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FEAR THE WALKING DEAD Mid-Season Finale Recap

By on July 11, 2017

{ictured: Michael Greyeyes as Qaletaqa Walker. Photo Credit AMC

By Jaylyn Cook

Fear the Walking Dead may not be as action-packed as its predecessor, but AMC managed to provide a thrill ride of a mid-season finale with a two-hour episode on Sunday night nevertheless.

“The Unveiling” throws us into the middle of Jake’s journey to negotiate with Walker. Alicia catches up with him and breaks the news about the Trimbol’s untimely deaths. She’s still under the impression that Walker killed them. As we know from last week, that may not necessarily be the truth. 

Jake and Alicia eventually make it to Walker’s reservoir and meet with him in private. The air is tense and charged, but after Jake makes the case for peaceful negotiation Walker decides to hear him out. An agreement is ultimately reached, and Alicia is asked to go back to the ranch and share its terms with Jeremiah. Jake was to stay behind with Walker as his “hostage,” while a member of Walker’s tribe would go as Alicia’s hostage. This is a custom of Walker’s tribe to prevent more bloodshed. 

However, Alicia convinces Jake to go instead, since she doesn’t think Jeremiah will listen to her. She stays behind, and lucky tribe member chosen to go with Jake is Ofelia, who is alive and well after the mayhem at the hotel. 

Jake and Ofelia meet up with Madison and Nick (sporting a terrible new haircut) at the ranch’s border and tell them what’s up with the agreement. Madison isn’t sold on Walker’s capacity to be peaceful, but Ofelia gives Madison her word on his true character. She says he and his tribe are good people, but Madison and Nick still aren’t easily sold. 

Meanwhile, Jake tries to convince Jeremiah to agree to Walker’s terms – which involves sharing some of the ranch’s resources with the tribe. Jeremiah, stubborn as ever, says no. He even calls them “savages” at one point, and claims he “wouldn’t piss in Walker’s mouth” if he were dying of thirst. 

Of course, this is where we realize that Jeremiah really isn’t the wise, Christian old man he claims to be. We already knew that he was racist, but based on the way he talks about Walker and his tribe – people he STOLE land from and left to die years ago – we can really tell that this whole thing really wouldn’t be an issue if Jeremiah just admitted that he’s a land thief and worked to make amends with Walker.

That’s not to say that Walker doesn’t have some red in his ledger either, but can we really blame him? That land was his ancestral birthright, and Jeremiah and the founding fathers took it from them because they felt they could. It doesn’t justify Walker killing Phil, or his men, or Travis (which Alicia took him to task for this episode), but I feel it at least provides a new perspective here. 

Tired of all the empty talk and threats, Madison goes to Troy and asks him to get Alicia away from Walker. He, Nick, Madison, and others go on a late night rescue mission and try to sneak Alicia away undetected. This doesn’t go as plan, as nothing really seems to do on this show. 

After several stabbings, gunfights, and right hooks, the crew heads back to the ranch with Alicia. They’re greeted by Jake, who is less than thrilled that they essentially declared war on Walker and his people. Madison is adamant that Walker wasn’t going to negotiate, but Jeremiah reminds her that a) this was Jake’s show, and b) there’s obviously a reason Troy was so eager to help Madison with her plan. 

Let’s face it: Dude does take a great amount of joy in killing people that are different to him. Remember his “experiments” at the beginning of the season? He knows what he’s doing. 

Jake and Ofelia go back to meet with Walker, and obviously, their arrival was not received warmly. Walker’s men viciously beat Jake, and almost scalp him before Ofelia stops him. Walker sends him back to Jeremiah, officially declaring war on the Ottos. They also unceremoniously dump Ofelia at the ranch too, reuniting her with the Clarks. 

Things are tense, but calm for the time being, despite what lies ahead. That lasts for approximately five minutes, and then, we’re slammed right into “Children of Wrath.”

The Otto ranch is in turmoil as Troy’s men, who were guarding the fences, mysteriously fell ill, died, and turned into walkers. Nick also begins to gasp, and shake, and shiver like the rest of them, which does not forebode well for him. 

But before we find out where that goes, the episode begins with a lengthy cold open that shows what happened to Ofelia after she drove off from the hotel. Lost, dehydrated, and unprotected from the scalding hot sun, she wandered the desert for miles before crossing paths with an an armed stranger. 

That stranger is none other than Jeremiah Otto, who harasses and interrogates Ofelia because of (you guessed it) her skin color. Realizing that she’s not from Mexico, he lets her go, but leaves her to die in the desert with no remorse. As she carries on, becoming weaker and weaker, she has a vision of her father Daniel before passing out. Eventually, she’s rescued and nursed back to health by Walker and his tribe. 

So, again, to recap: Jeremiah Otto is a racist old man who gives people of color hassle because he’s racist. Walker, despite having a strong tendency for violence, shows compassion to others in a turbulent time. It’s easy to see why Ofelia ultimately sides with him during this conflict. It’s also easy to see why she poisoned Nick and the rest of Troy’s militia with anthrax. To make Walker’s impending attack easier. 

Walker reveals this when an enraged Madison takes Ofelia back to him and forces the information out of him at gunpoint. She ultimately has no side in this quarrel, but since Nick’s life hangs in the balance, she’s been forced to act. When she returns to the ranch, her mind is made up. She wants to go to war. Troy is obviously in, and Jake, who has long been the peaceful mediator of the Otto family, decides that there’s been enough talk. War is the only way to end this. 

Back at the Black Hat, Ofelia confronts Walker about the anthrax. While she volunteered to slip the powder into the militia’s coffee, she didn’t exactly know what it was, and was not a fan of being put in the position of harming Nick and the Clarks. Walker reassures her that her debt has been paid, and commends her strength. 

Meanwhile, Nick remembers that Jeremiah once told him that there was “blood in the floors” of his adobe house, so he digs into it and discovers a skull. He asks Jeremiah who it belonged to, and the old man reveals that it’s the skull of Walker’s father, who he killed and buried years ago. 

This is the final straw for Nick and Alicia, who both want Madison to reconsider their allegiance. Jeremiah is clearly not a good person, and will forever be on the wrong side of this issue. Madison tries to justify sticking with him, but that all blows up when Nick spills the beans that she knew Troy killed the Trimbols and not Walker. This upsets Alicia, who calls her out for being heartless. Madison tells them how much she wishes she could have feelings in this day and age. 

Ultimately, she is the one to try and return the ancient relics and the skull to Walker. He doesn’t accept them, and Madison tells Jake that everyone has until sundown the next day to vacate the ranch or they’ll die. 

After the tempers have calmed down between the Clarks, a rare moment of vulnerability reveals a story about her rough upbringing with her alcoholic father – who she ended up shooting to death in an attempt to protect her mother. She comes to terms with the fact that Jeremiah needs to make peace with Walker, and tries to lead him to that decision. Just not in the way anyone thought. 

It turns out that Madison lied to Jake about what Walker said to her during the failed negotiation. Instead of the relics, Walker wants Jeremiah Otto dead to make peace for him killing his father all those years ago. Madison doesn’t want to kill him herself, so she tries to pressure the drunk Jeremiah to kill himself, but his pride once again stands in the way. As he goes in on a drunken tirade, Nick comes in the room and shoots him dead himself. 

After the air cleared, Madison and Nick make it appear that he killed himself. Jake and Troy find the body and react accordingly, before burying the body and having Madison deliver Jeremiah’s head to Walker. He accepts it, and walks away. The war between the Ottos and the Nation has come to an end. For now. 

With Jeremiah now dead, the state of leadership of the ranch is up in the air. The more rational choice to take over for the elder Otto is obviously Jake, but Troy will probably have a thing or two to say about that. 

Also, will we ever see a reunion of the entire group again? Daniel is still roaming around looking for Ofelia, who is back at the Black Hat. Victor spent this episode on board a powerless yacht, aimlessly floating on the ocean, and questioning his existence. It’s possible that will come to a head at some point when the season resumes.

But until then, I guess all we can do is wait. Or write fan fiction. Whichever works best for you. 

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