TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead (Season 3, Episode 15)

Season 3, Episode 15: Things Bad Begun

PLOT: Before Madison Clark can settle in at Gonzalez Dam, news arrives that the place is about to be raided by another group of survivors.

REVIEW: The "Proctor John" part of Fear the Walking Dead season 3's overall story has been bothering me ever since Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) and Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) were reunited at El Bazar back in the episode The Diviner. Strand has said that he ran into trouble with the leader of the place, Proctor John, but it has never been made clear what that trouble was. Showrunner Dave Erickson has said that there's sort of a "missing Strand episode" they had intended to shoot as a web series, and it has never sat well with me that this whole thing happened without us seeing it. That doesn't feel like very good storytelling. But whatever, Strand is in trouble with Proctor John, so much trouble that he has betrayed his cohorts and pointed the Bazar owner in the direction of Gonzalez Dam. And so Things Bad Begun is a countdown to the moment when Proctor John's people will be invading the dam.

Fear the Walking Dead's companion series The Walking Dead has been rooted in the same location for multiple seasons now, but Fear clearly has no intention of settling down. These characters just can't keep still. Broke Jaw Ranch seemed like a place to stay at for a while, but now it's in the rear view mirror, and before Madison can even get set up at Gonzalez Dam this place is already in trouble.

But before we get to that action, we need to find out some more about this Proctor John fellow, and we do so when Madison's wandering daughter Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) meets him. I wasn't thrilled with the way this meeting came about, with Alicia seeking help for her newfound friend Diana (Edwina Findley) after her leg is broken by scavengers. We just met this character as an awesome badass in the previous episode, and now she's been sidelined with a badly broken leg. That's not cool at all, although it was cool to see Diana and Alicia fighting their attackers before she received that injury.

Played by veteran character actor Ray McKinnon, Proctor John has a likeable screen presence when we're introduced to him. He reveals his intentions to build a trade route that will span from the Gulf Coast of Texas to San Diego, which seems like a good idea in the post-apocalypse. That should help people out. He just doesn't happen to mention that raiding the dam where Alicia's mother now lives will be part of the plan. It does become clear that he is dangerous, though, when he recruits Alicia to assist in the spinal surgery that will save him from paralysis and mentions that she and the surgeon will be shot dead if they mess up the procedure. Incentive.

It was good to see McKinnon joining the show, especially in a role that could become so prominent and troublesome, and I was even happier to see that his doctor was played by James Le Gros of PHANTASM 2 and 118 other projects. Those actors are two great additions to the cast.

Our newly introduced villain needing surgery delays the raid for a little while, but luckily there are other issues to deal with at Gonzalez Dam while we wait. Daniel Salazar (Ruben Blades) has been able to deduce that someone was responsible for the zombie invasion of Broke Jaw Ranch that caused the death of his daughter Ofelia, and even though he doesn't get the truth from Nick Clark (Frank Dillane) when he questions him about it, that truth - that Troy Otto (Daniel Sharman) was responsible - is revealed to someone who didn't know it. And Troy pays for all the deaths he has caused.

For drama, Troy has been a great character to have around all season. This guy has caused all sorts of bad stuff to happen. But logically, there's no way the characters should still be keeping him around at this point, no matter how much Nick has somehow grown to like him, and even if he has been passing as sane lately. Troy is a wild card, he's not safe to be around, and since exiling him didn't work, other measures have to be taken... My favorite moment of the entire episode came when Madison found out that Troy led the zombie horde to Broke Jaw Ranch. Her reaction to that news is quick and absolutely perfect.

Aired back-to-back with the final episode of the season, Things Bad Begun isn't very satisfying in itself, but at least it brought Ray McKinnon and James Le Gros onto the show, and the whole running time is worth it just for that certain scene shared by Madison, Troy, and Nick.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: There's only one zombie moment to choose from. The flesh-eating ghouls were not a threat in this episode, and were only around to get hacked up at the beginning.

GORY GLORY: There are some gnarly face and head wounds on display in this episode, but I especially liked the zombie decapitations at the beginning, which were followed by the heads being split in half to get to those yummy brain stems.

FAVORITE SCENE: Troy gets a very matter-of-fact and long overdue comeuppance.


Extra Tidbit: What did you think of Things Bad Begun?



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