Fear the Walking Dead: This Land is Your Land Review
AMC‘s Fear the Walking Dead, season 3, episode 13, ‘This Land is Your Land,’ was either a low-point end, to an otherwise series best run, or a declaration that something better needed the space. It was definitely a highlight episode for Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey); but it also seemed to prime Nick (Frank Dillane), Troy (Daniel Sharman), and Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) for what comes next. All that cost was just over half a season’s worth of standing dead wood, it turns out – and that turned out to be almost the entire forest.
On a side note: somebody really wants me making song references, with these titles; but I won’t – not as a matter of respect, for you or myself, but out of pure knee-jerk contrarianism.
The claustrophobia trope came back front-and-center, along with the I’ve-been-bitten-but-I’m-still-good-don’t-tell-anybody routine. Fortunately, Alicia got ahead of both (showing some learning came out of the last riot she unwittingly instigated), making for another common threat bonding moment. It certainly got Alicia & Ofelia back in the same corner, before tasking each with some heavy lifting, for the greater good.
Alicia’s tenure, as the ‘strong’ Clark Kid, was put to the test. Her making sure to get her hands dirty, in the wake of the compromise she had arranged, allowed for a break in her stoic visage. As much as I’ve preferred must-be-strong-for-everybody Alicia, over emo-about-everything Alicia, it was heartening to see her humanity bubble to the surface. On the other hand, the personal touch, of using her trusty butterly knife to start things off, rang a little hollow – there were plenty of better suited blades to be found in the armory.
In any case, the claustrophobia angle gave the character plenty to work with – from tragic bonding, to having a whole room of people turn on her – so either she’s just really come into her own, or we might be looking at a repeat of Travis’ bow-out performance.
Making less of a splash (but waves, all the same) was Nick taking the time to whack Troy’s knuckles (figuratively), every time he said/ did something psycho-stupid. Giving Nick a reason to be smart & measured, by comparison, was the reason Troy outlasting Jake didn’t surprise me.
Other than the dramatic optics of it, I’m not sure why Troy’s bloop gun method wouldn’t have also worked to distract the herd, rather than blowing up the compound’s entire fuel stock. The fuel fire plan was also a good excuse for Trick to get itself into more trouble than necessary – allowing some of Troy’s fatalist funny bone to start rubbing off on Nick, again. It also helped set the stage for an expected twist, done in a relatively novel manner, later on.
Ofelia’s task was about as claustrophobic as it gets; but pretty straightforward (so long as you don’t ask about where the wind-stopper walker came from, anyway). Whatever Crazy Dog’s (Justin Rain) skill-set was, coming out of Iraq, Tunnel Rat certainly wasn’t one of them; yet he somehow managed to exert himself past some hyperventilating, finally losing it at just the right time to get invested viewers out of their seats. Hey, cliches still work, when done right.
The meeting of the threads climax was pure plot timing, but it worked. With quite a bit in the air, all at once, there was an element of surprise to it – if only because it was a relatively subtle approach, to customary cavalry action.
I wasn’t all that fond of the resolution, however. After all that tension & contention, there were no winners to the Ranch Arc, and its principal personal conflict left unresolved. We were left with a manageable cast, a potential redemption starting point (for the new Nick-up of the group), and what seemed like an opening for a cast exit. One part neat-and-tidy, before moving on, for sure; but it does kinda feel like I can look back at the whole story as one big never-mind.
Still, getting that season finale feel before the season finale does raise expectations; and while I’ve learned to curb my enthusiasm, when this happens, the Ranch arc – as the best of the series, to date – did earn a higher bar.
Whether it amounted to a great appetizer, capped by a better meal, or a great dinner ending with bad gas: I guess we’ll have to see what comes next.
Season 3 has binged & purged – off to the next stop, on the locust crop crawl.
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