Fear The Walking Dead S03E12 “Brother’s Keeper” REVIEW

Fear The Walking Dead S03E12 “Brother’s Keeper” REVIEW

0 comments 📅26 September 2017, 00:01

Airing in the UK on AMC, exclusive to BT, Mondays at 2am and 9pm 
Writer: Wes Brown
Director: Alrick Riley

Essential Plot Points:

  • Troy is out in the wilds. Alone. Alive. Taking notes. Always studying, always trying to understand.
  • He makes it to Walkers’ old land. Now abandoned. There are a few supplies, some buildings. Enough for him to get shelter, at least for a while. Not to mention a weapon. He buries the old man that Madison killed, sits in the chair he was dumped in and spends a long time trying to figure out if he’s going to kill himself with his last bullet. And then he turns, and sees something. Raises the pistol, fires his last round and fires. He smiles as Walker howls begin to rise…
  • Back at the Ranch, Nick and Crazy Dog are leading a guard party. Notably, no one is wearing uniforms anymore. The pair talk, realize they have no choice but to put the herd down before they die from lack of water and go about it.
  • Jake is far from okay with the choice, not least because it wasn’t his. Alicia comforts him as best she can and tells him at least they have somewhere. Jake asks if she wants to leave with him and go live in a cabin they have near game. Jake doesn’t feel even a little at home.
  • And neither does Crazy Dog. Ofelia points out that if Madison and Walker don’t make it back, Jake’s weak and they’ll take over. Crazy Dog replies that Nick, already in the middle of the two groups, doesn’t want to be a leader. And that’s exactly why he should be.
  • Nick and Alicia talk. Nick admits he’s haunted by the murder of Otto and the fact Troy is still out there somewhere. Nick asks if perhaps he’s as sick as Troy. Alicia does not have an answer.
  • That night, Nick is woken by someone breaking into the house. It is, of course, Troy.
  • Troy tells him a reckoning is at hand. That a beast from the desert is coming and there is nothing they can do to stop it. Troy locks himself into the house and tells Nick that the ranch will be obliterated in a few hours and to get Jake…
  • The next morning Jake and Alicia talk. She wants to dig another well while he’s mentally packing. He asks her just what it is she’s fighting for and asks if she was taking advantage. He asks her if this is a relationship or an alliance. He accuses her of seducing him to help control the Ranch.
  • Nick arrives, tells them about Troy, inadvertently diffusing the argument. Alicia tells Jake he’s the last good man she knows and Jake and Nick head out.
  • Nick tries to tell Jake that his brother tried to warn them. Jake tells Nick about the rabbit he found, skinned alive and staked out when they were both kids. Troy is sick. He won’t get better. Time to stop him.
  • Then, Nick spots a dust cloud covering the horizon.
  • It’s not a sandstorm.
  • It’s a herd.
  • Hundreds of Walkers strong and heading towards the Ranch.
  • Nick and Jake warn Alicia, then take the truck to try and drive them left.
  • Then, they see an explosion. Troy, with the grenade launcher, trying to attract the herd.
  • At the Ranch, Alicia and Ofelia level with each other as they best can.
  • Out on the ridge, Nick persuades Jake to let him talk to his brother. Troy admits that he’s been leading the herd this way for two straight days. Behind him, Jake cocks his pistol.
  • Troy raises the grenade launcher. Jake aims at his brother’s head.
  • Troy fires.
  • Jake beats his brother and holds him at gunpoint. Nick begs Jake to not kill his brother and Troy drops his bombshell.
  • Jake figures out Nick killed Jeremiah. And Jake, he doesn’t care. But Troy dies. Now. He cocks his pistol and Nick clubs him in the back.
  • At the Ranch, the dust cloud appears. Realizing what it is, the two groups decide to take a stand.
  • Troy and Nick race to get to Jake but they’re too late. He’s bitten. Nick asks Troy how long his brother has and he has no answer. Nick stretches Jake’s arm out and amputates it, hoping to stop the infection.
  • At the Ranch, there’s an argument over whether the herd is Troy’s fault. It’s broken up by Ofelia who persuades Crazy Dog to hand out weapons to everyone.
  • At the Ranch, Crazy Dog is channelling his inner Rick Grimes. He parks RVs, nose to tail, across the entire approach in the hopes of ‘bouncing;’ the herd past them.
  • The Walkers breach the gate and hit the RV wall. The combined ranchers and Nation work together to kill any that crawl under the RV line.
  • Out on the ridge, Nick watches through binoculars, unable to do anything.
  • Jake dies.
  • Troy is in shock, unable to accept that his brother is dead. He begs Nick to kill him and Nick kicks a gun over and spits that he should do it himself.
  • Alicia realises the RV wall won’t hold. She evacuates everyone to the pantry as the first RV drops and the Herd swarms in.
  • The evacuation is a catastrophe. It’s no one’s fault, it’s just a rout.
  • On the ridge, Jake, rises.
  • On the valley floor, Crazy Dog, Ofelia and Alicia find a dozen Walkers between them and the Pantry.
  • They’re out of bullets. They hack and club and hammer and stab their way through and, somehow, make it.
  • On the ridge, Troy kills his brother.
  • Numbly, he says ‘I need some sleep. ‘Nick responds ‘We need to find a way to save everyone you tried to kill. Sleep when you’re dead.’
  • In the Pantry, the Walkers pounding on the door, Alicia looks at the sea of terrified faces, all looking to her…


And again, Fear The Walking Dead raises it’s game. From the opening, silent sequence with Troy to the stunningly scored fall of the Ranch this episode continues the season’s trend of bringing disparate elements together. However, instead of characters, this time it’s the themes of the show.

Isolationism, the nihilistic desire to survive by yourself that Troy embodies and Jake thinks Alicia does is the most obvious throughline. Again it’s ‘live together die alone’ and the way the two groups at the Ranch come together is no less inspiring than the last time we saw them. Crazy Dog’s pragmatic bravery, Ofelia and Alicia taking turns saving one another, Alicia saving Coop from rising again. Even as these people fall, they’re doing their best to stand and that’s the sort of desperate, bloodied heroism that Rick, Darryl, Carol and Morgan would nod silently and approvingly at.

The flip side of that is shown in Troy’s arc this episode. He wants to see what happens when the Ranch falls. He still wants to understand why we spoil. He’s also, fundamentally, angry and lost and alone. The most telling moment this episode is when Jake is bitten. Troy, who the first time we saw him was murdering people for ‘science’ can’t answer how long his brother has to live. That will undoubtedly haunt him through what’s left of the season. Troy is alone, but not polished and perfect like he likes to pretend. Instead, he’s alienated and shattered, unable to understand what’s happened even when he put it in motion.

That brings us to the central theme of the entire show; that we survive. The echoes of Rick’s plan back at the start of season 6 are a nice touch, as is the drastically different outcome. Most telling though is the way the loss of the Ranch echoes the loss of Alexandria. This is the characters on the absolute back foot. But with four episodes to go in the season, it seems likely things won’t stay that way. The Ranch may well still be the central location for the show and, just like Alexandria did, that stability will strengthen every part of the show. Although, we’re guessing, we’re going to be down a few more characters by the time we get there…

All in all another belting episode of a massively improved season. Great stuff.

The Good:

  • Daniel Sharman is one of the best things to ever happen to this show. We cannot possibly see Troy making it to the end of the season alive but it’s going to be a hell of a ride.
  • The soundtrack over that final scrappy run to the Pantry was brilliant. Constant, rising, clenching musical tension.
  • Coop’s death. Such a vital moment for the show and Alicia and had real weight to it thanks to Matt Lasky’s work.
  • Ofelia and Alicia working together.
  • Crazy Dog’s pragmatic, calm heroism. We’re pretty certain he’s being set up to be a new primary character and we are just fine with that.
  • Alrick Riley always impresses but the way the Herd is shot here is a standout. There’s a definite sense of scale and an almost elemental feel to it.
  • ‘This…this is evolution. This is Darwinian.’
    ‘This is murder, Troy.’
  • ‘Once this gives everyone out here is gonna die.’
    ‘That’s the job.’ Protect the others.’
  • The careful phrasing of GOD HELP THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES, rather than GOD HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES is a nice, ambiguous touch.
  • ‘Tell me about the rabbits’ – Best Of Mice and Men joke we’ve heard this year.
  • ‘Thinking of checking out? We could go together.’
    ‘No little brother… you have to take this trip on your own.’

The Bad:

  • Honestly almost nothing. Maybe Nick could have been a little more emotional? No Luciana again? That’s it.

And the Random:

  • Matt Lasky, who was so good as Coop has previously appeared in How I Met Your Mother, NCIS: Los Angeles and games like Saints Row: The Third and WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2010.
  • Alrick Riley is a frequent flyer in the land of the dead, having directed three episodes of The Walking Dead across the last two years. He’s also worked extensively on NCIS, Person of Interest and Spooks.
  • Wes Brown is story editor on Fear The Walking Dead and has written for pretty much this entire season to date.
Review by Alasdair Stuart

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