Fear the Walking Dead: Teotwawki Review
Fear the Walking Dead, season 3, episodes 3, ‘Teotwawki’ is a titular reference to a sudden apocalypse. It was a big part to the how & why of Jeremiah Otto (Dayton Callie); so, therefore, it was a required understanding for Madison (Kim Dickens), if she, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), and Nick (Frank Dillane) were to assimilate to Jeremiah’s commune. Any such an assimilation was intended to lead to some kind of usurping; but first had to survive the ever impulsive Nick (of course), who, in turn, had to survive the continued attention of the Otto family’s own Nick: Troy (Daniel Sharman).
There was also the matter of them just getting past freeloading outsider status.
The Otto compound had a sub-culture that predated the Z apocalypse; but the trouble Otto good son, Jake (Sam Underwood), went through, getting Maddy’s brood there – complete with the loss of a community darling – made Maddy’s ingratiation plan an uphill heavy haul.
She certainly left a rough first impression on Jeremiah – suggesting quite a bit of bonding may be in the works. How this might affect Maddy’s long term plan – to just take over, if need be – remains to be seen. Either she wins him over, or he wins her over, but then what?
The “Unprepared” slur was an example of the kind of bumper sticker ready sloganeering to be expected from a sub-culture steeped in us-and-them marshaling order. Its use in a eulogy for community darling, Charlene, however, left me wondering where supposed good eggs, like Charlene & Jake, came from, in the first place.
Counter culture just happens; and kids raised on a steady diet of one value tend to develop a different outlook – challenge the old order.
This lends the Jake character some credibility, considering his stark contrast to the initially seeming ‘spirit’ of the place; but now I wish the Charlene character hadn’t been reduced to a throwaway plot device – specifically to boost Jake’s cred.
The distinction was made necessary from the onset, courtesy of Troy’s outpost shenanigans; but Jeremiah using the term ‘wing-nut’ to describe a potential outside threat meant that his community saw itself as anything but a Right-Wing Nationalist bastion. Of course, ignorance is bliss, so it also had to be established that Troy’s pet project had been kept from the larger community. Well, this was the excuse for contempt shown to Madison & Kids, anyway.
Nick, in particular, seemed to do a 180, since arriving. After nearly getting the whole brood killed, on Luciana’s (Danay Garcia) behalf, he was now leaning towards Maddy’s dig in plan – despite the fact that Luciana was still a pretty sore thumb, around town. Trust me, I wouldn’t feel safe in that place, either. Nick being inconsistent is one thing; but this was just tone deafness.
For what it’s worth, Troy referring to himself in third person didn’t make him any more of a creep. If anything, it demonstrated some self-awareness of the ‘condition’ that he represented, within his clan. His continued creeping on Madison, however, is just getting banjo-in-the-trees queezy (oy, mommy issues – I bet he got off on being made to make the bed). I draw solace that Maddy’s capable of much more than a spoonful of eyeball; but I’ll still be having more World-according-to-Troy moments to sit through.
If Troy creeping on Maddy was the cringer, Troy ‘bonding’ with Nick was just a slow head-shake. Yes, Jeremiah & Madison made the parallels between their black sheep offshoots clear enough; but the offshoots figuring it out so fast really shouldn’t be that organic. Somebody better be faking it. Indulging Nick, this whole time, leaves me with little appetite for Troy allowance.
He’s the Devil we know – I get it. Unless Jeremiah is somehow supposed to be the Devil we don’t, it could actually be interesting to see who this season’s Big Bad turns out to be. I’m rooting for Jake – done right, it could make for a nice evolutionary leap.
Speaking of character evolution, it sort of bothered me when the nature of Alicia’s new Bible buddies revealed itself. It bothered me because it was kind of what I had hoped for (kind of, because I what I had hoped for wouldn’t be appropriate for basic cable). Thinking of the counter-culture point, I had made earlier, reminded me of the Born Again Virginity movement, of the late 90s. That did not go the way pious parents had intended (poophole loophole, anyone?). It wasn’t the twist that bothered me so much as my delight in a cynical wish being fulfilled.
Waiting for such occasional payoffs should not be a reason to keep watching this show.
The head trip, that was Jeff: that was something else, altogether (“the head trip, that was Jeff: that was something else”).
Victor Strand (Colman Domingo), meanwhile, had survived his pre-apocalypse opulence fix long enough to reconnect with the future of power, in any post-apocalyptic World. Dante (Jason Manuel Olazabal) wasn’t a Warlord – he wasn’t (just) about goons & guns. No, Dante had control of the one resource everyone, everywhere, will always need: water (invest in a defensible source of your own – like yesterday – ’cause the price will be skyrocketing).
Unfortunately for Strand, his own pre-apocalyptic talents didn’t reflect well on their post-apocalyptic prospects (if you’re tempted to start a drinking game, based on how often I use variations on apocalypse, be a lightweight). Getting past this initial rough patch likely means that Strand has to endure a bit more hardship, on his own evolutionary arc; but don’t worry – I doubt Fear the Walking Dead would go full Morgan Monk on its most interesting character.
A history of cynicism aside, it always feels good feeling good prospects for a show’s best character. A long overdue reunion, courtesy of the revival of its second best character (guess who – and no peeking at the header pic, neither), sort of makes that whole revolving door character thing worthwhile.
Not quite a “Travis who” prospect, just yet; but if brought up to speed just right, I’ll take it.
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