Though the ratings of Fear the Walking Dead do not compare to the parent series, it’s nevertheless managed to hold on as one of the top-rated series on cable with savvy scheduling by AMC. Season 3A was sandwiched in between The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones while Season 3B will fill the five-week gap between Game of Thrones and the return of The Walking Dead. Let’s take a look to see how The Walking Dead companion series –which returned this week with back-to-back episodes — is filling the dead spots on the cable schedule.
Nick and Troy
The most compelling storyline in the two-hour premiere — technically two episodes, “Minotaur” and “The Diviner” — involves Nick, Troy, and the spirit of Otto. Though Nick shot and killed Otto in the midseason finale to save Madison from the guilt of having to do it herself, the prevailing belief among the Broken Ranchers is that Otto killed himself to save his legacy. The truce between Walker and Jake is shaky, but it holds as Walker’s community moves into the property stolen from them by Otto. Troy, however, remains loyal to his dead father, and he acts as a source of inspiration for a few of the ranch’s racist holdouts.
Things go awry, however, when a member of the ranch militia attempts — and fails — to kill Crazy Dog (actual character name). The attempt on Crazy Dog’s life prompts Walker to demand control of the ranch’s arsenal. For reasons that don’t make a lot of sense, Madison hands it over. However, Troy is unwilling to give up his guns, and when Nick tries to convince him to surrender to Walker’s men, Nick inadvertently ends up in cahoots with Troy in a shootout with Walker’s men. The standoff ends only after Nick admits to Troy that he killed Otto (the admission, again, is inexplicable and unnecessary and does nothing to dissuade Troy) and disarms Troy before he gets them both killed.
Ultimately, Walker decides — with the blessing of Madison — to punish Troy by exiling him and Nick by sticking him in a hot box for a few days. Troy wounds one of the Nation members and nearly kills Madison on his way out, but eventually he takes his leave. Troy is clearly the Merle of Fear the Walking Dead, no good racist trash allowed to survive long enough to redeem himself later on. What would The Walking Dead universe do without its exiles? I suspect that Troy will resurface later this season, but in the meantime, the show loses one of its more dynamic characters, even if Troy is awful.
Madison and Walker
The zombie apocalypse is complicated. To wit: Walker killed Madison’s husband, Travis, and nearly killed her son, Nick, by convincing Ofelia to spike his coffee with anthrax. Meanwhile, Madison killed several of Walker’s men last season. Naturally, Madison and Walker are basically best friends now. Jake is the nominal leader of the white people on Broken Ranch, but he’s merely Madison’s puppet, while Walker presides over The Nation.
After Madison discovers that the ranch has nearly run out of water, the two leaders leave to go out and find a new source of water, leaving Alicia and Nick in charge of the ranch, which is on the brink of a civil war. That’s bad decision number one. Before an unfeeling Madison leaves, however, she casually says goodbye to her son, who is imprisoned in a steel box in the middle of the desert. That’s bad decision number two.
While Madison and Walker are out in search of water, they stumble upon Victor Strand at a bazaar (small world, huh?). Victor fails to mention to Madison that he’s not only seen Daniel, but that Daniel holds the answer to all of Madison’s problems because Daniel controls the Tijuana damn. No matter, Madison pays off Victor’s debts anyway and saves him from being ravaged by zombies. She also convinces Walker that Victor can gain them access to the dam even though she has no idea that her friend — and the father of Ofelia — controls all the water in the area, a piece of information that would simplify this entire season.