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FEAR THE WALKING DEAD “TEOTWAWKI” Review

By on June 12, 2017

Kim Dickens as Madison Clark, Frank Dillane as Nick Clark - Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 3, Episode 3 - Photo Credit: Michael Desmond/AMC

By Jaylyn Cook

Fear the Walking Dead is pushing its main characters into new territory, and so far, it has been a very trying time for the Clark family. Travis is dead, they are far away from what used to be home, and now they’ve got to live on a sprawling ranch with a group of people that held them hostage only a couple of days before.

 Is it possible for Madison, Nick, and Alicia to find peace within the Otto compound? Sure. But before we find out, as always, we’ll need to start from the beginning.

Episode three opens with scenes from an old, VHS-quality infomercial promoting instructional videos on how to survive the apocalypse. Against a backdrop of riots, looting, and all around destruction from the hands of “foreign nationalists” and “greedy politicians,” a younger, thick-haired Jeremiah Otto calmly urges viewers to buy into his educational program on preparing for the end of the world as we know it (or “TEOTWAWKI” as he calls it) by offering a set of tapes and survival bucket of necessary tools to anyone who called the toll free number scrolling across the screen.

It was clear from the moment we were introduced to Jeremiah’s sons, Troy and Jake, that the Otto patriarch had been planning for TEOTWAWKI for a very, VERY long time. However, we now know that not only has he been anticipating it, but he’s basically made a living off of selling his methods of preparedness.

The people taking shelter at the Otto ranch have obviously bought into what Jeremiah is selling, but what about Madison and the rest of her family? As we saw in the last episode, Nick is clearly uneasy about their new surroundings. Madison insists that he trust her instead of his instincts, and to try as hard as he can to make best of things.

Madison tries her best by attending a grief counseling session with other survivors, where she took the time to both introduce herself and to pay a short tribute to Travis, whose sudden death is understandably still fresh in the minds of his loved ones. During the session, a man questions the overall future of the elder Otto’s survival plan and asks when they’ll take action against the zombie threat growing around them.

Troy riles up the crowd by promising that they’ll go out and fight back sooner than later, while Jake calms them down by reminding them that preparation and patience is key. These conflicting viewpoints between brothers are probably going to spell trouble for them down the road, so I’d keep an eye out for them as the season continues.

Speaking of Troy, he and Madison have a tense conversation not too long after the counseling session ends. She grills him on his sociopathic and murderous tendencies, while he tries to convince her that Nick doesn’t belong on the ranch. She effortlessly stands for her son, and Troy walks away a salty, one-eyed man.

Meanwhile, Nick and Alicia are having a tough time adjusting to their new lives within the safe haven for survivors. They feel like everyone is against them. Madison says they’ll fit in over time. They want to go somewhere else. Madison reminds them that the world outside of the ranch is the reason Travis is dead. The conversation ends in silence and frustration, but taking the concerns of her children to heart, Madison confronts Jeremiah on Troy’s intimidating behavior.

Jeremiah insists that they have nothing to worry about, and Jake says that he’ll handle his brother. Jake follows through by telling Troy to stay away from the Clarks. Whether or not he’ll listen is up in the air, but if I had to guess, I’d say he won’t.

Back to Nick and Alicia. After having a heart-to-heart about their frustrations, Alicia decides to take her mom’s advice and try to make friends on the ranch. She joins a group of kids her age under the original impression that they led a bible study, but as it turns out, they routinely sneak to an underground bunker in the woods to get high and veg out.

Oh, and it should be mentioned that they also have the decapitated head of a walker on display in a cage. His name is Geoff. We’ll get back to that some other time.

Back on the surface, Madison quickly comes to realize that the friendly, non-swearing, wholesome image that Jeremiah has put on for years is nothing but an act. An outtake from one of the informercials he filmed shows him unleashing an angry, foul mouthed tirade toward his deceased wife while his young boys watch in terror. Jeremiah walks in on her and admits that he had a bit of a mean streak back in the day, but that man in the video is now gone.

“It’s funny where we start and where we end up,” he tells Madison. She doesn’t look convinced at first, but after a smoke break and a little more convincing regarding his TEOTWAWKI plan, she comes to trust Jeremiah and buys into the process.

Late in the night, Troy convinces Nick to join him and a few others on a hunting excursion. When the two are alone, Nick attacks Troy and attempts to intimidate him. When it doesn’t work, the two wrestle a bit before Troy ultimately decides that he’s seen enough out of Nick to consider him a friend. This is most likely bad for Nick, since we know what Troy is capable of, but Nick’s influence could also be a good thing for Troy. Maybe.

In an effort to prove her newfound loyalty to the Otto family, Madison agrees to join Troy and a group of other survivors on a trek outside of the ranch to check for anything that may threaten the security of the community. She also seems to extend an olive branch to Troy by sitting next to him at lunch.

Every member of the Clark family has apparently found their purpose on the ranch in a relatively short amount of time, but where will it all lead? How long will it take for something to seriously unravel all of the trust they’ve just now started to build – because unraveling will no doubt occur at some point.

When it does, to whom can Madison and her family turn? Stay tuned.

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