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TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead - Season 3, Episode 8

Season 3, Episode 8: Children of Wrath

PLOT: With the Broke Jaw Ranch militia ailing from anthrax, the Black Hat Reservation tribe prepares to attack.

REVIEW: Episode 14 of Fear the Walking Dead's second season was called Wrath, and that episode was the last time we saw Ofelia Salazar (Mercedes Mason) before she made her return in episode 7 of the third season, The Unveiling. In Wrath, Ofelia crossed the U.S. / Mexico border and was welcomed into the states by a gun-wielding mystery man... who we would come to find out was Jeremiah Otto (Dayton Callie), head of the Broke Jaw Ranch. 

For nine months of real world time and seven episodes of Fear the Walking Dead time we were left to wonder what happened to Ofelia. I imagined a nightmarish scenario in which she was being held captive somewhere on the ranch property, hidden away from the world by Jeremiah. But then in The Unveiling she turned up free and well, in a relationship with Qaletqa Walker (Michael Greyeyes) of the Black Hat Reservation, leader of a tribe that felt Broke Jaw was rightfully theirs. For nine months I have been interested in finding out where Ofelia had been... But you know when that interest fades? When we have reached a mid-season finale and I'm ready to see an exciting conclusion to the Broke Jaw / Black Hat drama. So while I appreciate that the show has finally told us all we needed to know about the time we lost with Ofelia, I didn't really appreciate that several minutes of the mid-season finale was taken up by the story of her being ditched in the desert by Jeremiah, who felt the ranch had no use for her due to her skin tone, and later found by Walker. Great. I would have liked that sequence better if it had come an episode earlier.

Fear has always seemed like the sort of show that could strike out at tee-ball. It does great work at setting things up, but when it comes to the pay-off it often whiffs it. Such was the case with Children of Wrath, which may have been the least exciting mid-season finale to ever come out of the Walking Dead world. The one word that comes to mind to describe it is plodding.

The ending of The Unveiling had made it seem like the following episode would be delivering some good action, but that wasn't the case. There are some zombies and gunfire, but it's nothing like I was expecting or wanting. I thought negotiations to stop the war between Broke Jaw and Black Hat from happening were a waste of time because we needed the satisfaction of some kind of battle, but as it turns out we were never going to get that satisfaction anyway. Not in the mid-season finale, at least.

What we get is a confirmation of something we've strongly suspected all along: Jeremiah Otto is a scumbag who should have never been trusted. There are also some strong character moments between the members of the Clark family; mother Madison (Kim Dickens) and teenage children Nick (Frank Dillane) and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey). While this dramatic work is appreciated, it contributed to the slow pace of the finale overall and it got tough to sit through all this chit-chat when I was hoping to see things actually happen.

It's strange to say, when I was hoping for an episode that would be full of mayhem and death galore, but the best thing about this mid-season finale was a scene in which Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) manages to make radio contact with a cosmonaut drifting in orbit around the planet. The concept of this was quite intriguing, because the fate of people in orbit, left to die while floating in space, is something that is rarely acknowledged in apocalyptic fiction. Through their conversation Strand is also able to learn that the zombie outbreak wasn't just confined to North America. The entire world has gone dark. That's the sort of news that would be unimaginably horrifying to hear, that you're one of the last living souls in a world overrun by flesh-eating ghouls.

Children of Wrath does wrap up with some violence, just not on the scale I was hoping for. Given that Jeremiah Otto was introduced (even though we didn't learn his name at that time) in an episode called Wrath, it seems quite fitting that his story is wrapped up in an episode called Children of Wrath. Callie did an excellent job bringing his character to life, but I can't say I'm going to miss ol' Jeremiah Otto.

Although the mid-season finale didn't deliver anything I expected it to, I am left very intrigued to see where the story will take the characters next. This show keeps me on the hook even when it lets me down.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: Strand gets on board his old boat the Abigail to find that it's infested with zombies. So he takes care of that problem.

GORY GLORY: There was a more meaningful headshot and decapitation later in the episode, but I liked the moment when a zombie gets a speargun fired into its head, the spear sticking its body to a wall.

FAVORITE SCENE: Although they're separated by many miles, Strand has a drink with a cosmonaut.

FINAL VERDICT

Source: JoBlo

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