TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead (Season 3, Episode 13)

Season 3, Episode 13: This Land Is Your Land

PLOT: While Nick and Troy struggle to deal with the zombie horde that Troy led to Broke Jaw Ranch, Alicia and the others are trapped in the pantry with a dwindling air supply.

REVIEW: This Land Is Your Land is one of those episodes of Fear the Walking Dead that I frequently hope for, but which we rarely get. One with a substantial amount of zombies. I know we can't have zombie mayhem every episode, but it's good to get an episode like this one from time to time. Beyond the action, there was also some good character work and nice dramatic scenes... and yet I'm still having trouble seeing the episode in a positive light.

This show has a habit of abandoning interesting ideas and locations very quickly, and as the Broke Jaw Ranch story comes to a conclusion, I'm not sure how to feel about it. I sort of feel like ditching this location at this point has made much of the season a waste of time. The show wanted us to become invested in the characters getting set up on this ranch. We had the tension between the ranch residents and the tribe of Native Americans led by Qaletaqa Walker (Michael Greyeyes) that needed to be resolved. It looked like there was going to be a war over the land. That was avoided. So then we were given the idea of the established residents and the Native Americans sharing the land, and there was still an air of tension. Would these two groups be able to live together, or would there be a war after all? More trouble was added into the mix - the ranch was running out of water, so Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) and Walker had to go over to the Gonzalez Dam to make a deal for more water.

Before Madison and Walker can even get a truckload of water back to the ranch, all of the fighting and the deal-making is rendered absolutely pointless by Troy Otto (Daniel Sharman) and the horde of zombies he led to the ranch, getting revenge for being exiled because he's a psycho. It's a given when you're watching a zombie show that no location is going to be safe for very long (although Fear's sister show The Walking Dead is really making Alexandria last), but there's a balance to find. If the characters are in a place for a good amount of time, you're ready to move on. When a show just devoted the majority of a season to making things work at a location and then decides to toss it aside when the characters are still trying to put all the pieces together, it feels like this has happened too soon. Why did I have to sit through all the bickering over the land and the worrying about the water supply? By the end of episode 13, none of it means anything.

For a while, when there's still some hope, This Land Is Your Land does present some interesting ideas. Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and the rest of the Broke Jaw residents being trapped in the pantry, where the only air vent is blocked and the horde of zombies are roaming the land outside, was a good set-up for some harrowing scenes, some emotional ones as characters start running out of air, and intense ones, as bitten residents have to be put down both for the safety of the others and to help make the air supply last longer. That's some dark and clever stuff. 

Outside the pantry, Nick Clark (Frank Dillane) and Troy struggle to deal with the zombie problem, which seems to be impossible with the equipment they have at their disposal and the sheer number of the walking dead now populating the ranch land. If only they had been more successful at their objectives, I would be feeling better about the episode. Or if only Ofelia Salazar (Mercedes Mason) had solved the blocked air vent issue sooner.

This episode was definitely a great showcase for Alyica Debnam-Carey, though. The Alicia character is growing to become stronger and more interesting, gaining depth. She has to take a bit of a leadership role here, and it's not an enviable position to be in when the leader has to ask people to volunteer to be killed with a combo of morphine and a knife to the brain. The breakdown Alicia has after the first killing was a wonderful moment for Debnam-Carey, as was a later scene where she bonds with a woman while they both run out of air.

Fear the Walking Dead is moving on to a different location now, and this is for sure: I'm never going to give another damn over whether or not the characters are going to be able to settle at any one location. Never again will I become invested in their attempts to secure a place. By moving on from Broke Jaw Ranch already, the creative team has given me a reason not to care about certain aspects of their show.

It's also highly annoying that they have chosen to split characters up again just when everyone was starting to be reunited. Alicia, just go to the dam.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: This may seem like cheating, but I would say the best zombie moment actually involved people who were bitten but hadn't yet turned into full-fledged zombies: the euthanasia sequence, people volunteering to die rather than become zombies.

GORY GLORY: While trapped in a helicopter by the zombie horde, Nick switches on the rotors and the spinning tail rotor catches a couple zombies, splattering blood on the chopper and removing one zombie's face.

FAVORITE SCENE: I really loved seeing Alicia's intense emotional reaction after the first person was euthanized.


Extra Tidbit: What did you think of This Land Is Your Land?



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