TV Show Review

TV Review: FEAR THE WALKING DEAD: Season 3, Episode 5: Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame [AMC]

Daniel Sharman Kim Dickens Fear the Walking Dead Burning in Water Drowning in Flame

Fear the Walking Dead: Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame Review

AMC‘s Fear the Walking Dead, season 3, episodes 5, ‘Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame’ took a subtly sweet moment, and used it to give the Commune newbies something to be, and to do, and to do to each other. It also gave viewers a real reason to care about what’s happening outside the Commune, as well. I liked the latter bit better.

Subtly sweet moments tend to come with depressing doses of irony, where the zombie genre is concerned; so no one should’ve been taken aback by the episode’s opener.

“… And that’s why overly sentimental love is dangerous, in times of zombie apocalypse, Timmy.”

Some things about that scene made no sense (where’d she die/ why so far from sleeping spouse, kind of a careless finish for a seasoned prepper, etc); but I guess it was done purely for effect.

Ultimately, it provided context to a conflict that predates industrial civilization, at the local level; but I’m getting waaay ahead of myself. For starters, it was a good reason to get the Commune on the same page of the Fight or Flight manual, for what could’ve been a pretty ham-fisted gung-ho moment. Fortunately, the pragmatist that Jeremiah (Dayton Callie) should be, was allowed to be – and in timely fashion.

From there, it became the fulcrum to Nick’s (Frank Dillane) reassessment of the Commune. A little backstory context – courtesy of a bonding session with Otto the Elder, now – and Nick was ready to share his conversion with Luciana (Danay Garcia). He even figured himself armed with the perfect method, too: determined, time-enduring romanticism.

Well, Luciana got to seeing Nick in a new light, alright. Suffice to say, Nick may be out his first real love interest, of the series, but at least he gained yet another father figure.

Hey, Nick – you hear the one about Happiness is a Warm Gun?

Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), in the meantime, was after different kinds of Homestead happy; and after missing out on the opening drama, settled on skipping a few steps, regarding the direction her dealings with Jake (Sam Underwood) had obviously been going in.

Since Jake knew nothing of Alicia’s previous life (as something called a… Grounder Commander, or somesuch), Alicia had to take the initiative (again, I guess). So Jake got to keep his Boy Scout cred, Alicia found a safe place to hang her hat (remember that near miss of a Pirate kid?), and at least somebody got tension break done right. Sure, there will be something messy to it, at some point; but since the show won’t likely pay the matter any mind, I’d just like to point out that, realistically, certain members of the Bible Study group would be throwing up their hands, over having lost a promising prospect to their party plans.

For what it’s worth, to fans of her ‘other life,’ she was the less romanticized of the two; so Jake got the opportunity to prove just why he’s the right guy (at the moment). He’s not just a scratch to your itch, Alicia, he’s the replenishing of your character’s spiri – <snurf> – sorry, I couldn’t hold it. He’s good, though. He’s a good guy. Give him a hand.

The Creeper Show hit the road; with Troy (Daniel Sharman) giving Maddy (Kim Dickens) shotgun, and Nick a who’s-your-daddy finger wave. I’d like to think that suggests tension remains, between Nick & Troy, since their bonding actually seems creepier than the Creep Show.

What that Road Show amounted to – besides Maddy earning her bad-ass badge, and Troy getting to vent some homicidal happy – was the formal introduction of this arc’s warm-blooded boogeyman. The undercurrent topic of invasive immigration just got a little more interesting, as FTWD may be joining its forebear in widening the scope of overarching conflicts.

Meanwhile, the road show I’ve always wanted – The Salazar (Rubén Blades) Strand (Colman Domingo) Surly Suave Survival Show – seemed to have had some rocky to its start.

Daniel had decided to hang on Strand’s word, regarding Ofelia, which is the sort of thing that could get a guy like Strand hanged. What really made their tension work (besides their ‘working’ relationship history) was the notion that Daniel seemed set to get some satisfaction, either way. Either he gets Ofelia, or he gets a pound of flesh.

His decision to try for both may be crucial to how Strand views their relationship, going forward. I look forward to that (just ’cause they’re my two favorites doesn’t mean I need them to be a team).

There were some interesting developments & re-directs coming out of this episode. it was uneven, in terms of just how useful some of these will be, overall; but I’d say some definite promise had been presented. The face of the Commune’s outside threat, alone, could provide this season with a conflict for the ages – literally – which could, in turn, make its various threads that much more interesting, by association.

That, or easier to ignore, anyway.

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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