Jeremiah Otto is flawed but he does drop some quotable lines. This week’s episode of Fear the Walking Dead is about the reactions to the events of last week. We also learn that after TEOTWAWKI a lawyer can still be a dangerous adversary.

We start off “Red Dirt” with Nick & Jeremiah bonding over pistol shooting and Alicia & Jake bonding over sleeping together. Both Clark children are worried about their mother since the recon party should have been back by now though both Ottos try to reassure them. The recon party returns and the folks at the Broke Jaw Ranch find out the highlight of Troy and Madison’s Bogus Journey - the natives are on the warpath.

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The Ottos and Madison meet in Jeremiah’s office to discuss the situation. (This is when Jeremiah drops the line I used in the title.) The Native American leader Walker was a tribal lawyer before The End who has a long history of litigation and antagonism towards the ranch. It should be no surprise that Troy and Jake have different ideas about how to handle things. Troy is all for the armed confrontation approach while Jake wants to try to negotiate with Walker. He has beat him in court before (it’s not explicitly said but I’m assuming Jake is also a lawyer) and thinks he can work something out with a face-to-face sit down.

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The residents of the ranch are scared some are considering leaving. After Walker’s people sneak into the ranch that night and set several small fires inside the compound, Vernon Trimbol, the last of the ranch’s founders besides Jeremiah, packs up his family and rolls out headed for Colorado.

Jeremiah gets drunk in Nick’s cabin. Nick can easily spot another substance abuser so he knows how to handle him. Jeremiah shoots some holes in the floorboards then passes out while muttering about blood in the earth (dead wife buried there perhaps?).

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When one of Vernon’s horse shows up back at the Broke Jaw, Jeremiah, Nick, and Madison drive out to see what happened to Vernon and his family. They find Vernon’s RV shot up and the Trimbols dead (and undead).

They deal with the undead ones. Madison can’t bring herself to shoot Alicia’s friend Gretchen so Nick racks up his first kill with his new pistol instead. Jeremiah and Nick suspect Troy killed the Trimbols since Walker’s people would have taken the horses and all the supplies. The bodies are piled in the back of the truck and they return to the ranch with the RV.

Madison makes a speech to the ranch residents claiming that Walker’s people killed the Trimbols. She says that it’s too dangerous for people to flee the ranch in small numbers and it’s better for everyone to stay together at the ranch.

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After Madison’s speech Alicia packs a bag and sets off after Jake who has snuck out to find Walker at the Black Hat Reservation.

Nick confronts his mother about the speech. She counters that no one would believe them. Nick says he would have backed her play if she had told him but also reminds her to not forget what Troy is. Troy admits to Madison that he followed the Trimbols and things got out of hand.

Madison and Troy continue to have a complicated relationship. Troy still has a bit of a mommy fixation with her. I doubt Troy has said “ma’am” in a respectful manner in a long time. Madison sees him as the person who can protect the ranch so if she can’t make him a better person at least she’s going to try to keep him from becoming a worse one.

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The issue of who would take over when something happens to Jeremiah is discussed (foreshadow alert!). Both Troy and Jake would inherit the ranch but the question of who would become the actual leader is open.

I mentioned this a few weeks ago. Much like Alexandria in The Walking Dead, the Broke Jaw Ranch has two distinct groups. The outside group - people like Troy and his militia - have spent time outside the compound and understand what that world is like while the inside people have spent most if not all their time inside the compound. The inside people depend on Troy and his militia to protect them and may not have the skills to survive on their own. Jake has spent time outside the compound but hasn’t fully accepted the mindset that goes with that. The Clarks are outside people so Madison accepts that Troy is a necessary evil to protect the ranch. Will that choice end up biting her on the ass? It’s the Walking Dead universe so of course it will.

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Walker and his people don’t appear in this episode but their presence is felt. We now know that Walker has had a beef with the Broke Jaw Ranch since long before The End. I don’t see it as the kind of thing he will just walk away from after TEOTWAWKI. If anything, he’s now free to take the gloves off and use any means necessary without the constraints of the (white man’s) law. I just don’t see Jake making any headway trying to negotiate a settlement that both sides can agree to.

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Assorted Thoughts:

  • Madison still has that extendable baton she found last week. I assumed it was taken along with the firearms by Walker’s tribe but I guess not.
  • Since I’ve spent a lot of time handling and shooting firearms I couldn’t help noticing something during the two target shooting scenes that probably doesn’t mean anything (but might). When Nick and Jeremiah are shooting pistols they aren’t using hearing protection but when Jake and Alicia are on the range they are. (If you’re not familiar with firearms, repeated exposure even to pistol fire can lead to hearing loss.)
  • This week’s Ofelia Watch is different since the preview for next week shows where she is if you pay attention. (Spoilery speculation ahead) That would make things a little awkward when Alicia shows up at the Black Hat Reservation. Remember that Ofelia bailed on Alicia while she was in the shower.