AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 11: “La Serpiente”
Directed by Josef Kubota Wladyka
Written by Lauren Signorino & Mark Richard
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Diviner” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Brother’s Keeper” – click here
Madison (Kim Dickens), Qaletqa Walker (Michael Greyeyes), and Strand (Colman Domingo) are now on the road together, heading for the dam. Before that Over the highway, they come across a group of walkers and overturned cars in the way, a jam nearly the whole way up, far as the eye can see.
So, what’s Strand’s plan? “Jesus saves.” He tosses an electronic device out the window, letting it beep and draw the zombies out. This gives Walker room to use the eighteen-wheeler to push some of the wreckage out of the way. Then they’re through, they pass a large gate into a junkyard. Safe, if only for a while.
Strand is searching for a car, which he’s found. A beat up old Bug. Madison and Walker aren’t sure why he’s concerned with a shitty little vehicle. It’s because it hides a tunnel underground. When the Native leader worries for the truck, Victor reminds him: “The dead don‘t drive.” And so it’s down into the shitty sewers of America’s southern reaches for the trio, the best way forward.
Hold you breath.
The further they go, the less Qaletqa trusts this man Madison used all his gold to free. He believes Strand is lost. Certainly, it isn’t altogether out of the realm of possibility. The dark stretches of tunnel go on for what feels like forever; walkers overhead occasionally, some in the tunnels themselves. Danger at every blind turn.
Soon, Strand admits to Madison he’s lost. He was searching for a symbol, the Proctor’s Eye(s). But he can’t find it. He also tells her about Daniel (Rubén Blades), his lie concerning Ofelia (Mercedes Mason). Although he’s pleasantly surprised when Madison tells him she’s at the ranch. They’ve got bigger worries, though. Walkers are coming.
Victor: “Ah, hope springs from darkness.”
This claustrophobic scene puts the trio in a tight pipe where they run into a stuck, bloated, rotting zombie. Madison puts a hatchet in its brain, then they’ve got to take the thing apart in pieces, passing it back, getting rid of the limbs, so on. A truly yuck task they share in all its gut sick glory.
Meanwhile, Daniel deals with fallout after firing on people when they riot over the water. Afterwards he finds Madison, Strand, and Walker coming out of a drainpipe. He finally discovers his daughter’s alive. Madison tells him about their water troubles at the ranch. However, this man is dangerous, this post-apocalypse zombie landscape has done nothing for mental state. No telling what he’ll do, what he’s thinking. He speaks with Lola (Lisandra Tena), just as Madison and Walker clash over how to handle the negotiations. Then they all meet, chat. Yet the answer is, no water for the ranch. No trading. Lola don’t play that shit.
Will the former relationship Daniel and Madison had, before the split of the group help? Will Daniel’s desire to see his daughter again aid the ranch in getting what they need? Lola clearly knows he’s a dangerous man, but he’s helped her a great deal, she has a sort of respect or care for him. Simultaneously, Walker isn’t happy with Strand, telling him that if Madison can’t make this deal for the water, the ranchers will suffer. Because the tribe comes first, and there ain’t enough water for everybody!
“There are those who want chaos, but violence begets violence.”
Strand starts uncovering the fact people don’t trust Daniel, that the man is also paranoid. There’s a scratch in the armour, and Efrain (Jesse Borrego) wishes that Lola would simply be done with the dam, “open the flood gates, let the river flow to the people.” He sees the power corrupting everybody in its own way.
Together, Walker and Daniel speak of Ofelia, the former telling of her bravery. The father hears about what she did at the ranch, poisoning people to supposedly save lives. This does nothing for the old man, knowing that his own violent genes have infected his daughter. Suddenly, he isn’t as happy to know where she is, knowing that when they come back together neither of them will be the same person they were before.
Now, Lola and Daniel are at odds, too. She isn’t sure about him anymore, knowing he’s a killer. She doesn’t like ruling through fear, she isn’t prepared to give up that “part of herself,” as Madison said. Then, she gives Daniel an ultimatum: do what she wants, or leave. He’s prepared to stay, right now.
And why? He also has an ultimatum, of sorts, for Victor – whatever the guy’s planning, it’s got to help them both, or else things are gonna get real fucking bad.
Walker’s already done. He’s kicking himself for listening to Madison, he’s leaving. Also says the ranchers must leave. Not enough water, no deal on the horizon. It’s over. This is putting Madison in a hard corner. She pushes Daniel, telling him Ofelia needs him. But that doesn’t work, not on a guy with a blackened, bitter soul.
Only the two of them left, Victor and Madison are going to head out. Well, after they watch a bomb blow up the water truck, busting the gates wide. After that the two of them, as well as Daniel, put down the walkers trying to enter the dam. “Down with the Water Queen” chants come from outside, people are also coming to make their way inside. Perhaps Daniel wasn’t so paranoid after all. Or, y’know, Strand made it happen.
Lola’s prepared to deal for guns, ammo, even with Efrain cautioning against violence. She wants to make the deal. Madison and Walker are headed to set things in motion, hopefully heading off any further nastiness. In five days, the pair must be back with the goods, plus Ofelia. They find Walker on the way, to his happy surprise. A rare happy end to an episode. Calm before the storm.
Another solid chapter in Season 3, pushing forward several plots, giving us more character development, and much more. Just great writing. Truly love some of these characters, especially Strand, Madison, and Walker, all of whom are getting lots of time. Daniel is interesting, too. In a dark way.
“Brother’s Keeper” comes next. Wonder if we’ll see more of Troy. Hmm.