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TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead (Season 3, Episode 7)

Season 3, Episode 7: The Unveiling

PLOT: Some Broke Jaw Ranch residents try to avoid going to war with the Black Hat Reservation while the actions of others threaten to start the war.

REVIEW: The Unveiling may be the most monumental episode in Fear the Walking Dead history. The episode isn't important because a long lost character returns to the screen - Ofelia Salazar (Mercedes Mason) does show up for the first time this season, but her return can't compare to the return of her father Daniel (Ruben Blades) in the episode called 100 earlier this season. Nor will it be memorable because of a character death - people do die, but it's nothing huge.

No, The Unveiling is an important chapter in the Fear the Walking Dead saga because of something Nick Clark (Frank Dillane) does. This will always be remembered as "The Episode Where Nick Cut His Hair".

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating the importance of this moment, but the haircut was certainly the most jaw-dropping part of the episode as far as I was concerned. Otherwise it just consisted of the characters killing time in the build-up to the mid-season finale. While the character motivations make sense, anyone watching the show knows that most of what they're doing is entirely pointless. 

The Native American residents of the Black Hat Reservation are threatening to raid the Broke Jaw Ranch, feeling that the land is rightfully theirs, so sure, Jake Otto (Sam Underwood) and Alicia Clark (Alycia Debnam-Carey) of Broke Jaw absolutely should go over to the Black Hat Reservation and talk to tribe leader Qaletqa Walker (Michael Greyeyes) before the situation crosses the point of no return. Parley, try to find a peaceful resolution to their differences. But we viewers know this has to be a waste of time, because we need the dramatic satisfaction of some kind of mid-season confrontation. If Jake and Walker just shake hands and agree to be best buds, it's going to be a disappointment.

Walker nearly scalping Jake, now that's more like it.

The attempt to keep the peace may be fruitless, but it does allow for some interesting scenes in which we get to know more about Walker as a character. This guy has done some heinous stuff, you can't just excuse him for bashing someone's head open so ravens can eat their brain while they're still alive, but you do get to hear his side of the story and Greyeyes' performance almost makes Walker come off as likeable. When he was talking about having to desecrate his ancestor's grave before someone else disturbed it, and of reading Native American prophecies of apocalypse / "a great unveiling" / "the dawn of a new age", I was fascinated.

Of course, if there was ever even a slight chance of there being any kind of peace, Clark family matriarch Madison (Kim Dickens) manages to blow it by using her influence on Jake Otto's off-balance brother Troy (Daniel Sharman) to break deals and cause violence. Remember those theories of how the Clark family are the real villains of the show? Madison stirs those accusations up again here. She can't just chill and wait for things to play out, she has to manipulate the situation and send out her homicidal new lap dog.

I wasn't too enthused when I heard that Fear the Walking Dead would be airing two episodes back-to-back on both premiere night and mid-season finale night, because I'd rather a show just air one episode a week. However, The Unveiling benefited from the fact that it was paired with another episode, because it would not have held up well at all if it had been put out into the world by itself. It has some good character moments, but as a standalone episode it is quite bland overall. That said, when it comes to episodes about trying to avoid war between two communities, I would choose this one over The Walking Dead's Arrow on the Doorpost.

Action starts to kick in as The Unveiling reaches its final moments, with the battle for Broke Jaw Ranch getting off to quite a surprising start on a wonderfully photographed dark and foggy night. When things finally started to fall apart, I didn't expect it to begin with people becoming violently ill. As the episodes comes to an end, it looks like the action is ready to begin.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: The climactic zombie outbreak on Broke Jaw Ranch property is the only zombie moment there is to choose from.

GORY GLORY: Jake's near-scalping was a cringeworthy sight.

FAVORITE SCENE: Nick cuts his hair! No, my favorite scene was actually Walker talking about sideshow trailer travesty and cave painting prophecies.

FINAL VERDICT

Extra Tidbit: What did you think of The Unveiling?

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