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Fear the Walking Dead 3.11 Review – ‘La Serpiente’

September 17, 2017 | Posted by Katie Hallahan
Fear the Walking Dead - La Serpiente
7.5
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Fear the Walking Dead 3.11 Review – ‘La Serpiente’  

Tonight on Fear the Walking Dead, Madison, Victor, and Walker come to see Lola the ‘water queen’, who skips right past asking them to bend the knee to telling them to be on their way. But as we know, Madison Clark and friends do not take ‘no’ for an answer.

The plot! Madison, Walker, and Victor are driving towards Tijuana but take a detour to an impound lot and a sewer tunnel that will take them directly inside the dam property. The path is gross, dark, creepy, gross, and treacherous, and did I mention gross? But they emerge, covered in, well, you know, and reconnect with none other than Daniel Salazar. Daniel’s having a rough day, as the people they’re trying to bring water to keep rioting because the resource is being controlled by Lola. He brings the group to Lola and they try to negotiate, but Lola is firm in telling them no; she’s got enough trouble on her hands as it is, she doesn’t need to add ‘trading with gringos’ to the list of sins her city is holding against her. Victor, Madison, and Walker all try to work other angles, and Daniel is filled in on some of his daughter’s recent activities, much to his dismay. Lola’s hand is forced when one of her water trucks is blown up and she agrees to trade for guns and ammo with the ranch. Of course, Victor is the one who set off the explosion, but a nearby crowd of disgruntled locals made for a convenient scapegoat!

Madison’s role in tonight’s episode was fairly static: as usual, she’s doing whatever she can to save her kids, which right now means getting water for the ranch. But she’s put all her eggs in the Victor Strand basket, and she doesn’t have much to work with, so the real work and the interesting twists belong to the other characters tonight.

Victor Strand has had some questionable luck and made some bad decisions lately. From getting kicked out of the hotel to nearly getting himself killed at the dam to his falling out with Daniel and then landing in debt with the Proctors, it’s not been a good run. Really, if I were him, I’d be making sure I never let Madison out of my sight again, because he clearly does better with her. Or at least, does better when he’s not on his own. Strand first presented himself to us as a man who knew quality, who knew how to read situations and people, as the ultimate con man. But that was in a time and place where the world still mostly functioned the way he was used to, a situation that everyone still assumed would be temporary. Since it became clear that this was permanent, since he lost his position of confidence, and perhaps most importantly, since he lost Thomas, he’s been lost and scrambling to find his way back on top. This episode feels like Strand is finally starting to get his feet back under him, to figure out new ways to get by in this world and be of use to his friends. For that matter, he’s also realizing he both has and needs friends. Finding Madison again really was a godsend for him. Not only did she instantly save him without hesitating, and it’s telling that when asked what he wants, what future he sees, he tells her “One where I don’t fail my friends.” He finally put his old people skills to work in chatting up Everado and Efrain, getting all the information he needed out of them to work out the rest of what he needed to do. All that said, I do not know how or when he managed to set up a huge explosion like that! I liked the idea, though, of showing just how far he’s now willing to go, because that’s pretty extreme. Luckily, no one was hurt or killed, and lucky for Strand, there was an angry mob nearby he could blame it on, too.

Daniel’s arc in the episode is also fairly straightforward, but there are clear signs of some internal struggle he’s beginning to go through. It’s been clear for a while now that he’s been treating Lola as a surrogate daughter, hoping to help her in the ways he feels he failed Ofelia, and that was before he knew what had happened to his real daughter. Finding out what Walker has turned her into, Daniel’s hit hard to know Ofelia has taken the lives or other, become a solider for this man, all things that he never wanted her to go through. I was glad that he didn’t play along with pretending to like this news with Walker, though I’m a little surprised he doesn’t react more aggressively against the man. My guess is that he feels too responsible to blame Walker more than he blames himself for what’s happened to her. And this strengthens his resolve to protect Lola and to keep her hands clean in the pursuit of her goal. However, he’s not blind to the situation needing a resolution that Lola isn’t willing to provide without provocation, and that’s why his conversation with Victor is interesting. There’s more than one way to strong-arm or trick someone who already refuses to see certain things. And while he isn’t willing to directly compromise or endanger Lola, he’s very open to let Victor do what he does best and find a way to weasel his way out of this. I did half expect to find out the explosion possibly was his doing after all, though, I admit. After all, Daniel knowing how to blow up a truck seems a little more likely than Victor, but it also wouldn’t have fit with everything else he’d been saying and doing in this episode.

And then there’s Lola, the ‘water queen’. I feel bad for Lola, she’s a smart woman who wants to do the right thing by both helping people now and looking for their future. She knows that literally opening the flood gates will mean losing an incredibly important resource, and that’s good–but she has no idea how to maintain control over it. She’s not like Madison, she doesn’t have an air of authority, and I don’t get the impression she’s had to be a leader before, much less dealt with the kind of situations that Madison has. Lola is a good person, and very dedicated to saving her city, but she’s going to need to toughen up if she’s going to survive, much less help anyone else survive. It was good to see her change her mind at the end, although I wonder if she’s going to realize that the explosion was set by Strand eventually or not.

Finally, Walker. I am really starting to dislike this guy. I know that he’s also dedicated to his people and he’s a tough guy and all, but damn, man, could you cut Madison maybe a little slack? Or try, just a little, to think of the people on the ranch as one group of people instead of always making it us vs. them? I can see why he’s mad at Madison for putting all the money they had into this and it doesn’t seem to be panning out, but he also does so little to help. Walking away doesn’t fix the problem for him, and she’s already bent to several whims of his in order to make this truce work out between them, from helping to kill Jeremiah to giving the Nation control of their guns. Maybe now that the water deal is in place, he’ll finally loosen up, but I tend to think he won’t. He’s too used to putting everyone else second to the people he cares about. I am interested in seeing how his influence over Ofelia will match up against her father’s, though, as their points of view are clearly vastly different.

A decent episode with some good development overall, and a few good set pieces in the sewer tunnels scene and the explosion, but ultimately not the most exciting episode yet. I get that feeling that pieces are being moved into placed for something big coming down the line, but will it be a bad turn on the ranch, or at the dam? Will it involve the Proctors we’ve recently been introduced to, in a somewhat oblique way? Now that we’ve seen their tunnels and their bazaar, I suspect they are building up to something with that group.

We also had some good quotes tonight! Some of my favorites:
– “It’s not possible to have a sense of tragedy without having a sense of humor.”
– “It’s rare a leader does right by everyone.” “It’s not rare. It’s impossible.”
– “I was a doctor in a former life.”
– “She’s not willing to sacrifice that part of herself. …I admire that.”
– “What future do you see?” “One where I don’t fail my friends.”
– “Trick I saw in an old movie.”
– “Thirsty?”

7.5
The final score: review Good
The 411
A decent episode with some good development overall, and a few good set pieces in the sewer tunnels scene and the explosion, but ultimately not the most exciting episode yet. Strand started to get back to his old self, now that he has Madison back in his life, and Daniel is relieved to hear his daughter is alive, but worried and guilty over who she's become. I get that feeling that pieces are being moved into placed for something big coming down the line, but I'm not sure what that something is just yet.
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