The back half of this season of Fear the Walking Dead hasn’t really inspired me to write about individual episodes but I’ll still do a write-up of Season 3.2 if for no other reason than it does set up some potential crossover points with the original show.
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that by the end of the season the Clarks and their friends have managed to help the fall of two potential safe places. It’s not fair to completely blame them but their actions hastened events that probably would have happened eventually.
At the end of Season 3.1 Madison had forged a deal with Qaletaqa Walker to end the standoff at the Broke Jaw Ranch and Walker’s tribe moves into the ranch. Of course everyone isn’t going to live happily ever after in peace and harmony.
After a rise in tensions the tribe goes to collect firearms from the ranchers. Troy in particular isn’t thrilled with this and barricades himself and Nick inside his house while shooting at Walker’s men. When the tribesmen break through the barricade they surprisingly don’t just shoot Troy and Nick dead but take them prisoner. Nick gets tossed in a sweatbox and Troy is exiled from the ranch. Troy attacks his guard and tells Madison, who is holding a pistol on him, that he’ll be back to cause trouble. Madison lets Troy go. That good deed will definitely not go unpunished.
Meanwhile the ranch is facing a water shortage (Jeremiah’s initial assessments of water reserves were wrong) exacerbated by the extra people of the tribe. Madison and Walker head for a trading post in Mexicali to buy water. The trading post is basically Bartertown without the Thunderdome (though it is in a stadium). Madison runs into Strand there. Strand is in trouble with Proctor John, the local warlord who runs the place. Walker has made a deal to buy a full truckload of water but finds that Madison has taken the money to buy Strand’s freedom. In exchange, Strand is going to lead them to a dam that can provide a long term solution to their water problem.
At the dam Daniel isn’t thrilled to see Strand again but is pleased to learn that Ofelia really is alive. Madison and Lola finally reach a deal where the dam will provide a full water truck weekly to the ranch in exchange for firearms and ammunition to protect the dam. One last provision of the deal is that Ofelia shows up at the first exchange at the Mexicali Bartertown. (And the deathclock suddenly appears over Ofelia’s head.)
Meanwhile back at the ranch Troy sneaks in to tell Nick that a “reckoning” is coming. Nick and Jake take a truck to look for Troy. They find that Troy is herding a horde of infected towards the ranch. Nick radios back to warn Alicia of the horde. Jake gets bitten by an infected. Nick cuts off Jake’s arm to stop the spread but Jake dies anyway. The horde overruns the ranch. Alicia, Ofelia and what’s left of the ranchers and the tribe retreat into the pantry and seal themselves in.
In the pantry things get dire when the ventilation system stops working. There are only a few hours left before carbon dioxide buildup will kill everyone. Ofelia and Crazy Dog climb into an airshaft to try to fix whatever is wrong. Alicia has the grim task of killing all the people who were bitten during the horde attack. Alicia finally passes out as the air starts running out and people around her die and turn. Ofelia and Crazy Dog find the problem - an infected stuck in the fan blades. They clear the infected out of the way but all three fall to the bottom of the shaft before they kill the infected. Madison, Strand, Nick, and Troy enter the pantry and get Alicia out. They, along with Ofelia and Crazy Dog, are the only survivors of the Broke Jaw Ranch. Alicia decides to drive away on her own. Nick and Troy follow at a distance.
On the way to Bartertown the group finds that Ofelia has been bitten (when the infected was on top of her in the air shaft). Her deathclock has almost run out. Nick and Troy talk to Alicia but she’s adamant about being on her own so they head south to Bartertown. Nick pops one of Ofelia’s painkillers while he’s watching her and boom, it’s the return of junkie Nick. That night Ofelia dies just before Daniel arrives. He’s distraught and shoots her in the head to prevent her from turning. Daniel offers to let Madison’s group come to the dam. Strand proposes some kind of deal with Proctor John. Nick and Troy stay behind at Bartertown. Madison knows Nick is up to something but she doesn’t object. Alicia ends up joining forces with another solitary woman on the road.
Troy and Nick find out the Proctors are up to something big and head to the dam to warn Madison and the rest. The dam’s defenders decide to rig the dam with explosives as a bargaining chip. Strand admits to Nick that he made a deal with Proctor John to allow Nick and Madison safe passage from the dam. Daniel interrogates Nick about the horde that attacked the ranch. Nick covers for Troy but Daniel is probably not convinced that Troy was responsible. Troy admits to Madison that he lead the horde to the ranch. Madison finally does what she should have done long before now and beats Troy to death with a hammer (well, I’m pretty sure he’s dead). Strand has redirected the water flow to allow the Proctors to enter the dam through the pipes. Daniel and Lola confront Strand. He ends up shooting Daniel in the face, but not fatally. Strand lets Lola lead Daniel away then hides Madison and Nick in a spare room. Strand takes the detonator for the explosives.
Alicia’s new friend is injured during an ambush and they head to Bartertown to get her treated. The doctor is impressed with Alicia and recruits her to help with a surgical operation. The patient is Proctor John who has a growth on his spine. He likes Alicia and takes her with him to the dam.
Proctor John and Alicia arrive at the dam’s dock and are met by Stand. He realizes Alicia and Strand know each other and finds out the deal with Strand was for her mother. Strand tries to sneak Madison and Nick out of the dam but Lola appears and starts shooting Proctors. She is shot in the head by Proctor John (a definite kill shot, no saving throw allowed). Proctor John decides to kill Nick since he warned the dam defenders they were coming. And to prevent any revenge he’ll kill Alicia and Madison as well.
Nick is able to get the detonator from Strand. He demands that Madison, Alicia, and Strand be allowed to leave in one of the Zodiac boats while he stays behind with the detonator. Madison, Alicia, and Strand head off in a boat. Proctor John and his men close in on Nick thinking he’s bluffing. A shot rings out and we see that Crazy Dog is sniping from a nearby high point with Walker spotting. Daniel (who may have even better plot armor than Nick) also shows up on the dam shooting Proctors. Nick finally flips the switch on the detonator. The dam fractures and begins to fail. Daniel reaches Nick on the dam while Proctor John and his men scatter. The boat is sucked back towards the dam by the rush of water passing through to the dam to flood the other side. Madison swims to the side of the newly formed river and crawls out of the water. There is no sign of Alicia or Strand.
- A big flaw with the Broke Jaw Ranch was that it was too difficult to defend. Pre-TEOTWAWKI no one was expecting a zombie horde but the ranch wasn’t even very defensible against something more foreseeable like an armed standoff like Walker’s.
- Proctor John is a decent villain. He has big plans like Negan to create an empire that stretches from Texas to Baja California. But he’s not creating a cult with people saying “I am Proctor John” or being overly theatrical about doing things.
Crossover potential (in likely order as I see it):
- Proctor John specifically mentions Houston, Texas as the eastern anchor of his empire. That could put Eugene, Rosita, and Abraham in play before they run into the Rick & Friends Road Show. Since Abraham is dead that frees up Michael Cudlitz to play the most likely crossover character for several episodes. Or Proctor John and his men turn up as rivals to the Saviors. Proctor John might ally with Rick to force a two front war on the Saviors. Of course there would be that sudden but inevitable betrayal after the defeat of the Saviors.
- Qaletaqa Walker and Crazy Dog head north after their sniper job at the dam. They could also wander eastwards and end up in Savior territory where they join forces with Rick & Friends. Walker isn’t going to bend his knee to Negan so I don’t see him and Crazy Dog being Saviors.
- Luciana hasn’t been seen since she reached the border after leaving the Broke Jaw Ranch (other than in one of Madison’s Christmas themed visions). It’s a longshot but if she’s not being used on FtWD the character might as well show up on TWD for her tragic death.