‘Fear The Walking Dead’ Season 3 Finale Recap: “Things Bad Begun” and “Sleigh Ride”

This week marks the end of season 3 of Fear The Walking Dead, and this season has been very well done.  When the show first started, it was in the shadow of The Walking Dead.  We already knew the rules of the world of The Walking Dead and as a result, the show suffered from “prequelitis,” we already know the rules and can get frustrated with the characters who are experiencing things for the first time, like not shooting zombies in the stomach.  The second season allowed Fear The Walking Dead to spread its legs and do its own thing.  This season really set the show to be just as well written, compelling, and dark as its predecessor.  Dare I say, this season (just) might be better than the last season of The Walking Dead!

When we last left on Fear the Walking Dead, the ranch was destroyed and only a handful of survivors were on their way back to the dam.  Unfortunately, Ophelia was bitten and met her untimely demise just before she was to be reunited with her father Daniel.  Alicia branched out on her own and met a new badass friend.  Nick and Troy went on a “Dazed and Confused” journey while tripping on zombie brain stems.  Daniel allowed Madison and Strand to returned back to the dam despite not being able to hold their own on the deal.  Of course, that doesn’t mean everything will get better: Strand seemed to make a deal with the mysterious Proctor John, the man who is running things at the El Bazar, and Proctor John now wants control of the dam.

So how did it go?

The two-part season finale did not disappoint.  The episode started with Nick “drug shopping” outside El Bazaar, and by drug shopping, he’s securing zombie heads.  He then brings a shopping cart full of zombie heads to the main guy at the bar who starts dissecting the zombies’ heads to secure the brain stems.  Told you, he wasn’t using normal human brains!  It’s good the bartender was selective of what brains would be used, if they were too rotten they weren’t “fresh” enough and could possibly infect those who consume it.  Good thing that Nick is now getting the drugs and not using them anymore (at least not on screen).  Being that they are at El Bazaar run by Proctor John, Troy notices that some of his soldiers are gearing up for something big.  Troy learns that they are going to attack those at the dam.  Troy gets Nick to sober up enough so that they can go warn his mother.

At the dam, Nick and Troy arrive to warn everyone.  Lola knows about the Proctor gang, revealing that they were bad news before the apocalypse, working with drug dealers and killing people indiscriminately.  The group has a pow wow as to what to do next.  Daniel comes up with the idea of rigging the dam as leverage.  The Proctors won’t want to control it if it doesn’t exist anymore.  Walker and Crazy Dog just got to the dam and have no wish to fight for a place they have no vested interest in, so they opt to head out and search for more of their people.  Don’t be surprised if Walker and Crazy Dog are the ones for that Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead crossover.  Strand knows that they are coming (because he made a deal with them after all) and wants Madison and Nick to get out of there as soon as possible.  While speaking with Nick to try and get Madison to leave Strand reveals to him that he made the deal, much to Nick’s disappointment.

Alicia and her new road dog and driving through the apocalypse heading to El Bazaar to trade some of the supplies, zombies’ gold and silver teeth, and zombies’ jewelry.  While they are on the way and making small talk, they get rammed by raiders.  The gangsta girls manage to fend them off, but the crash has hurt Diana’s leg, complete with the bone prodding through her leg.  She needs help.  At the trading post, Alicia enlists a doctor to help her out with Diana’s leg.  While he is treating Diana, Alicia shows off her medical expertise and immediately gets offered the chance to become his new assistant, because he needs help with another patient: Proctor John.

Proctor John is then introduced, and he’s a fascinating villain.  Like Negan, he has a small army.  His group is the most hardcore motorcycle club in the apocalypse, think Sons of Anarchy on steroids.  What makes him so interesting is that he commands a vast army, instills fear in everyone in El Bazaar, but he’s not a strong man like Negan, he’s weak.  With a tumor in his back, Proctor John cannot even walk.  The wheelchair-bound warlord has enough devoted followers that if you even look at him funny, that’s it for you.  Even the doctor who enlists Alicia for help knows that if he cannot fix Proctor John’s tumor, Proctor John’s men, The Proctors, will kill him and Alicia.  Alicia has no choice, so now she’s a nurse.   Her role in the surgery is to be Proctor John’s “guardian angel” and talk him through the pain of getting a tumor physically removed from him.  Proctor John’s badass.  After the surgery, he now likes her and wants her by his side.  He reveals to her that he’s in the process of setting up an intercontinental network of trading.  Don’t be surprised if his reach extends to The Walking Dead either.  Proctor John requires Alicia goes with him to the dam.

Troy and Madison are setting up bombs throughout the dam when the two have a heart to heart.  Troy is fond of Nick, who has been the most welcoming person.  He states to Madison that he’s “good” and wants to move beyond the beef the two of them have had.  Madison doesn’t know about him killing almost everyone at the Walker ranch by sending the zombie horde that way.  Speaking of the zombie horde, Nick and Daniel have a conversation about that event as he’s not too trusting of Troy.  Daniel goes into full-on interrogator mode as he rightfully thinks that Nick is lying about how the zombies attacked the ranch.  Although Daniel doesn’t pull out his tools (he comes close), Nick manages to convince him that it was the now dead Jake who did it and even gives a convincing explanation as to why Jake would do it.

Nick then goes to warn Madison of the Proctor army as well as Strand’s involvement.  Madison wants to confront Strand and tell Daniel.  Nick says no as Daniel knows that Troy is responsible for Ophelia’s death.  Madison was in the dark for this and demands to know why.  Troy tells her the truth which sends her into a rage.  She takes a lead pipe to Troy’s skull striking him two times and killing him.  Nick now sees his mother as a possible threat as she is too quick to kill when she feels it’s necessary.  As the two argue afterward, she even tells her son to "fuck off" giving us another uncensored curse on Fear the Walking Dead.  Nick tells her he thinks that she might kill him if the reason is justified.  She says she wouldn’t, but even she isn’t 100% convinced.

The Proctors are about to come and Strand and Daniel finally have their full-on confrontation.  The two of them have but heads for most of the show.  Daniel has even left Victor to die a few times, but now Strand had a gun pointed at them demanding Madison leave as he’s set up events for the Proctors to come in by storm.  Daniel knows that Strand is a con man and not aa killer and engages in a struggle over the gun.  In the scuffle Strand points the gun at Daniel's chin and lets off a shot.  We think that Daniel might be dead, but he’s already survived being burned at the farm, he’s Teflon!  Strand lets Daniel and Lola escape as the Proctors come guns blazing into the dam.  As they are killing countless people (including Efrain), Strand finds Madison and Nick and gets them into hiding.  He takes the detonator and promises to get them out of this some way.  With no choice, they place their lives in Strand’s hands once again.

Alicia arrives at the dam with Proctor John and they are greeted by his soldiers and Strand.  Proctor John is not too happy with Strand as there are casualties on both sides, and Strand promised that he would oversee a bloodless transfer of power.  Proctor John also tells Alicia that since Strand failed, his deal is off, meaning Madison may not live through this ordeal.

Strand comes up with the idea of smuggling Madison and Nick out pretending they are water workers at the dam that he will “personally execute,” meanwhile, he’s just going to allow them to escape.  As he is about to escort them through the gate at the top of the dam, he makes it past the clueless guards, only for Lola to go on a shooting spree, angry after seeing the body of Efrain.  She manages to kill a few people but is then killed by Proctor John.  Proctor John now has Madison, Nick (who he knows told the people at the dam about the raid), Strand, and Alicia.  He’s not in a forgiving mood and tells them that they will all be executed.  John allows them to say their final goodbyes to each other.  Nick uses that moment to give Strand a hug taking the detonator out of his pocket.

Just as Strand is going to make his power play and reveal he has a detonator, Nick reveals it and tells Proctor John that his family (and Strand) can escape.  Madison and Alicia want him to come with them, but the detonator doesn’t have a wide range, so he tells his mom that this is his “suicide note.”  The three start to escape and make for Proctor John’s zodiac so they can head upriver.  Just as Proctor John’s men try to move in on Nick, a shot rings out.  Turns out Walker and Crazy Dog didn’t leave, they set up from a sniper’s edge and start picking off some of the Proctors.  Then Daniel comes in and joins on the shooting spree taking out many of Proctor John’s men.  This gives them enough time to flee and Nick sets off the bomb.  The dam explodes and water starts escaping.  Walker and Crazy Dog then opt to head north, thinking everyone’s dead as the zodiac gets sucked backward by the water tide.

Throughout the episode, Madison was having a strange hallucination about Christmas dinner.  All the usual suspects are there.  All the Ottos, Nick, Strand, Walker are all joining her for dinner.  Only when the “meal” is presented it show’s Jeremiah Otto’s head.  This was Madison’s first real trek towards the dark side and it’s obvious she has some level of guilt over it.  As she walks outside her home, there a graveyard.  When she comes to Jeremiah Otto’s grave, a zombie's hand pulls her under into the dirt.  Then Travis, her husband who died in the season premiere, pulls her out.  She then wakes from the hallucination and finds herself underwater.  She swims up to the river bank to see countless people now enjoying the water that poured through the dam.  Madison is the only person we see as the episode ends, leaving it up in the air as to who survived.  What’s to become of Alicia, Nick, Daniel, or Strand?  What’s to become of Proctor John as after one episode, he’s turning out to be a big villain for the show.  We’ll just have to find out next summer when Fear The Walking Dead returns.