Fear The Walking Dead S03E13 “This Land Is Your Land” REVIEW

Fear The Walking Dead S03E13 “This Land Is Your Land” REVIEW

0 comments 📅03 October 2017, 10:38

Fear The Walking Dead S03E13 “This Land Is Your Land” REVIEW

Airing in the UK on AMC, exclusive to BT, Mondays at 2am and 9pm 
Writer: Suzanne Heathcote
Director: Meera Menon

Essential Plot Points:

  • In the Pantry, the survivors are in shock. Alicia allows herself a few seconds of terror and then sets to work feeding and watering her people.
  • She sees one guy with a bite. And then Crazy Dog and Ofelia point out that the Pantry was never intended to house people and even if it was the vents have stopped working. They’re running out of oxygen.
  • Up top, Troy is bemoaning the Cormac McCarthyian horror of the world. Nick tells him to deal with it. They have work to do.
  • Downstairs, they’ve done the maths; two hours of air. Alicia suggests they euthanise the Bitten to buy more time.
  • Alicia chooses a second way; she talks to people. Lays it out. Explains that their enemy is time far more than the dead. And she asks those who have been bitten to come forward.
  • No one moves. Crazy Dog gears up to do it “the hard way” and then the bitten man Alicia saw reveals his wound to everyone.
  • And the others follow.
  • Up top, Troy comes up with a pretty solid plan; blow up the main fuel dump, use that as a distraction.
  • Downstairs, Ofelia is heading up to clear the vent with Crazy Dog as her back-up.
  • The Bitten work out the practicalities of voluntary euthanasia. They’ll take a sedative, pass out and then be “ended”. They don’t have enough bullets, so they’ll have to be stabbed. The first volunteer is sedated, lies down, and is turned over. Alicia severs his spine at the neck.
  • Then, sobbing, she runs out of the room and doubles over. Christine, one of the others, talks her down and, slowly, she gets back to work.
  • Upstairs, Troy and Nick blow the fuel reserve and drive the truck through the dead. Troy is in blood-soaked HEAVEN…
  • …Right up until they wipe the truck out on an RV. With nowhere else to go, they run for the Huey and are immediately boxed in. Both laugh.
  • Downstairs, Alicia is almost done in every sense of the word. The last of the Bitten left is the man who’s been helping her. He tearfully apologises and she ends him.
  • In the vents, Ofelia and Crazy Dog hit a drop. They have no choice but to turn around and go down feet first. Crazy can’t make it, he’s too big. He almost panics before Ofelia talks him down.
  • Alicia is numb. Christine, the lady who talked her down (and whose husband Alicia killed), talks about her past. She explains that she lost her first husband on 9/11, met her second in a support group and is no longer sure hiding from the world was the right thing to do. She asks Alicia to promise her not to make decisions based on fear.
  • In the vents, Crazy apologises. Ofelia brings him out of himself, and he admits how guilty he feels about not being able to save his family.

  • Downstairs, Alicia and Christine are talking about their favourite memories of the old world. She tells an adorable story about how badly she screwed up at a talent show and was rescued by Nick… who also screwed up. And, she realises, he got credit for it that she did not.
  • She passes out. Then she realises the air has gone and everyone is passed out. Barely conscious herself, she struggles to her feet.
  • Nick and Troy’s experience has not improved. Nick turns the rotors on and takes out a few of the Walkers before the others smash through the windows and…
  • …downstairs Alicia is subconscious and singing the song from the talent show. She sees someone else is awake and… they’ve turned!
  • She just, barely, kills them before passing out. And then, in the background, others stand up…
  • Crazy and Ofelia make it to the vents and find a Walker stuck in them. They try and pull it clear, only for Crazy to pass out. He collapses, dragging Ofelia and the Walker down onto each other. A frantic, scrabbling fight later and the Walker is dead.
  • Downstairs Alicia wakes up and finds at least a third of the survivors have turned. She kills the ones she can, drags Christine into the gun cage and locks the door. She takes down the remaining Walkers as upstairs Troy and Nick get ready to save their final bullet and… something massive explodes.
  • Downstairs Alicia is seconds from death when Madison, Strand, Troy and Nick kick the door in and save the day. Alicia tries to save Christine but she’s dead. Alicia stops her getting back up.
  • Upstairs, the Ranch is lost. Madison, Strand, Walker and Nick are prepping for the run to the trading post. They tell Ofelia about her father and she breaks down.
  • Alicia wakes up and they tell her about Jake. Nick lies, tells them that Troy was trying to warn them about the Horde rather than bring it down on them.
  • Madison tries to tell Alicia that the Ranch needs to be abandoned so they can move to the dam. She refuses. Flat out refuses to go. She’s done fighting. She’s done running. Madison’s way does not work.
  • She won’t go with them.
  • She’s going to Jake’s cabin. And she’s going alone.
  • She leaves and Nick persuades Madison to let him and Troy follow her to make sure she gets there safely. With no other option, and nowhere else to go, Madison lets her children leave.


Remember how last week we said the Ranch was going to be around for a while?

You win some, you lose some. And you LOSE some.

This isn’t just the best episode of the season to date, it may be the best episode Fear The Walking Dead has ever done. It takes two central ideas and turns both on their heads in the most horrifying, and realistic, way imaginable and the result s a horrific, and unforgettable, piece of TV.

Alycia Debnam-Carey is incredible here. She’s front and centre for almost the entire episode and we see her take Alicia Clark through every emotional extreme. Numb horror, desperate resourcefulness, rage, grief, hope, determination. It’s all here. In a news cycle dominated by criticism of female role models in geek culture, it’s especially powerful to see her work so well. Alicia, along with Chris, used to be one of this show’s weakest links. Now an entire episode can be hung off her. It’s an incredible testament to Debnam-Carey, Suzanne Heathcote’s stunning script and the show’s strong direction this season as a whole. Although Meera Menonz’s work this week is especially impressive.

Then there’s the fact that deaths, outside the main cast at least, can feel cheap on the show. Here, that’s thrown out of the window as we’re taken into the brutal practicalities of mass euthanasia. Every moment, from the volunteering of the Bitten to Alicia’s final stand, feels like the emotional peak. They do everything right, they try their best and in the end only a handful of people make it off the Ranch alive.

That’s the cold truth of this world, and it’s one that’s buried too often under the heroic self belief that Rick Grimes likes to lean on; sometimes you just die. No matter what. Alicia Clark learns that this week and it’s an electric, bleak and terrifying episode. It’s also one that brings Alicia’s plot to the fore at last; the dutiful child, the good daughter and the overlooked one too. Not any more.

We’d hope that Alicia gets some well-earned peace but that isn’t likely. So instead, let’s hope the show continues to build this extraordinary head of steam and cement its position as a true gem of genre TV. Startlingly good, from start to finish.

The Good:

  • Alycia Debnam-Carey is amazing throughout here. We get the nasty feeling we’re going to be down a Clark kid by the end of this season and we get the awful feeling it may be her. But if it is, she deserves to go on to way bigger things.
  • The untidy, tragic aftermath of the Herd attack is BRILLIANT. This is the logistics of the end of the world and the way that the characters, including many we’ve never seen before, go about it is incredibly humane and poignant,
  • Crazy Dog’s panic attack is a season highlight for us. The apocalypse doesn’t wipe away your old problems if you survive it. It just means you have to deal with them too.
  • That final action sequence. We genuinely thought we were going to lose at least two main cast members at one point.
  • “Shut up Troy, your brother’s dead because you brought a horde down on us.”
  • “I know it’s Hell, but those people have done their part. Now do yours. They need you. They need you because they’re strong. Don’t break on them now.”
  • “Even when you’re hopeless, hope is all you have.”
  • “We die as quickly together as do apart.”

The Bad:

  • We could have done with more Christine, especially to give her more context. But honestly, that’s it.

And the Random:

  • Meera Menon has directed The Press Conference, Equity and two episodes of Blood Drive (“The Chopsocky Special” and “Scar Tissue”) that she also wrote.
  • Suzanne Heathcote also wrote this season’s excellent “Burning In Water, Drowning In Flame” and is executive story editor for the show.
  • Linda Gehringer, who is SO good as Christine, has previously appeared in Touch, Justified and many others.
Review by Alasdair Stuart

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