TV Show Review

TV Review: FEAR THE WALKING DEAD: Season 3, Episode 6: Red Dirt [AMC]

Kim Dickens Dayton Callie Fear The Walking Dead Red Dirt

Fear the Walking Dead: Red Dirt Review

AMC‘s Fear the Walking Dead, season 3, episode 6, ‘Red Dirt’ might have been one of the better examples of how an in-between episode of this series could be useful, in a run-up to open conflict.

Madison (Kim Dickens) & Troy (Daniel Sharman) returned to the Ranch as living fighting words, sending Nick (Frank Dillane), Jeremiah (Dayton Callie), Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), and Jake (Sam Underwood) to respective corners to process. Those corners had already been somewhat established; but ‘Red Dirt’ looks to have kicked both the Otto family strife, and the Clark family long-game, into gear.

Not to be left out, however, was the role of the phantom menace – Walker – as presented by the state of Troy’s returning scout party.

You’d think people who fancy themselves survivalist would at least consider using some of the hard-wearing fabric, they were allowed to keep, for more effective foot wrapping. On the other hand, given Mike Trimbol’s (Justin Deeley) arrival outburst, maybe I’m giving these ‘survivalists’ too much credit.

Given the weight Libertarians apply to Founding Fathers, the prospect of a Founder fallout would actually be a big deal.

With the Founder ranks now down to two, Jeremiah was under some serious pressure. Besides being on the wrong side of the clock, he now had to watch his grip on group confidence slip. Walker’s late night message (that, frankly, one person could pull off) didn’t help, either. That stunt also underscored a point that occurred to me from the moment a saw the ranch: a sunken position is much harder to defend than an elevated one.

The other Last Founder, Vernon Trimbol (Hugo Armstrong), might’ve had that in mind, given his rumored plans. The exit of his family, however (or, more to the point, the drama that came with it), left Jeremiah’s Commune divide problem a family affair.

On a side note: I found myself missing Gretchen Trimbol (Rae Gray), already. Her character actually had something positive to add – both to Alicia’s thread, and to the overall vibe of the place. I suppose her bugging out beats watching the Bible Club facing the meat grinder; but the show made an example of the Trimbols, anyway. Besides the Sofia treatment, the Trimbols trip folded into the brewing Otto conflict.

All the points made by Nick should’ve been obvious (particularly Mike being singled out for permanent rest). To his credit, Jeremiah didn’t need convincing. To the show’s credit, no pretense of mystery was made of it.

What did come of it was the Clark family securing its place, within a shifting order.

Nick & Jeremiah were well bonded, as father/ son figures; but the conflict to maintain the Commune revolved primarily around Maddy, as something of a Troy mother figure, and Alicia anchoring Jake – each helping to sort out a case for succession, for each respective brother.

Jake was not making an easy case for himself. Somehow, he was under the impression that having dealt with Walker, in a civil/ legal sense, meant that the odds were in his favor, under post-apocalypse rules. Jake (from State Farm) was also mindful that his father wouldn’t approve; so he wasn’t just flying in the face of Alicia’s objections, either.

The case for Troy was fairly simple. Unlike his father, whose idea of the ranch was a choice, the survivalist life was all Troy knew, and all he had. Say what you will about his character, that fact made him more committed to a fight than even his father. It also made him more contemptuous of those he deemed as less resolved (if not treasonous).

One of the inherent problems of Right-wing societies: true power only resides where the military places its faith. Pragmatism & communal spirit endears Jeremiah & Jake to the larger community; but Troy’s single-minded hawkishness is the kind of thing the military mind-set keys into. That is the stuff of coup d’état, right there.

Troy’s loyalty to his family has been a consistent mitigating factor, regarding his liability status; but he has yet to face a choice, between his family, and the very idea of the Ranch.

Maddy making an example of the Trimbols was the boldest power play of her long-game, yet. It not only shored up support for Troy’s zero-loss garrison outlook, but gave Jeremiah more room to maneuver. Alicia, on the other hand, sort of let her charge slip through the wire; so like any good Clark, she decided to fix her own problem.

This could make things a little more annoying than necessary; but actual face-time for Walker could fix that.

With each of the Clark girls working one of the Otto brothers, this brewing family rift could actually get interesting. I’m kinda looking forward to where this interpretation of a Dave Mathews Band song is going.

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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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