Fear the Walking Dead: Minotaur / The Diviner
September 15, 2017 8:40 PM - Season 3, Episode 9 - Subscribe

In the aftermath of the Clark family's actions, new leadership assumes control of the Ranch. Daniel assists Lola in the distribution of water. / With the Ranch dangerously low on resources, Madison and Walker leave in search of a solution. Nick and Alicia struggle to keep the peace.

Two episodes, one post, since that's how they originally aired.

It turns out that merging the Nation and the Ranch may be sort of an oil and water situation. And there's lots of people running around with matches.

It looks like FTWD is moving past the phase of our core gang running around trying to find a home several seasons before TWD did.
posted by jimw (3 comments total)
Mixed feelings about this two-parter. Some specific thoughts:

* Troy is like the avatar of white male privilege.

I mean, we have a guy who was introduced doing Nazi-style experiments on brown people, who tried to do suicide by cop and who literally murdered a guy on the way out, and Madison and the gang are bending over backward to protect him at every turn even though he's an uncontrollable monster. Nick and Madison cover for him about him murdering the Trimbols, which is arguably the main reason the peace fails at the ranch.

They should've thrown him under a bus, Madison in particular. Not merely because that's the smart move, but out of disgust.

* Madison throwing out a water deal over Strand is also pretty nonsensical.

At last call, Victor parted company with the Clarks. Now, he's neck-deep in trouble at the *one and only* trading post that Madison knows about, and she gives away someone else's sack of trade goods to save him in the hope he can come through for them?

Also nonsense. Victor Strand is probably my favorite character in the entire TV-TWDverse, but Madison should've left him behind in this particular scenario.

* I do like Alicia no longer trusting Madison.

Alicia's been increasingly fun, even though they're not using her enough. Watching her fumble with leadership at the ranch was some shades of The 100, even if Alicia's nothing like Lexa - it's still interesting to watch teenagers/young adults starting to figure out how to politic and organize.

* I still like the overall theme that society fractured rather than collapsed entirely.

I harp about this every time, but it's particularly noticeable in this outing: TWD's main show posits that civilization just imploded, leaving behind basically nothing for years. Until the most recent season with Negan, (where I finally jumped ship), there's no trade, no network of communities, nothing but roving bands surviving on canned goods and improbably functional cars.

FTWD is a lot more like Z-Nation: we see that communities have developed various strategies for getting by in the new world, and that people are still trading with each other. It's more Wild West than 'end of days.' This still rings true to me: the trading camp was just the sort of place I'd expect to see in a post-apocalyptic world, right down to using zombie cleanup as a punishment.

So I guess I'm still on board for the rest of this season, but I dunno going forward. It'll depend on how stuff shakes out. Madison feels like the most problematic character right now, the one whose motivations and characterization are erratic and inconsistent to move the plot whatever dumb place the writers want it, and if that continues, I'll probably wander off at the end of this half-season.
posted by mordax at 9:40 PM on September 15, 2017

Madison feels like the most problematic character right now, the one whose motivations and characterization are erratic and inconsistent to move the plot whatever dumb place the writers want it

So much this! All Madison seems to do now is tell the other characters to do [whatever the writers need the other characters to do, yet the other characters don't have a solid motivation for doing]. And they all just listen to her, because she's the mouthpiece of the gods I guess, despite the fact that she's shooting maybe 40/60 on having the stuff that comes out of her mouth actually be good ideas. It is not a good look for a very core character.

Alicia, meanwhile, is at a similar ratio of good ideas to bad ideas but her screwups are the kind of believable screwups you would expect from someone young and inexperienced at leadership and wavering between idealism and cynicism.

Madison was by far my biggest frustration with this opener, but I also agree that Troy increasingly feels like he's outlived a believable life expectancy.
posted by mstokes650 at 10:34 PM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I wish they could have delved into the economy of the trading camp a little more. How much did Strand owe? Was it really as much as the gold they were going to use to buy 10,000 gallons of water? It feels like Madison cut a pretty lousy deal, it would be nice to see that made explicit. Getting killed by walkers outside the camp seems like a poor way to repay a debt, they could have made it explicit that this was nominally the deal but Strand had pissed someone off so much that it was really meant as a death sentence for him.

I think everything with Nick was what bugged me the most. I just don't see what motivates him now.

That reservoir sure drained fast. Didn't Alicia dive into it just a few episodes ago?

Madison is going to look even dumber if it turns out that the Nation has found another source of water on the Ranch using the dowsing rods. But I'm not sure it makes much sense for a water source to be halfway up a hill.
posted by jimw at 4:30 PM on September 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

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