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TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead (Season 3, Episode 12)

09.24.2017by: Cody Hamman

Season 3, Episode 12: Brother's Keeper

PLOT: Troy Otto is on a mission to destroy the ranch he used to call home, and he's going to use a horde of zombies to do it.

REVIEW: If you're up on your Biblical phrases, the title of Fear the Walking Dead's latest episode might have given it all away. "Brother's Keeper" indicates that the story will center on two brothers, and who else could that be but Jake and Troy Otto? The brothers in the Biblical story were Cain and Abel, and "Am I my brother's keeper?" was Cain's answer when asked where his brother Abel was. Cain knew where Able was; he was just trying to hide the fact that he had murdered his own brother. Two brothers, the black sheep causing the death of the golden child. The title lets you know, it's time to say goodbye to Jake (played by Sam Underwood).

Otto black sheep Troy (Daniel Sharman) was aiming to bring something Biblical down on Broke Jaw Ranch after his exile, and he accomplished it. It just wasn't the exact passage he might have had in mind.

Of course, I can't give Troy all of the credit for Jake's death. He did get an accidental assist from Nick Clark (Frank Dillane), who just couldn't let Jake do the world a favor and put his insane brother out of our misery. He had to interfere, and that interference gives him some responsibility for the death that followed.

Clarks royally screwing things up for other characters is nothing new for this show, that's what that family does, but what was new for Fear the Walking Dead was the dropping of the "f*ck" bomb that came in the middle of the episode. That's not just a first for Fear, as far as I can recall that's the first time AMC had ever let that particular F-word make it to air on a Walking Dead show. Rick did say it in an alternate take of the last moment of Walking Dead's season 4 finale, but that's not the take they went with. The Negan character throws "f*ck"s left and right in the comic book source material, but I don't think he has even let one slip on The Walking Dead. If Nick can say "F*ck" on Fear the Walking Dead, Negan better be "f*ck"ing around in season 8 of this show's companion series.

Certainly, the occasion called for some strong language. Left to wander the desert with only one bullet in his gun, Troy found a way to cause a whole lot of trouble with that one bullet, drawing the attention of a huge horde of zombies toward the ranch. The way the movement of this horde is presented as it advances toward the ranch was really cool - that many zombies managed to kick up a lot of dirt.

As entertaining as it was to watch the zombies bust through the barriers and enter Broke Jaw Ranch, I was also watching that sequence with some trepidation. Not because I was worried about any of the ranch residents, there aren't many characters on this show that I care about, but because I was concerned that this action was going to render the last few episodes completely pointless. The show has been dealing with a water shortage on the ranch. If the ranch is overrun and destroyed, they're not going to need any water there. I wouldn't put it past Fear the Walking Dead to render a storyline pointless, either. This show loves to subvert expectations... and if I wanted to be harsher, I would say that it's not afraid to waste time, either.

If the story of the water shortage doesn't turn out to be important because of these zombies now on ranch land, I'm going to be upset. But that's an issue for a future episode. Judging Brother's Keeper only on what occurs within its running time, this was a good episode. Crazy Troy, a whole lot of zombies, the death of a somewhat important but expendable character. I enjoyed it.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: The zombies have to do much to impress me in this episode, my favorite moments were the shots of them walking through the desert, kicking up a dust storm.

GORY GLORY: Jake's bitten arm getting hacked off with a machete was not only a well executed gore effect, it was also a nice nod to a similar moment in George A. Romero's DAY OF THE DEAD.

FAVORITE SCENE: If Nick had let Jake shoot Troy in the face when he wanted to, that would have been my favorite scene. Instead I'll have to go with Nick spotting the advancing horde and saying, "F*ck."

FINAL VERDICT: 

Extra Tidbit: What did you think of Brother's Keeper?

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