By Caitlin Brenner

This article contains spoilers for “Fear The Walking Dead” season three.

The return of “Fear The Walking Dead” brought the shock factor and surprises that everyone expects from one of AMC’s biggest hits. However, even with moments of action and fan favorites getting plenty of screentime, “Minotaur/The Diviner” left fans worried for season three’s success due to some of the episode’s character development.

Before the opening credits even began to roll, we saw the ultimate result of Otto’s death in the midseason finale: The Nation is moving into Broke Jaw Ranch. Tensions are high between the Nation and the people of the ranch, bringing out the worst in both groups.

Nation leader Taqa set the mood early on in the episode, stating to the residents at a town meeting “fear creates fury”. This quote stuck in my mind throughout the episode because it highlights the ultimate theme for the rest of the season. The fear these characters face is not the zombies outside the gates, but each other.

This concept is an interesting take for the show, especially when the main enemy is quite literally the walking dead, but I’m eager to see where this takes the rest of the season.

"Fear the Walking Dead" logoSource: Wikimedia

The episode increased the tension as the residents reacted to having only six weeks worth of water left. Broke Jaw Ranch quickly became the Wild West, bullets flying and all. I appreciated how realistic this situation was acted out; once the characters got desperate enough, turning on one another got much easier.

The one character that always keeps viewers on the edge of their seat is Troy, and this episode was no different. Troy’s reaction to the Nation taking away his weapons was very predictable, but the shootout was one of the most entertaining scenes.

Ironically, the one person Troy seems to confide in throughout the episode is Nick. When Nick, during the shootout, chose to reveal to Troy that he had killed Otto, it was completely out of character. Troy was armed with a rifle, leaving Nick completely defenseless if he were to suddenly lash out.

Realistically, Troy would have shot Nick. Even though Nick is my favorite character, I was surprised by Troy’s immediate surrender after hearing this news. Their relationship continues to confuse me, making it unclear if they are on the same side or about to turn on one another.

After being banished, the show set Troy up for a possible return to the ranch. It wouldn’t be shocking if he returned with a vengeance, but any plans he may have are unknown.

Madison’s inability to shoot Troy during their parting words was not too much of a surprise; between her own children, she always favored Nick. Her sympathy sways towards the troubled child, which explains why she didn’t have the strength to kill Troy even when the chance presented itself.

This quality of hers can be aggravating to watch, especially when it affects Alicia and Nick’s usually supportive relationship. Pitting the siblings against each other seemed unnatural for the show. Although it only lasted for one scene, I feel that the writing could have been stronger to highlight Alicia’s anger towards Madison.

The episode began to drag in the middle, but the return of Victor Strand brought back my attention. The writing improved when Strand was on-screen; his sarcasm offered some much needed laughs, and he helped break down Madison’s cold exterior when she told him about Travis’ death.

Strand’s connection to the Tijuana dam is an obvious hint that Daniel will soon cross paths with Madison and eventually Ofelia. Judging by the writing in this episode, we can expect the Clark family to reunite with their original group by the end of the season. I’ve been hoping for this possibility since the beginning of season three, so as long as the writing isn’t too forceful, I’m excited to see these characters interact with one another again.

At the conclusion of the episode, Alicia provided a silver lining. As she began to dig into the ground in search of water, the people of the ranch and the Nation joined forces to help.

The show is setting Alicia up to be an influential leader, which contrasts with her mother. If this show has taught me anything as a viewer, it’s that Madison will do everything in her power to protect her family, even if it means screwing everything up.

In my opinion, the first half of season three was the best “Fear the Walking Dead” has ever been. Judging from this episode, the show could still keep its footing if Madison doesn’t make any rash decisions. If not, no worries. “The Walking Dead” will be back in October.

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