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TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead - Season 3, Episode 9

Season 3, Episode 9: Minotaur

PLOT: The peace between the two groups occupying Broke Jaw Ranch is threatened when some residents hold on to grudges.

REVIEW: Fear the Walking Dead's season 3 mid-season finale Children of Wrath took a carton of eggs and smacked it right into my face. In my write-up on the previous episode, The Unveiling, I had gone on about how the peace talks between the residents of the Broke Jaw Ranch and the Native American tribe who wanted to reclaim the land were pointless because there was no way a war between the two groups could be avoided. Violence on a massive scale had to happen, because that was the only dramatically satisfying path for the show to take. But, as it turned out, peace could be achieved. Tribe leader Qaletaqa Walker (Michael Greyeyes) just wanted the death of Broken Jaw leader Jeremiah Otto (Dayton Callie), and Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) literally delivered the man's head to him.

So now that Walker has gotten the head he wanted and viewers didn't get the action that many of them (including myself) wanted to see, where does Fear the Walking Dead go from there? In the first episode of the season's second half, it gives us a small sample of what we missed out on when Madison and Walker made nice. War was avoided, but there's still a battle to be fought.

The residents of Broke Jaw Ranch, led officially by Jeremiah's son Jake (Sam Underwood) but with Madison covertly pulling the strings, are giving up a lot in the name of peace, allowing Walker and his people to just move onto the ranch land with them. You don't typically see this sort of "let bygones be bygones" move in the Walking Dead world, and it makes sense that not everyone at Broke Jaw is comfortable with their new neighbors. Walker and his people poisoned the Broke Jaw militia with anthrax. They killed residents. They killed Travis! One poor sap got his head smashed open so birds could eat his brain while he was still alive. That's a lot to forgive and forget.

Jake's brother Troy (Daniel Sharman) isn't ready to live happily ever after with the Native Americans, even though he's responsible for some of the murders they're blamed for. When the misguided vengeful actions of one Broke Jaw resident causes Jake and Madison to hand over control of the weapons on the land to Walker, which a stunning concession that shows Madison really is willing to give up almost anything to make this peace work, that's a step too far for Troy. He holds on to his weapons, leading to a shootout with some of Walker's people. Finally. I thought there would be a lot more people involved when the shit went down between members of these two groups on ranch land, but I'll take what I can get. When the bullets start flying, I finally get a bit of satisfaction.

While tension is building between the two groups, we also see that the water supply is starting to run low at the ranch, which will surely lead to a reunion between Ofelia Salazar (Mercedes Mason) and her father Daniel (Ruben Blades), who is currently living at a dam in Mexico and helping supply survivors there with water. A noble endeavor that comes with dangers of its own when people get greedy. Daniel is desperately hoping to see his daughter again, and a moment when he thinks he spots her in the distance was quite touching, thanks to Blades' performance and the expressions on his face. This show needs a lot more Daniel Salazar. 100, the episode that was entirely dedicated to his story, is the best Fear the Walking Dead has ever gotten.

There were some nice character beats in this episode, like talk of the guilt Ofelia and Nick (Frank Dillane) feel over the things they've done during the apocalypse, and Nick and Troy bonding over lost fathers. What happens with Troy is particularly intriguing, since he manages to survive his act of resistance and walks away from it knowing the truth about his father's death. Still, the main thing I enjoyed about Minotaur - which, unfortunately, doesn't actually feature a minotaur creature - was the shootout. I really needed that, after months of feeling burned by the mid-season finale. 

There wasn't a whole lot to the episode overall, but the gunfire made it worth it.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: Zombies weren't really a factor in this episode, but a herd of them do get taken care of early on.

GORY GLORY: This episode was all about the Troy action. When that crazy bastard impales his own hand on the blade of a person's knife so he can then jam the knife stuck to his hand into its owner, that's as "Gory Glory" as it gets.

FAVORITE SCENE: The shootout! The residents of Broke Jaw and the members of Walker's tribe should all be shooting at each other!

FINAL VERDICT

Source: JoBlo

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