While last week offered up a taste of Madison, Strand, and Walker doing some work at the dam, Fear the Walking Dead season 3 episode 12 was a story geared more around the Ranch. Alicia, Nick, and Sam were doing their best to hold the fort back home, but only to varying degrees of success.
Take, for example, Jake, who was suddenly realized that he didn’t have a whole lot keeping him at the Ranch anymore. His father Jeremiah was dead, and Troy had been shipped away. For the first part of the episode, he did his part to contemplate leaving the are behind and going with Alicia somewhere new. The problem that he ran into was simple this: Alicia wasn’t biting. She has been through enough in this world at the moment that the idea of taking off was not something she was all that interested in doing. The ranch and the people needed her.
While Jake may have thought about saying goodbye, halfway through the episode we saw something clearly keeping him there: The sudden return of Troy. Basically, he is the show’s version of Old Yeller at this one: A rabid dog running around who sooner or later may need to be put down. He came and warned the Ranch that danger was coming, and it just so turns out that he was the person bringing them. He had with him a whole horde of walkers, ones who followed his every whim.
The question for Jake became this: Whether or not he should shoot Troy. Troy made that all the more difficult by setting Nick up for a fall on killing Jeremiah. Basically, Jake couldn’t bring himself to murdering his brother (certainly understandable, even within this world), but what this did mean is that Jake wasn’t quick enough to run from a zombie attack. He was bitten, which led in turn to Nick cutting off his arm. Then, Jake died as a result of his injuries. Not Troy’s finest hour.
After this, the zombie horde started getting closer to Broke Jaw, and for the first time really all season we had a zombie attack en masse impacting the people around the Ranch. Things got crazy, especially as Alicia and Ofelia found themselves having to take charge with so many other people gone from the ranch. The most powerful moment came via Alicia, who had to deliver a headshot for the sake of preserving someone’s dignity and to keep them from turning. She survived, but the longer the story and the bloody massacre at the ranch went on, the more devastating it became. We’re somewhat surprised that we only lost as many people as we did.
This is an episode that ended with no whimper: There was a trial of blood, and a quick escape into the pantry for the remaining survivors. Eventually, Jake turned to a zombie in the closing minutes, and Troy had to put him down for good. From here, Nick and Troy have a new mission: Trying to save everyone who’s left.
Our final CarterMatt verdict
In terms of bringing the crazy, Fear the Walking Dead season 3 episode 13 was the best of the season. It also gave us the best performance arguably of Daniel Sharman’s career as Troy Otto found himself completely lost in some of his delusions. We weren’t sure how an episode without either Madison or Strand would fare, but Fear the Walking Dead season 3 continues to remind us that it’s the best season to date.