Fear The Walking Dead – Sleigh Ride
By: Tara Donahue
Part two of the season finale picks up in an odd place. We see the Ranch all decorated for Christmas. There are pictures on the wall of the Clark-Manawa family and Madison (Kim Dickens) is preparing a turkey. Out the window, she sees an SUV approaching and goes outside, walking past the graves of the Otto family to find Nick (Frank Dillane) and Luciana (Danay Garcia) with their baby, standing at a grave. It’s Alicia’s. Madison invites them inside, but they’re leaving. She grabs Luciana’s arm to stop her and the baby is growling like one of the infected, but they still leave and Madison is standing there…alone.
Back in the real world, boats full of proctors are heading for the dam. Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) is driving one with Proctor John (Ray McKinnon). As they dock, he asks Strand (Colman Domingo) what happened as there was supposed to be no resistance. Strand explains that someone tipped them off, but all is well now. John disagrees. There are corpses floating in the water meant to distribute and there are dozens of dead brothers. John wants Alicia to change his dressing and he needs to rest, he’ll do a full accounting of events later along with a grand tour. Strand approaches Alicia, who asks about her mother, relieved to find out she’s hidden and safe for now, along with Nick. She asks what they’re going to do and he tells her to trust him as he can get them out of this if they work together.
Madison and Nick are still in the locked room. He’s being petulant, telling her she might kill him if she had no choice. She tells him she never wished him dead, even when he was using. Troy (Daniel Sharman) needed to be put down she explains, but Nick doesn’t think she should make that call. He tells her she’s always lived in this world and now it’s okay for her to be who she really is. Madison drops the second F-bomb in the series history. Nick continues to disrespect his mother, telling her one day she’ll have no choice with him, but she disagrees. Gunshots ring out in the distance interrupting their conversation.
Lola (Lisandra Tena) is tending to Daniel (Ruben Blades) after Strand shot him. She tells him he’s stubborn and he should be dead. Daniel tells her he should have died many times. She is going to find Efrain (Jesse Borrego) to help. Daniel gives her his gun and tells her they will escape once she returns. Just the two of them.
Alicia is checking Proctor John’s wound and tells him he has a high pain threshold. He says it’s from years of living with a Buddhist. She tells him she hears narcissists are drawn to Buddhism and he says the truth of the real self is a lie, just as it is in all religions. He detests liars above all else, like Strand. John asks how she knows Strand. Alicia tells him how Victor helped her family escape Los Angeles. He wonders if she didn’t acknowledge him out of feeling indebted to him and she says yes and that they’ve gotten to know him. John tells her a lie is still a lie. Alicia says she thought her mother was at the dam, her and Strand are friends. John wants to know her name and tells her one of Strand’s deal points was to spare Madison. Alicia wants to know if she will be spared, but he says that negotiation collapsed. Alicia reminds John she’s served him well in a short time and she will continue to do so. She tells him he can trust her. He says he’ll spare her mother if she will come with him to Texas. She agrees.
Strand unlocks the door where Madison and Nick are. He tells her that Alicia’s there with Proctor John, who likes his toys. Maybe he likes her enough to let them go, but Strand says he wouldn’t bet on it. He gives them dam employee uniforms and tells them to put them on as he’s going to walk them out right under their noses. Madison figures out something happened and asks what he did and who it was. He tells her it was Daniel, but that he was alive when he left him. She asks about Lola and he says he let her go, he couldn’t do it. There’s still hope for Strand.
Lola finds Efrain, who’s already been killed. She’s upset and crying, but stands up and chambers a round into her gun.
Strand is walking Nick and Madison, disguised as workers, across the bridge with a gun on them. He tells them when they get to the end to blend in with the locals and lose the uniforms. One of the proctors stops him, but Strand tells him that Proctor John wanted him to dispose of the traitors himself. The guy nods and lets them pass. Madison and Nick want to get Alicia, but Strand says he’ll find her and get her out. This is the best he can do, but they don’t have a good feeling.
Lola interrupts and starts shooting the proctors. She manages to kill a few before Proctor John kills her.
Proctor John isn’t happy and Strand says he can explain, but he doesn’t want to hear it. He’s going to kill Madison and Nick himself. Alicia tries to speak up but is quickly silenced. John is upset that the woman he killed was the Water Queen, whom Victor said he killed. He wonders if her general is alive and waiting to assassinate him. Madison vouches that it’s true, Strand confessed to her and she believes him. John tells Alicia to go to her mother so he can see a joyful family reunion. Alicia goes over and hugs her mom as he asks Nick what role he plays in the family drama. Madison says he’s her son and one of John’s brothers mention he was asking questions at the bazaar with his friend. Proctor John wants to know where the friend is at and Nick tells him Madison killed him. “What a perverse family you have, Alicia from Los Angeles.” He then tells her she’s been a good nurse, but he’s going to have to kill her now because he’s going to kill Nick. He’ll never be able to trust her after that, but he’ll kill her first so she doesn’t have to witness what follows. But Madison will have to bear witness.
The Clark family are holding hands, walking across the bridge with Strand and the proctors following. John tells them to say their goodbyes. They hug and then Nick hugs and kisses Strand on the cheek. Strand tells John there’s an endgame he didn’t plan, the place is wired with C-4 top to bottom. But he can’t find the detonator in his pocket to prove it. Nick has it.
It’s Christmas at the Ranch still and Madison is getting the turkey out of the oven. At the table, dressed in suits, we see Taqa (Michael Greyeyes), Jeremiah (Dayton Callie), Jake (Sam Underwood), Coop (Matt Lansky), Troy and Daniel. Madison goes to the door and Strand has arrived with gifts. After he greets everyone, Madison pulls the top off the turkey, but it’s now Jeremiah’s severed head and Taqa is now in jeans. Jake reaches for his father’s head and Taqa cuts off his arm. Blood runs over the entire table, but most of them aren’t even reacting as they’re laughing and eating. Strand looks concerned though and gets up to leave. Madison follows him outside and she’s suddenly standing in a graveyard.
Back at the dam, Nick holds up the detonator and John wants to know what his play is. He says that his mom and sister are taking a Zodiac across the lake. He tells Madison to go as far upriver as she can. John says they’ll just pursue them, but they’ll have a head start. Nick can’t go with them as the detonator has a range and he’ll lose his leverage. But he’s not negotiating, this is his suicide note. He walks over to Madison and tells her to go because she doesn’t have a choice. If she doesn’t, they all die. She takes Alicia’s hand and starts to leave. Nick tells Strand to go with them and to please take care of them. He goes.
Daniel is still alive and takes out some proctors after pretending he’s weak. He comes upon Lola, visibly upset by her death, and gives her Ofelia’s rosary.
Meanwhile, Alicia, Strand and Madison make it to the boat and start to leave. The engine dies, but Alicia manages to get it going again. John tells his men to get the detonator and as they start to move on Nick someone takes some of them out with headshots. It’s Crazy Dog (Justin Rain) and Taqa, from a point higher up.
John says it’s a new wrinkle, but no matter it isn’t a game changer. He thinks Nick’s bluffing and his family isn’t far enough away yet. He orders his brothers to kill Nick, but Crazy Dog shoots more of them.
Daniel shows up, shooting more of them as Nick looks out at his family one last time before flipping the detonator switch. The dam blows and as the bridge starts to crack, someone grabs Proctor John. Nick is watching his family as the dam starts to collapse around him. The boat isn’t going to make it and they’re getting drawn back into the flood. Alicia’s trying to navigate them out, but it’s not working. Taqa gives one last look before he and Crazy Dog leave.
Daniel comes to save Nick and the boat below is pulled into the flood.
Madison is there, in that graveyard again, walking amongst the tombstones. She kneels in front of Jeremiah’s grave and a hand reaches out, pulling her down into the dirt. We see her in the water, unconscious and sinking. Her hand reaches out of the grave, someone grabs it and pulls her to the surface. It’s Travis (Cliff Curtis), but he loses his grip and she’s back in the water, sinking, still unconscious. But she opens her eyes and fights her way to the surface where she swims to solid ground. Citizens are rushing to get water as she catches her breath, but there’s no sign of Alicia or Victor.
What an incredible season! The only confirmed survivor is Madison and it’s going to be a long wait until Season Four to find out the fate of everyone!