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Season Three of ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ Sees New Alliances
September 9, 2017  | By David Hinckley

You would expect that when the third season of Fear the Walking Dead resumes, there’d be a new sheriff in town.

Except, wait, we’re still in the zombie apocalypse, where that whole “sheriff” concept doesn’t look at all like it used to.  

Just check out Negan over on the Walking Dead mothership, which returns in October.

In any case, there is urgent business to which everyone must attend when Fear The Walking Dead comes back to AMC for the second half of its third season Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.

Jeremiah Otto (Dayton Callie), founder and owner of the ranch where most of our survivors have been trying to cobble together a manageable life, has been shot to death by Nick Clark (Frank Dillane, left), whom Jeremiah for a time seemed to treat almost as a surrogate son.  

Jeremiah’s logical heirs are his real son Jake (Sam Underwood), who seems fairly reasonable, and his other real son Troy (Daniel Sharman, left), who does not.

Troy inherited most of his father’s survivalist DNA, wherein only the strong survive. Jake puts some value on trying to keep more people alive, though that’s problematic for several reasons.

One, the zombies. Two, the fact that with Jeremiah gone, internal ranch unity has fractured. Three, the fact that a rival group of survivors led by Qaletaqa Walker (Michael Greyeyes, below) is coming into the ranch under a fragile truce agreement they forged with Jake.

It’s not a promising scenario, particularly since there has also been some indication that resources like water could be running low.

On the other hand, the survivors do have Madison Clark (Kim Dickens, top), guidance counselor turned Amazon warrior, and she predictably takes a proactive role as the ranch’s next chapter lurches to life.

In keeping with Fear’s general game plan this season, Sunday’s episode includes a lot of mix-and-match alliances. Old enemies become friends or at least temporary friends of convenience. The unforgivable is forgiven if the payoff seems high enough. Well-intended decisions fray old bonds.

Keeping the ranch together looked hard at the end of the first half of the season. It looks even a little harder at the end of Sunday’s episode, though it’s possible some of the risky decisions and moves could serve the greater good.

Anybody taking bets on that?

The third season of Fear the Walking Dead has so far addressed, in a good way, several of the criticisms of the first two seasons – that, among other things, it had too much psychology and not enough action.

While Sunday’s return episode isn’t wall-to-wall armed conflict, it has its moments. It also seems to be setting some of the lineups for the rest of the season, though the only certainty there is that they will continue to shift.

The walkers themselves still get fairly modest screen time, which works out okay. The drama here has never been about what zombies can do to people because we know that. The drama is what people can do to each other.

Fear the Walking Dead still doesn’t have one supervillain like Negan. It has dozens of smaller demons lurking inside almost everyone, and if someone doesn’t neutralize a whole lot of those demons soon, we could be looking at Rancho Finito.

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