Fear The Walking Dead S03E08 “Children of Wrath” REVIEW

Fear The Walking Dead S03E08 “Children of Wrath” REVIEW

0 comments 📅19 July 2017, 00:04

Airing in the UK on AMC, exclusive to BT, Mondays at 2am and 9pm 
Writer: Jami O’Brien
Director: Andrew Bernstein

Essential Plot Points:

  • We’re back in the past with Ofelia taking fire from Jeremiah. He questions her, lets her go because she’s American and refuses to help in any way shape or form. With no choice, Ofelia walks off into the desert. She loses her pack. She loses her water. Delirious and near death, she hallucinates her father yelling at her to stay awake. She mumbles ‘I forgive you’ and passes out. She’s rescued and brought to the gas station where Walker cleans her up, lets her rest and gives her food.

  • And we flash back to Madison running off into the dark in pursuit of Ofelia. She catches her, drags her out of a truck and proceeds to punch her into unconsciousness.
  • Amazingly the ranch survives the night. As does Nick. Jake and Alicia are working in the sick bay tent when Jeremiah arrives. Another rancher succumbs to their wounds and Jeremiah ends his suffering.
  • It was a hit. Ofelia put something in the militia’s coffee. Her wounds were a scam.

  • Madison, alone with Ofelia, drives her to the diner. At gun point she walks her in and demands to know what poison it was.
  • Walker tells her; anthrax. Cultivated from animal hides. And there’s no cure.
  • Impressed by her brutal honesty, Walker tells her she’s free to go. Walker tries to reassure her; Nick’s young and strong, he’ll live. They should leave. She tells him they’ve fought too hard. He tells her ‘then you’ll die.’
  • Victor’s alive! And has become adept at moving between the Walkers while not being covered in gore somehow! He’s scavenging at a seaside villa when he spots something impossible;
    his yacht.
  • Wading out to the Abigail with no weapons or equipment, he finds it infested with Walkers. He arms up, dispatches them all in short order and, suddenly, has his home back.
  • Back at the ranch, Nick wakes up and pukes. He’s healing, slowly.
  • Madison returns and tells them what it is. Madison tries to insinuate herself into the command structure yet again and Jake, a few episodes late, shuts her down hard.

  • Aboard the Abigail, Victor realises just how little is left. The windows are gone, the engines are shot, there’s no power. The shell of his old home is rendered down to little more than a shortwave radio, a jacket and a bottle of champagne. Victor Strand, King of Nothing.
  • At the infirmary, Nick is feeling much better and persuades Jake to both let him loose and maybe take his place in the bed as Jake’s still tending his wounds. Jake warns Nick that Jeremiah will disappoint him. Nick, is Nick, and doesn’t listen.
  • Ofelia confronts Walker about what he had her do. He doesn’t apologise but is painfully honest with her about why he saved her and the debt they owe one another.
  • They’re interrupted by the alarm going up. There’s fire on the outskirts of the gas station.
  • They run out. Madison and Alicia, in a nearby truck hitch up to the trailer containing Walker’s ancestor’s remains. As they do, an ugly gunfight cuts down every member of the militia aside from Troy.
  • Back at the ranch, Nick is digging up something beneath the floor of his cabin. He finds it, and takes it to Jeremiah..
  • Nick pulls the skull he dug out of the floor out of a sack and asks why Jeremiah shot at it.
  • He comes clean. Ish. He claims that the tribe sold him the land but the younger members objected to it and terrorised the ranch. Jeremiah and the other founding fathers murdered four of them in revenge.
  • Nick is disgusted. Jeremiah doesn’t care.
  • Madison and Alicia roll back with the trailer just as Walker’s men appear on the ridge.
    Nick shows Alicia and Madison the skull. Madison doesn’t feel it changes anything. Alicia and Nick aren’t having it. They won’t cross this line.
  • Madison will. And then Nick comes clean about the Trimbles, and who knew, and why.
  • Alicia is REPULSED. She screams at Madison that she doesn’t have feelings and that’s why Dad was so depressed all the time. Madison retorts that she can’t afford feelings because of everything else she carries,
  • Back on the Abigail, Strand is blind drunk and wakes up to a radio signal.
  • The message is from a cosmonaut. He explains that the lights have gone out all over the world and he’s speaking to Victor from his grave. The two men bond over famous last words. Then, the signal is lost and Victor, sobbing, is left alone once again.
  • At the ranch, Madison offers peace and the artefacts in return for keeping the Ranch. From Captain MurderFace this is frankly astounding. Especially when she returns the skull of Walker’s father.
  • It doesn’t work. He refuses the skull. And the relics. They have until sun down the next day to clear out.
  • With a new lease on life, Victor clears the Abigail of what he can use and douses the boat in as much flammable alcohol as he hasn’t drunk yet. Then he leaves.
  • At the ranch, Madison talks to her kids about her childhood. At one remove, she talks about how loved her father was and how relentlessly he beat her father. She admits that she shot and killed her father to prevent it. She makes it clear that she’d do it again. She makes it clear that she knows just what she’s done and what she’s capable of. And then she goes to see Jeremiah to tell him to put his pride away and make peace.
  • Jeremiah is nailing boards across the door. He’s drinking, and invites Madison to bring her family to the house to hold out if it comes to it. Madison points out it isn’t ‘if’ it’s ‘when’.
  • Then, she explains that what she told Jake was a lie; there is a way to secure the peace.

  • Jeremiah jokingly asks if she’s there to kill him.
  • She doesn’t laugh.
  • Instead, she places her gun on the table and tells him she can’t do it. So she’s going to let him do it.
  • Jeremiah rages at her. Flat out refuses to do it. And then, Nick arrives. Jeremiah struts and monologues, explaining that Madison is exactly like him and…
  • Then Nick shoots Jeremiah in the face.
  • Madison grabs the gun, cleans it and tells Nick to do exactly what she says.
  • The Otto boys arrive and tearfully realise what’s happened.

  • In montage we see them wrap Jeremiah’s body, put it in the back of a truck and drive it out to the ranch line. Madison, Alicia and Nick watch them go. The next morning, Madison meets Walker at the ranch line and hands him a bag. Inside is Jeremiah’s head. Walker nods and walks off.


That’s how you close out a midseason. Given that the last time the show was here, Travis was taking Chris The Murder Child into the desert with no clothes or shoes it’s safe to say this is a massive improvement on a year ago.

It’s also a hell of a way to bring the first phase of the ranch plot into land. Kim Dickens owns this episode as Madison, not just in her chilling twin closing speeches but throughout the rest of it. This is Madison seen from the outside in a way that the show has never really done before. She’s officious, bossy, pushy and impulsive. She does at least two things that in isolation here are blisteringly stupid. She’s a liability for much of the running time here.

And then we get that first speech and the conversational way she explains the horrific childhood she had and how she dealt with it and what that cost her. And suddenly every cold moment across three seasons makes sense. Most importantly, her increasingly deranged seeming devotion to the ranch makes sense. Madison needs something that holds together. Absolutely nothing else in her life has and if she has to start a war to get that done, so be it.

That is startlingly brave and complicated territory for a show to farm and it’s the exact sort of thing that two seasons ago FTWD would have shot for and missed by a country mile. Here, especially in the closing scene with Jeremiah, it hits the bullseye. Madison still has blood on her hands but not a war. She has a win but not trust. A home but not peace. Not yet.

Make no mistake this is an impressive ensemble effort but its Madison you remember. She’s finally become the character they’ve tried to make her for two and a half years; a Rick-like but entirely unique leader whose fierce self-awareness is matched only by her ruthlessness. She isn’t close to a hero. Not yet. And neither are the others. But, after eight episodes of terror and increasingly disturbing choices, she may finally be on the way. And the show, at last, has found its legs. Bring on season 3b.

The Good:

  • KIM DICKENS. Madison, just one episode ago, was careening head long into villain territory. Here she’s revealed to have context for every dead-eyed action and violent choice she’s made. This is an absolute razor line to walk and Dickens positively dances along it turning someone who has, at times, been one of the show’s weakest links into its strongest.
  • The entire closing scene between Madison and Jeremiah is incredible.
  • Frank Dillane doing great work once again here, with Nick’s tangible disgust going arm in arm with his new found moral adaptability.
  • The entire cosmonaut scene. Because Colman Domingo is so damn good he can play alone to a voiceover and still move you to tears. And because this may be the show’s very subtle salute to one of the best sequences in Max Brooks’ World War Z. In that, a downed pilot is guided out of a swamp full of zombies only to discover something very odd about the voice on the other end…To say anything more would spoil arguably the best part of an amazing book but if this is a salute to it, it’s a perfect one.
  • ‘I’m not going to kill you, Jeremiah. For all the reasons you said. Plus I think it would disappoint my kids. And I’m tired of disappointing them.’
  • ‘Do not wait for your deathbed to enjoy your champagne, Victor.’
  • ‘I know it’s hard to understand.’
  • ‘This is Walker’s uncle?’
    ‘Nope, this son of a bitch is Walker’s father.’
  • ‘There’s not many of your kind.’ – A needed reminder that Jeremiah is a racist scumbag.
  • ‘You set a world record for Stockholm Syndrome.’ – Thanks Captain Racist’s Friend!

The Bad:

  • Nick gets better from Anthrax. Overnight. Really?!

And the Random:

  • Andrew Bernstein has directed for shows like Tyrant, Elementary, Psych and The West Wing.
  • Jami O’Brien has written for Hell on Wheels, The Deep End and more as well as being co-executive producer of Hell on Wheels.
Review by Alasdair Stuart

No Comments

No Comments Yet!

You can be first one to write a comment

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.