ll do what needs doing.
And there’s some nasty business brewing. A kid named Terrance (Phillip Fallon) takes issue with the death of Gretchen, supposedly at the hands of the tribe. He tries shooting someone, though he gets wrestled away, only injuring a man. Then a tribesman puts Terrance in a headlock, crushing his throat. The kid’s as good as dead.
Things have become very tense. Not only that, there’s two lies floating around: the lie about Walker, as well as the lie being kept about how Jeremiah officially died. Could get wildly ugly should the truth soon slip free.
Guns are being handed over at this point. Jake tries keeping the peace, and safety – “one pussy ass rationalisation,” says his brother – so he agrees to let Walker have control over the arsenal. Only problem is getting the guns from everyone, particularly Troy. That doesn’t go over. He pulls a gun, and while Nick tries calming things down nothing’s easy. This puts them in a terrible position. Walker believes it’s a lost cause. Madison wants to try talking him out of anything fucking crazy.
What we have now is an utterly insane moment for Troy. He’s ready to start popping heads with a sniper rifle from the top of his house. His new buddy Nick, despite his previous feelings, actually doesn’t want to see anything bad happen to him. But lord, it’s looking scary.
Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 10.00.47 PMBefore Madison can talk the guy down shots rain down on the house, with Nick still inside. Men lay siege to the place, as Troy returns fire. When one of the tribesmen goes to stab Nick, guess who’s there to take the blade right through his hand? You guessed it. This puts the two young men in even further cramped situations. At the same time, Nick is seeing the path he’s almost set himself on, falling into the militia thinking that’s taken the younger Otto into dark, dark territory.
Finally, Nick pulls Troy to the floor, fighting with him to surrender. What stops everything? He admits to killing Jeremiah. This rocks Troy, allowing time for the men to break in the door and put an end to the gunfight. Simultaneously, Madison and Walker discuss what justice will come to settle things. Troy will receive exile. They want to punish Nick for joining him, but he only did it to keep peace amongst the groups.
Then there’s the relationship between Troy and Jake. It isn’t great. Especially not since the older brother has to tell little brother he’s being sent out into the wasteland on his own. All he asks is for Madison to take him out there on his final ride, so he can be sure nobody kills him instead: “I trust her.” A surprisingly easy goodbye.
Troy still doesn’t go easy. On the truck ride, before he’s let loose, he does some hardcore shit then kills one of the Native men. Madison aims the gun, pleading that he just leaves. Then they have a little discussion about his dear ole pa. Before she can pull the trigger, he knocks the gun from her hand. She manages to get it back, headbutting herself out of his grip.
In the end, he walks into the horizon. Gone. For now.
Pic 4Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 10.08.36 PMGreat way to jump back into Season 3 after the mid-season finale! Love this series, almost at times more than The Walking Dead. Mainly because there’s a very desperate feeling of humanity slowly draining away in the earliest weeks and months of the zombie apocalypse.
“The Diviner” is next. Hope to see some more wildness, I’m sure we will.