Fear the Walking Dead – Teotwawki
By: Tara Donahue
Jeremiah Otto (Dayton Callie) has been preparing for the end of the world for some time now. We see this in the commercial advertising his four-part video series titled How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It (Teotwawki – see what they did there?).
Back to current day, at Broke Jaw Ranch they’re having a memorial service for Charlie (Lindsey Pulsipher) after she met her untimely end last episode. Madison (Kim Dickens) and her kids are essentially painted as the ones to blame since they are the “unprepared” outsiders, which Jake (Sam Underwood) is quick to step in and try to stop. Madison, though, wants to remind the rest of the ranch’s population that they’d lost someone too.
Jake acknowledges that they’ve all lost; however, Vernon (Hugo Armstrong) feels the more important focus should be on who shot down the helicopter. Jeremiah tries to assuage the situation, but Troy (Daniel Sharman) speaks up, promising there will be payback. Jake reminds them they can’t afford to lose themselves to this mob mentality. They’re more than that. They have to be something hopeful in this world. “Like my father says,” Jake reminds them, “If you plan for the future, plan for a better one.”
In the tent where lunch is served, one of the residents calls Madison and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) freeloaders as he passes by. Alicia jumps on the defense, but her mother tells her to let it go. Alicia feels that it’s Troy who should be the one being harassed. Madison agrees, thinking he would be if everyone knew the truth about him.
Gretchen Trimbol (Rae Gray), Vernon’s daughter, welcomes Madison and Alicia and apologizes for their loss. She invites Alicia to join her and the rest of “Christ Rizen” for Bible study. Alicia wants no part of it. Madison though is immediately interested in her daughter going. Christ Rizen, it turns out, is Gretchen’s band along with Terry (Phillip Fallon) and Gabe (Luke Spencer Roberts). Alicia tells Gretchen they’re Jewish, but that doesn’t deter the girl who tells her that they’ll do Old Testament. Looks like Alicia’s going to Bible study.
Luciana (Danay Garcia) is looking much better. She wants to gather up supplies so they can be ready to leave. Nick (Frank Dillane) just wants them all to feel safe in one place, but Luciana has no plans of sticking around. She can’t feel safe here.
Madison returns to their new home and finds Troy in Nick’s bed. He liked her speech and felt that she spoke Travis’ (Cliff Curtis) name not out of grief, but because she wanted to remind everyone that she was a victim, too. Troy’s also curious about what Madison did in the “old world” and upon finding out she was a guidance counselor he admits he never went. Despite Madison’s observation, he tells her that he wasn’t lonely. He had the ranch. Everything he does is in service of it. Troy says his father understands and that complicated problems call for complicated solutions. Madison isn’t buying it and she calls him on it, telling him killing people isn’t complicated – it’s simple.
This apparently equals Madison understanding both this world and Troy. Her understanding of these things are what led him to pick her. He didn’t; however, pick Nick. Madison makes it very clear that it’s a package deal. That, despite Troy’s feeling like Nick didn’t deserve his place there, he would earn it. As Troy begins to leave, Madison reminds him that the bed he had been lying in had been made that morning. Troy makes the bed as Madison watches.
We find Strand (Colman Domingo) driving down a dirt road, apologizing as he bypasses the line of people and drives to the front. He parks and gets out, approaching the man who seems to be in charge and asks whether or not Mr. Dante, a friend of his, survived. The man simply points him to the back of the line, despite his efforts to bribe him. As he tries to leave, Strand grabs him. There’s a scuffle before a man approaches and he seems to know Strand. Meet Mr. Dante (Jason Manuel Olazabal).
Alicia is restless, playing with her knife as Madison returns. Nick feels like they need a plan if they’re going to stay there. He just wants to start over somewhere that isn’t here. Madison reminds him, again, that Travis died to get them there and that they’re not leaving. Nick thinks they’ll make Luciana leave. Madison tells him he’ll have a decision to make.
In Jeremiah’s office, Jake’s concerned about the team they sent out. Madison enters. She wants Jeremiah to keep a leash on his son and help with the residents. But Jeremiah’s not a dictator. He helps who needs it. Madison needs it. She reminds him of Troy’s behavior at the depot and says maybe the ranch should know about it. Jeremiah isn’t impressed. Though, he won’t allow anyone to drown without first teaching them how to swim and instructs Jake to show her the lectures. Alone in the other room, Jake and Madison speak briefly about Troy and she thanks him for saving Alicia, but Jake says Alicia saved him too.
Alicia is watching the horses as she waits for Gretchen and Nick approaches. The two of them talk. Nick is starting to notice the difference in Alicia’s behavior. He asks her what happened to her out there, but Alicia only gives him a look before walking off to meet her new friends.
Troy’s working on a fence that the boar has torn down again. Jake arrives to tell him to stay away from the Clarks. They’re there under his invite and his protection – mainly from Troy. He needs him to understand and Troy says he does. But does he really?
Gretchen, Terry and Gabe lead Alicia to an underground bunker for bible study. The boys start getting out the “study materials,” which turns out to be liquor and a homemade bong that they give to Alicia first, since she’s new to the group. This is not what Alicia expected, but that doesn’t stop her from partaking. A few minutes later, Alicia asks about Geoff, who Gretchen had told her she would meet. The group shares a laugh and Gretchen pulls a bird cage out of a barrel, sitting it in front of Alicia. It turns out that Geoff (Marshall Fox) is a disembodied zombie head they keep in a cage. Alicia is very amused by this as she bursts out laughing. A juxtaposition from the serious girl we usually see.
Madison finds an old tape of raw footage of Jeremiah’s video series. This footage reveals a much different side of the allegedly happy Otto family we saw in the finished product. Jeremiah has a very ugly fight with his wife, Tracy (Emma Caulfield). Madison realizes that he’s standing behind her as she turns it off. His wife was an alcoholic and as Madison reveals more about her dark past it seems so was her father. Troy was the one who took care of his mother and she hated him for it. Jeremiah was never around, he was selling his buckets. He tells Madison that he suffered from the same affliction.
After a brief scene where Strand and Dante speak about Thomas Abigail (Dougray Scott), we find the Christ Rizen gang still hanging out with Geoff. He has questions for Alicia. The first question is easy for her, but the second one is a little more unsettling. Geoff wants to know what it’s like out there. “Chaos, ruin and it changes you.” Alicia says. “Not like Geoff. Something worse.” Alicia asks Geoff who the Ottos are. Gretchen tells her that Troy and the militia do what they can’t. They protect them. Alicia tells them they can’t rely on the Troys of the world anymore. Now, Geoff wants to know what bad stuff Alicia has done out there.
“I killed a man.” Alicia says. Gretchen wants to know how it felt. Alicia answers without hesitation. “Easy.” This is a much different Alicia than we’ve seen in previous seasons. She’s colder, more hardened. Given all that she’s been through, it’s no wonder.
Dante shows Strand how there is no room in his world for those he considers bad. He proves this by shoving a man over the rail to a pile of walkers below. It seems this is a regular practice. Dante’s henchmen grab Strand, holding him over the edge. Dante feels that Strand, after taking his people’s land in a past business deal, is now here to take his water (the new currency in this new world). Despite Strand’s efforts to convince him otherwise, Dante feels it’s in his nature – the need to take. He will let Strand live, for now, but he wants to make him suffer and feel powerless like those he’s taken from.
After Nick agrees to go boar hunting with Troy and Alicia at her Bible study, this has left Madison with nothing to do but stare up at the stars. Jeremiah approaches. The two bond over the things they do to and for their children. Jeremiah broke Troy in the old world, but in this one he has purpose. And nothing heals a family more than that. He tells her they will build something better than before and wants to know if her family is up for it. They absolutely are.
At the boar hunt, Nick and Troy seem to be playing a game of cat and mouse. Troy is following him at a distance, but Nick isn’t stupid and he hides – tackling Troy as he passes. He puts the gun to his chin and wonders aloud how long it would take him to turn. Unsurprisingly, he knows. “87 minutes.” He answers. Troy wants Nick to kill him, time it and document it in his journal. Nick tells Troy he’s not a scientist. Troy’s argument is that Newton stabbed his own eye to understand the nature of light. He needs to know why they spoil. Nick stands up and shoots the gun down at Troy. But it was only to prove a point. As Nick walks away, he’s tackled to the ground by a screaming Troy, which only makes him laugh maniacally. “I think we can be friends now.” Troy tells him.
Madison visits Luciana in the infirmary. Madison makes it clear that Travis saved them and they aren’t going to throw that away. They are going to survive now, at all costs.
Alicia and friends have resurfaced from their all night bible study and encounter Jake, who’s working on an ATV. He teases them about turning water into wine, to which Alicia responds, “Praise Jesus,” with a wide smile before continuing on.
It’s roasted boar on the spit for lunch as Jeremiah addresses everyone about the missing team that still haven’t returned. Troy’s taking a search party out and Madison volunteers. That settled, everyone’s having lunch and Madison goes over to sit with Troy. He seems just as surprised as her own children (and the rest of us). And in a move that says Madison is either taking pity on the boy or up to something, she unfolds two napkins, placing one on her lap and the other on Troy’s.
Strand is now Dante’s prisoner. Someone knocks on the bars of his window, pushing a canteen inside. Wasting no time, he drinks it down quickly before turning to come face to face with Daniel Salazar (Ruben Blades), whom we haven’t seen since the fire he started (and seemingly succumbed to) back at the Abigail compound. “I knew you would drink it all,” Daniel says to a confused Strand. Then, in a throwback to a conversation they had on The Abigail, Daniel reminds him as the episode ends, “I told you I’d be your guardian angel.”