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TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead (Season 3, Episode 10)

Season 3, Episode 10: The Diviner

PLOT: The survivors of the zombie apocalypse struggle with a water shortage.

REVIEW: Being set much earlier in the days of the zombie apocalypse than its sister series The Walking Dead allows Fear the Walking Dead to show us a lot more people trying to survive, since there are a lot more people still alive. The characters on this show can never travel too far without running into large groups of other survivors. That wasn't the case on The Walking Dead, at least not until recently when Rick Grimes and his cohorts came to realize they're surrounded by other communities. Characters on that show would travel for months without running into other groups.

The larger population of the world during Fear's time period becomes apparent once again in this episode, when Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) and Qaletaqa Walker (Michael Greyeyes) head out into the world in search of a solution to the water shortage Broke Jaw Ranch has been hit with. Seeking 10,000 gallons of water, the pair soon reach a stadium that has been converted into a marketplace - and this place is packed with survivors stocking up on supplies and bidding on things, like a motorcycle. It's good when this show can take advantage of its prequel nature and show us things that The Walking Dead is unable to since it's set so deep in the apocalypse timeline.

Despite there being more people around, Fear's characters still manage to find each other incredibly easily whenever they're split up. Sure, Daniel Salazar (Ruben Blades) and his daughter Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) haven't seen each other since season 2's mid-season finale, but they're destined to be reunited any time now. Everyone else has crossed paths again in a surprisingly short amount of time. It took Morgan Jones the better part of three seasons to see Rick Grimes again, yet here we have Madison and Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) ending up at the same marketplace just ten episodes after parting company.

They're brought together by coincidence, but it is nice to see Strand and Madison interacting again, and this episode reminded me why I liked Strand so much in the first place. The guy is in trouble once again, and as he faces the punishment of being chained to a fence as zombie bait he drops the line "My mother named me Victor because she knew I'd always win." Yeah, Victor Strand is awesome.

Another very clever thing that Fear the Walking Dead is doing this season is exploring an aspect of surviving in the zombie apocalypse that hasn't really been touched upon, at least not in the mainstream zombie entertainment I have consumed. Beyond avoiding zombie bites, beyond dealing with dangerous fellow survivors, beyond finding a safe place to live, people in this dystopian world would need a supply of fresh water. What do you do when the well runs dry in a lawless land overrun with the flesh-hungry walking dead? The characters on this show have an easy answer, they need to go visit Daniel at Gonzalez Dam, but it was quite smart of this show to address the issue at all.

Before Gonzalez Dam can be reached, the water shortage is already threatening to cause a lot of trouble of Broke Jaw Ranch. Things are already tense enough there, with the established residents not being too comfortable with Walker's people, their former enemies, moving in with them, and suddenly having to deal with rationed water doesn't help. It's interesting that it's Madison's son Nick (Frank Dillane) who finds himself at the center of the brewing conflict. He killed a man to bring peace between the two groups, and now he might be the one who breaks the peace.

I'm all for breaking the peace in the name of getting some more action into the show, and The Diviner teased me with the possibility of war breaking out at Broke Jaw Ranch, much like the episodes building up to this year's mid-season finale did. Well, I'm not going to fall for that again. Maybe these people will fight each other at some point and maybe they won't, but I don't have any expectations of violence anymore.

By taking advantage of its time period and exploring ideas that I haven't seen other zombie fiction cover, The Diviner stood out as a solid episode of this series.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: The best zombie moment here was when Strand was chained to the stadium fence and had to protect himself from the walkers that came for a snack.

GORY GLORY: There wasn't really any glorious gore in here. Strand kills some zombies, but the CG blood splatter from their head wounds didn't do much for me. Madison and Walker did witness a bloody mess outside the stadium fence when they first arrived, that was slightly better.

FAVORITE SCENE: Strand talking to Madison, telling her that the zombie outbreak was global. And, of course, speaking that line about why his mom named him Victor.

FINAL VERDICT

Extra Tidbit: What did you think of The Diviner?

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