Wow! Not content with usurping its bigger brother, Fear the Walking Dead has officially left The Walking Dead in the rear vaiew mirror as the cast and writers flick the bird and shout “Eat My Dust!” at their sibling.
Named after Daniel Salazar’s nickname for Victor Strand, La Serpiente had everything you could wish for from an hour of television. The eleventh outing of season three began and ended on a purposefully reconginsable stretch of Mexiacan highway as Madison, Victor Strand and Qaletaqa Walker headed for Daniel’s Dam.
My new favourite singer, Alexandra Savior’s M.T.M.E. providing the perfect pounding desert soundtrack before the trio and their water truck were confroted by the first TWD must-see – a horde of undead.
Next, they had to navigate a labyrithine sewer system covered in poo before Madison had to hack a fat zombie to pieces to get through a tight dirty poo-pipe, which of course she did with aplomb.
Well, when I say aplomb, I mean a hatchet.
Inside Daniel’s camp, Madison tries to strike a deal with Water Queen Lola – in exchange for 10,000 gallons of water a week, Madison will provide her with the guns her people need to protect them from the dissenting villagers…
Seems an easy enough decision but Her Name Was Lola, She Was A Showgirl cannot be seen to be weak and trading with the gringos. Plus, while he and Maddie share respect, we don’t know what Daniel and Efra have been whispering in Lola’s Spanish ears.
Efra’s gonna release the water from the dam by the end of the season anyway, by my reckoning.
Madison and Victor share another tender, hand-holding, heart-felt moment (how has he gone from gay man to willing-them-to-get-togther?) where they express their wishes and, hey presto – no quicker can you say false flag operation and…
Victor blows up a water truck; Daniel shoots, Madison hacks and Vistor stabs more zombies and a thirsty mob of pitchfork wielding peasants arrive, meaning and the guns for water deal is back on. Yaaay!
Victor may be La Serpiente, but he just saved the ranch… Oh, and Daniel gets to see his daughter, Ofelia as part of the deal.
I’m rushing through this as it’s late but with the deal struck, Madison and Victor drive a new water truck back home, collect Walker from the side of the road with Madison’s excellent joke “Thirsty?” and a smile to die for.
Mission accomplished, the trio drive back along the same recognisable stretch of highway we saw at the beginning while Nick Cave’s band Grinderman’s plays us out over a drone shot with the amazing Palaces of Montezuma. The group ended up where they started out in a standalone episode that saw intentions, obstacles, deals, double-crosses, false flag operation, zombie hordes, zombies in enclosed spaces, gore, laughs and a potential love interest and adequately sets up the next two episides.
While the group got what they wanted, Fear the Walking Dead gave us what we wanted. A perfect hour of uplifting, gory, fun television.
This is what happens when four actors as strong as Kim Dickens, Colman Domingo, Michael Greyeyes and Rueben Blades get the chance carry a whole hour with a stunning script and beats and character motivation that make sense.
Well done writers’ room, cast and crew. I’m grateful to my universe for this televisual one. I can’t wait for the next episode which will see all out war at the camp before someone decides they need to take the dam by force!
Fear the Walking Dead continues Sunday 24th September, the same day as some other, minor show returns.