I didn’t even realize the third season of Fear the Walking Dead was going to premiere last night until I noticed it while scrolling through my cable channel guide yesterday afternoon. Since I stuck with the show this far I went ahead and watched the double episode premiere.

The first season of FtWD was an interesting look at the start of a zombie apocalypse. The second season headed into familiar The Walking Dead territory with survivors finding places that are safe until something (which usually means someone) screws things up. The lyrics may be different but the song remains the same. Season three looks to continue that trend.

The second season ended with Nick and a wounded Luciana captured while crossing the US-Mexican border; Madison, Travis, and Alicia headed to the border on Nick’s trail; and Strand choosing to hang out at the Rosarito Beach Hotel even though he helped the others leave after Travis and Alicia got a little murdery.

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Season three starts with Madison, Travis, and Alicia captured by the same folks who captured Nick and Luciana. Madison and Alicia are singled out and and treated nicely by the leader of the group, Troy, who has a creepy interest with Madison. Given the relative ages I’m guessing there’s a mommy issue involved. Madison responds by almost popping his eye out with a spoon. Meanwhile Travis, Nick, and Luciana break out from the building where they’re slated for execution with Travis ending up in a pit fighting a horde of walkers. Troy’s older brother Jake shows up and de-escalates the situation. The extended Clark clan reunites then gets split apart again during a surprise walker incursion. Madison and Nick roll out in a truck convoy with Troy headed towards his family’s compound while Travis, Alicia and Luciana board a helicopter with Jake to fly to the same destination.

The second half of the premiere starts with the helicopter receiving gunfire from the ground (we don’t know yet just who was shooting at the ‘copter but I suspect it wasn’t totally random). Travis is hit. Instead of dying in the chopper and forcing Alicia to finish him off when he turns, Travis goes out the door in a no-saving-throw-allowed death (the showrunner was unequivocal about him being dead even if we didn’t actually see Travis go splat). And the helicopter crashlands.

Back at the hotel, Strand pretends to be a doctor to defuse a refugee situation at the gate. He is later told to leave because things will get bad if his deception is discovered. But first he is sent to treat one last patient - Ilene, the woman who stabbed him. She is depressed and has been refusing to eat. She apologizes for what she did and asks Strand to fix her stuck balcony door. Strand fixes her balcony door since of course it’s a good idea to give a depressed person access to a high rise balcony. Ilene gives Strand a car key then jumps from the balcony. Strand finds the sports car in the garage and drives away from the Rosarito Beach Hotel.

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Madison and Nick get to the family compound, Broke Jaw Ranch, where they find out the helicopter is overdue with no word on what happened and meet the family patriarch, Jeremiah Otto. Alicia, Jake, and Luciana arrive on foot later in the day. There is a tense standoff about letting the wounded Luciana in to be treated but Jeremiah allows her in. Madison finds out about Travis and has to deal with it. Madison tells Nick and Alicia that the ranch will be their new home even if they have to take it over.

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Assorted Thoughts:

  • Jeremiah is obviously a Doomsday Prepper. I don’t know if this sort of thing showed up in the comics but I think it’s new for the TWD TV universe. Since the actors playing Jeremiah and his sons are regulars I’m assuming we’ll be at the ranch for a while… until something (which usually means someone) screws things up.
  • Ofelia (remember her?) was captured by Jeremiah last season after she crossed the border so it’s safe to assume we’ll find out what happened to her soon.
  • The Broke Jaw Ranch looks like it’s populated by all different shades of white*. Given Troy’s comments about Travis’ ethnicity I expect race may be an issue with Luciana and Ofelia.
  • I wonder where they’re going with Strand’s story. It seems unlikely at this point that he will run into the Clark clan anytime soon if at all.

*Lighten up, pendants. You know how I’m using the expression.