The title of this week’s episode of Fear the Walking Dead “TEOTWAWKI” is short for “The end of the world as we know it.” The situation in Fear the Walking Dead (and of course The Walking Dead) certainly qualifies as an example. This week we get a better look at a group prepared for TEOTWAWKI.

Depending on who is in your circle of acquaintances and what corners of the Internet you poke around in you may or may not be aware of the business side of doomsday prepping*. It turns out that Jeremiah Otto used to sell doomsday prep supplies and video tapes before The End (TE).

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His video commercial shows that Jeremiah has been thinking about and prepping for TEOTWAWKI for a long time. The Broke Jaw Ranch is practically a cult of the prepared, many of whom resent the Clarks’ arrival since among other things it cost the life of one of their own. Though the Broke Jaw folks have been preparing for TE the group has broken down into two sub-groups like pretty much every other settlement we’ve seen in the TWD world - those who go outside the relative safety of the settlement and those who don’t. The inside people are better prepared and less sheltered than the folks of Alexandria, but they still aren’t fully ready to deal with the realities outside the ranch yet. This disparity shows up during a light scene when Alicia is chilling with some other kids (and a walker head). Alicia is an outside person who has seen and done things the other kids haven’t (remember Carl’s first encounter with other teens in Alexandria?).

Troy (very much an outside person) is still creeping on Madison. Now that we’ve seen his mother in the video, it looks more and more like he sees Madison as a mother surrogate. (Jeremiah also seems to have an interest in Madison, who is after all one of the few unattached women of appropriate age around.) Judging from Madison’s actions later she probably picked up on Troy’s craving for a mother and is playing into that.

Troy and Nick won’t be swapping spit in the shower (except in someone’s fanfic) but after Nick gets the drop and almost kills him Troy probably has some respect for Nick now. That’s my read anyway looking at it as a somewhat extreme form of a common male dominance game.

Meanwhile Strand finds an old business associate, Dante, who is now running a water business (water being another big TEOTWAWKI commodity). But Dante bears a grudge against Strand. Instead of working together as Strand hoped, Dante almost kills him then throws him into a cell and plans to have Strand work off the debt Dante says he owes. And he sees Daniel Salazar who is apparently not quite dead yet. It makes sense that if he is alive he is more likely to still be in Mexico where Strand encounters him than somehow wandering into Broke Jaw Ranch.

Assorted Thoughts:

  • The video commercial has a lot of coded language to remind us that Jeremiah Otto’s vision is of a certain kind of America being rebuilt. If you didn’t pick up on it then you need to pay more attention to what’s going on in the real world because I won’t spell it out for you.
  • Jeremiah identifies himself on the video as Jeremiah Otto Sr. which implies that there is (or was) a Jeremiah Jr. I don’t think Jake is a nickname for Jeremiah Jr. so I think there’s an Otto boy unaccounted for. Or I’m overthinking this. Anyway, what’s the story?
  • The identity of the who shot it the helicopter is still a mystery. Jake and Jeremiah talking privately apparently don’t know who it is any more than the rest of the ranch inhabitants.
  • Luciana wants to get the hell away from the ranch but being handcuffed to the bed makes that a little difficult.
  • Speaking of women and Otto hospitality, where’s Ofelia?

*Buckets of food are also handy for non-zombie emergency preparedness (like earthquakes here in California, hurricanes and snow storms). Besides the food, a waterproof container with a handle is a useful item to have.

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