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TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead - Season 3, Episode 5

Season 3, Episode 5: Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame

PLOT: While Daniel searches for Ofelia, the Clarks continue to adjust to life at Broke Jaw Ranch.

REVIEW: The Clark family, the morally ambiguous lead characters on AMC's Fear the Walking Dead, have a Walker problem - and I'm not talking about the zombies that populate the post-apocalyptic world the series is set in. Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame introduces an intriguing new antagonist into the story: a Native American character named Qualetaqa Walker and played by Michael Greyeyes. Walker is the leader of a group of Native Americans who are seeking to reclaim the land that was stolen from them long ago. The land that Broke Jaw Ranch, the place the Clarks are currently calling home, now sits on.

The fact that the land once belonged to the Native Americans is certainly not lost on the Ottos, who own the ranch. Over the course of this episode, patriarch Jeremiah Otto (Dayton Callie) and his son Jake (Sam Underwood) both mention the previous owners. Which establishes that Walker has some right to want it back - however, his methods are not pleasant. Killing a whole group of people and setting their bodies on fire, cracking a guy's head open so crows can feast on his brain while he's still alive, that's not cool. Blindly firing on an Otto family helicopter, causing the death of Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis) back in the second episode of this season, that really wasn't cool. We'll surely see more of Walker in upcoming episodes, as it's said that he and his people are advancing on the ranch, and I'm really looking forward to seeing where that conflict is going to go.

Other than the introduction of Walker, this episode was really about different memebers of the Clark family bonding with different members of the Otto family. When a fiery walker incident (the zombie type) leaves a structure on the ranch up for grabs, Nick Clark (Frank Dillane) sees a chance to play house with his girlfriend Luciana (Danay Garcia), and while he takes on the task of fixing up the place he has some talks with Jeremiah, its original occupant. Meanwhile, Nick's sister Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) is pursuing something of a romantic relationship with Jake... And while the dramatic aspect of these bonding moments holds my attention, as I am interested in learning more about the Ottos, I'm also hesitant to even attempt to care about the Ottos, because I do not trust these people. At all.

The least trustable Otto is Jeremiah's mentally unhinged son Troy (Daniel Sharman), and it's Clark mother Madison (Kim Dickens) who makes some progress with him while out on the excursion that brings them into contact with Walker. Sure, Troy holds a knife to Madison's throat at one point, but he doesn't slit her throat. When he takes the knife from her throat, that's the closest you get to a heartwarming moment with this guy.

Walker, you have my permission to give Troy that "crow eating brain" treatment any time. I won't hold it against you.

While all that's going on around Broke Jaw Ranch, Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) and Daniel Salazar (Ruben Blades) are on what Strand knows to be a pointless mission to find Daniel's long lost daughter Ofelia at the Rosarito Beach Hotel. This was a very dumb decision on Strand's part, as he should know that Daniel is not a person you should be lying to.

The Strand / Daniel plot basically serves just to show something that I found very disappointing. The Rosarito Beach Hotel has fallen and is now overtaken by zombies. My imagination ran wild with the concept of people seeking shelter in an abandoned hotel during the zombie apocalypse; it seemed like it would be a very cool setting. A story about hiding from the dead in a hotel has "DAWN OF THE DEAD meets THE SHINING" potential, but that's potential Fear the Walking Dead was never very interested in going for, and now the hotel idea has been tossed aside. That's unfortunate. But at least there's some engaging stuff going on at the ranch now.

Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame served to set up a few things for future episodes while also delivering some solid entertainment within its 42 minutes. It wasn't a standout episode, but it was a good one.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: Coming across a crashed prison bus, Madison, Troy, and their cohorts made quick work of the zombie officers and prisoners. Brains were speared, limbs were hacked off, there were arrows in heads, and it was a wonderful sequence of violence.

GORY GLORY: There was some great stuff in that zombie battle, but the best display of gore came when Madison slowly inserted a knife into the brain of the man who had been a crow's lunch.

FAVORITE SCENE: My favorite scene of this episode was the opening scene, in which an elderly man wakes up to find that his wife has become a zombie in the night. She's unable to bite him since she had her dentures out, allowing him to take time to say goodbye before ending things.

FINAL VERDICT: 

Source: JoBlo

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