Tonight is the season three premiere of Fear the Walking Dead. Fans have been waiting a long time to see some major storylines resolved, along with a few cliffhangers (who kidnapped Nick and his group at the border?!)
Here’s what happened.
This post has spoilers through the Season 3 premiere.
The episode begins with Madison and Travis and Alicia having been taken captive. They walk past scores of dead people as they are taken somewhere unknown. They’re taken behind a barbed wire fence, but then Travis is separated from Alicia and Madison and taken somewhere else. The group is dressed in military gear and perhaps are some kind of paramilitary group. They have military vehicles, and are located in a highly secure facility near the border.
Travis is taken inside one of the buildings, down the stairs, and through a hall. Dead people are being marked with numbers on their heads. They record Travis’ height and weight, write down information about him, and give him the number “42,” which is written on his hand.
Travis sees people lined up against a wall, and he has to sit with them. It’s all very confusing and disturbing. No one is talking when the group is left alone. They’re all just waiting.
But then we see that Nick and his girlfriend, Luciana, are in the group with Travis. Travis tells him that Madison and Alicia were taken somewhere else. Travis says it can’t be a refugee camp because the military was toppled.
Meanwhile, Alicia and Madison are in a different room, looking for a way out. They’re not in a prison room, but in an office of some sort. Then a man in a military uniform named Troy arrives with coffee. He’s treating them politely and with respect, unlike how Travis was being treated. He said they were handled roughly because they came from the border, and everyone has to be processed for security. Travis is being processed separately, he said. “I need to know where he came from, who he came with…”
“We came alone,” Madison said. “We’re just looking for my son, Nick. We need your help.”
He asks why they were traveling from Mexico. Madison said they had a friend with a place there. She talked about needing to find her son, again. Alicia asked what happens after they’re processed, and he said they get supplies and “off you go.”
In the next scene, they’re talking about someone who took two shots to go down. They record how many hours resurrection took for him and write the time on his head (17 hours.)
Troy talks to Travis. “Are you a Mexican?” No, Polynesian, he says. Troy wants to know if they somehow turned differently. Nick wants to make sure his mom and sister are OK, and Troy says they are.
Next with Madison and Alicia, Alicia is saying she thinks he’ll kill them, and Madison says no, he’s treating them too nicely. But they agree he’s not going to just let them go. Alicia gives Madison a knife that she managed to keep with her.
Madison says she’ll get them out of there, even if it means killing. But she will be the one to do it, not Alicia.
Next, we return to Travis and Nick. A man named Steven warns him that Luciana won’t be treated well, since she’s sick. He has a plan to get out but he needs an able-bodied person to help him get out of the room, and he’ll get them out of the compound.
But then the “military” men come and take Nick and Travis and Ophelia away. They take them to the bathroom where they marked the dead man earlier. A man is put against the wall and shot in the chest in front of them. We see cuts back and forth showing Travis sitting and waiting, while Alicia and Madison wait in their room.
One of the men says they need to start shooting two people at a time because they need to get out of there in 24 hours.
In the next scene, Troy is writing in a notebook in Madison and Alicia’s room. It’s hard to make out what he’s writing. He tells Madison he’s writing observations. He says they passed processing, but there are different criteria for Travis. “I’m not a bad person,” he says.
“No one said you were,” Madison says. “Is Travis dead?”
“You love his life more than yours?” Troy asks.
“Yeah,” Madison says.
Back in Travis’ scene, he’s asking why there are so many corpses outside. They say it’s a forcefield Troy created. “Smell dead, taste dead, they avoid you.”
We learn the entire point of their experiment is figuring out how long it takes someone to resurrect and how long you can sit with a loved one before they turn into a walker.
They ask if Travis ever killed someone. “No one who didn’t deserve it,” he says. They get ready to take Nick and Ophelia, but Travis volunteers, telling them they’ve never killed one of his kind, so they should take him.
Travis hits them while they’re tying him up and the rest attack the men too and manage to escape.
Troy is telling Madison that they’re leaving and he can take them with him. He tells her he will release Travis and Nick if she comes with him. “Is that truth?” They hear gunshots and Troy runs out.
Travis and Nick and the group have escaped. Travis tells Nick to go and he’ll find Madison and Alicia. Steven takes Nick and Luciana to a tunnel for their escape, but Steven’s shot and killed before he can join them. The men slit his throat and throw him into the sewer tunnel after Nick and Luciana.
After the commercial break, Troy’s told the group got away. Travis has been captured. Troy tells him that Travis interrupted a tender moment between him and Madison. He was going to take them home and keep them safe. “Travis here is special so treat him as such, take him out back,” he says, telling them not to take Travis to the lab.
Meanwhile, Nick and Luciana are racing through the sewer tunnel. Luciana was shot and may be infected. She’s not doing well. But Nick tells her in Spanish that he will never leave her.
Troy goes into the office and he’s attacked by Madison and Alicia. She stabs him in the eye with a spoon and threatens that he’ll lose his eye. Alicia goes out to find the others.
Alicia sees a helicopter flying overhead. This group is seriously well armed and equipped.
Nick finds a way out of the sewer, but a huge horde of zombies is waiting outside. They have to run back inside, but now their situation is even worse.
Travis is told the walkers lose interest when blood grows cold; they get tired of their victims after awhile. Travis fights back, but he’s thrown into the zombie pit.
After the commercial break, Madison walks Troy outside, threatening to take out his eye if she’s not given Travis. Travis is fighting off zombies in hand-to-hand combat in a pit while the “soldiers” watch.
Alicia finds a truck and hides under it while she sees everyone preparing to leave.
Travis is doing surprisingly well in this combat, for someone who didn’t want to kill zombies when the series first started. He’s singlehandedly fighting off all of them. His character has changed a lot — or was he always like this and just trying to restrain that side of him earlier?
Madison is surrounded by a group of soldiers. “I know my brother well enough to know he brought this on himself,” Troy’s brother Jake tells her. He promises that he will find her family if she lets Troy go. “You’ve got nowhere to go. I will find your family.” She lets Troy go and Jake demands that Troy tell him where Madison’s family is.
Alicia hears the sounds of zombie fighting in the sewer beneath her. She looks in and sees Nick and Luciana. She drops the knife through the grate and Luciana uses it to kill a zombie that was on Nick. Two men then find Alicia and drag her away.
Madison is escorted to the zombie pit. Travis is inside, alive. Jake orders them to get Travis out.
Travis tells Madison that Nick is there. They bring Alicia to Madison, and then Nick and Luciana. Nick and Madison and Alicia hug, elated to finally be reunited, while Travis stands back and watches the family, not part of the “hugging” group.
After the commercial break, Jake is asking them to stay at a sanctuary with them for awhile at a ranch that’s safe. “Troy’s one man… there’s no one else there like him.” But they don’t want to join Jake. (And who can blame them? It sounded like Troy was running an experiment at someone else’s command.)
Madison thanks Travis for finding Nick. “I never said I’m sorry, but I am. I’m so sorry. But I’m here. Your family’s here.” She’s acknowledging Chris’s death and that all of Travis’s blood family is now gone.
Jake has a one-on-one with Troy. “Get in, get the fuel, get out.” Troy said they were going to die anyway, he was doing research. Jake disagrees with this vehemently, but Troy says they’re learning. “That’s for dad, he gets it,” he says, refusing to tell Jake what he learned.
Meanwhile, another soldier hears something behind a wall — something alive and moving. He peers in a vent (don’t ever do that in a world of walkers, by the way.) Rats storm out, running from something. A zombie reaches through and grabs him through the vent wall. It’s very strong for a zombie and it pulls the soldier through the wall in an incredibly grotesque scene that will likely give some viewers nightmares. This is not your regular zombie. It’s somehow very, very strong.
Meanwhile, Jake is still trying to get Madison to go with them, but saying he doesn’t blame her after what she’s seen. He just wants her to check the sanctuary out. “Take any other road, you die.”
Suddenly a horde of zombies is escaping. Madison grabs the keys to get her family and take off.
They’re surrounded by zombies.
In the midst of the chaos, they have to make a choice. Alicia is trying to get Luciana to the truck, but she can barely walk. So they get on the helicopter, where safety waits for them. It looks like they’ll have to leave Madison and Nick behind, fighting the zombies. But Troy shoots the zombies away from them and motions for them to join him on the truck. They have no other choice.
Now the group is separated again. Travis, Luciana, and Alicia are on the helicopter. Madison and Nick are on the truck. “We’re all going to the same place,” Troy tells them. But he is not a good person to be stuck with.
We see Madison driving away in a convoy as the helicopter flies off.
It’s the end of episode 1.
Episode 2 begins with Travis being told they’re about 20 out of their destination. But suddenly, someone’s shooting at the helicopter. They’re going down, fast. Travis is shot in the neck.
He opens the helicopter door and throws himself out so he won’t turn into a walker and kill the rest of them. Alicia tries to stop him, but sees it’s much, much worse. He was already bitten.
Travis is gone.
Now we’re back at the hotel, where we left Strand. People are at the gate, clamoring for a doctor, but there’s no one to help. Strand takes over, telling the group to calm down. “I can provide medical care,” he tells them in Spanish. “I am a doctor.” He saves the hotel owner’s life.
“Like many of you, I am injured, but I cannot let you suffer.” He tells the hotel owner to give everyone her empty rooms. Then they open the gates and let them inside.
Next we’re on the ground, after the helicopter crash. Jake tells Alicia they’ve got to get moving. “For what it’s worth, you did the right thing,” he tells her. “Do you think Travis is out there?”
Jake says nobody could survive a fall from that height.
Meanwhile, the convoy arrives just fine. Troy is told that his dad wants to talk to them and Jake is overdue. Troy tells Nick and Madison to get out of the truck and wait outside. This isn’t looking good, considering what we know about Troy. They’re locked outside the sanctuary.
Nick wants to backtrack to find them rather than wait. Madison disagrees; they’ll get lost and they’ll never find each other if they leave. “What if they don’t show,” Nick says. “What’s the play then?”
Madison tells him to hug her, and shows him that she’s carrying a gun. She says they’ll stop anyone who gets in their way. Nick is impressed. Maybe he’s not the only survivor anymore.
Back at the hotel, Strand is trying to save lives. A woman is giving birth. Strand doesn’t really have any idea how to help. “Maybe we let nature take its course.” This is pretty awkward. “I’m not a baby doctor,” Strand says. Well, it looks like he’s going to have to be, whether he wants to or not.
Madison and Nick are now talking, and Nick does not want to work with the people in the sanctuary. “Believe me, you don’t want me here any longer than necessary. I don’t know what I’ll do.” One man offers coffee to Madison. He tells her a pilot sometimes sets down if there’s bad weather. Then he asks if there’s any reason to think that Travis might have diverted or hijacked the plane. She says no, he’d do anything to keep Alicia safe.
Madison says no and pours out the coffee. He says he had to ask because his son and goddaughter are on the helicopter. This is Troy and Jake’s dad, Jeremiah.
He lets them into the ranch.
Madison tells Nick he doesn’t have to trust the people at the ranch, he only has to trust her.
The man tells her that Troy said he was harvesting fuel and protecting his men. He says, “We’re building a new nation here. … I’ll sort out what happened at the border when Jake gets back. Meanwhile this is the safest place to be in a world gone mad. Most people would be grateful to be here.”
She thanks him and Nick is mad about that. “His son’s a murderer!” he yells out.
Nick says this is all his fault. He led Luciana and her people to that place, and Madison ended up there looking for him. He’s feeling really guilty. Madison says they’re just going to smile and bide their time for now, so Luciana can get helped.
Jake tells Alicia he can keep Troy in line. “You make allowances for the ones you love,” he said, talking about when his mom pulled him out of school and gave him the run of the land. Alicia said she used to make allowances for Nick. Jake says that at least Nick will be happy to see her when they get back, unlike Troy.
Jake then follows a noise and is attacked by zombies. Alicia saves his life, hitting three zombies in the head without a problem. It turns out they can trust each other after all, and, he realizes, she really does know how to hold her own.
(Fans of The 100 will especially enjoy this moment.)
Jake tells her to give him the gun and find her way back quickly. He has to “take care of it” before more come. Without saying a word, she goes.
The girl who was on the helicopter with them had been attacked by the zombies. Jake has to kill her before she turns into a walker.
Back at the hotel, we learn that Strand helped successfully deliver the baby. “Your lie is now ours,” the hotel owner tells him. “If they discover you, they’ll turn on all of us. You need to go.”
Strand said he hoped for more time, but she says no, he must leave now. She won’t give him a vehicle either. He must go on foot. (So much for being grateful for saving her life.)
Before he leaves, Strand is asked — more accurately, forced — to save one more person. This woman has locked herself up in a room and is refusing food.
Strand goes into the room with a sandwich, in what has to be the creepiest food delivery ever. The room is filled with unopened packages, old wedding cake, and a woman sitting in her wedding dress. Wait, no… It’s a mannequin wearing a wedding dress.
It’s the mother of the bride.
“I lost everything,” she says.
Strand tells her to get some air to start, but the door is sealed shut. “I was thinking the same thing, no hope, can’t stay here but nowhere to go,” he says, finally opening the door. She breathes in the fresh ocean air. “Thank you,” she says.
“No hope, no future,” Strand says. “Last night they brought in this girl in labor. I delivered a baby. It was truly terrifying. Holding that baby, I felt, if this child lives, it’d be a new generation… That might give us a reason to hope.”
The mother of the bride asks him where he’d go. He says he has a place in mind. She gives him what was supposed to be a wedding gift. “It’s the least I can do for what I did.” He opens it, but we don’t see what it is.
“Thank you,” he says.
“No, thank you. You freed my little girl.” She kisses him on the cheek. “But there are no more generations,” she says, and jumps out the window, killing herself.
Now we’re back at Alicia’s scene. It’s daytime, and they’ve lived to see another day. She tells him that Luciana is unconscious and she can’t wake her up. Jake says he’ll carry her. They’re a few hours away from the ranch.
“It’s a terrible world isn’t it,” he says.
“I’ll help you carry her, we’ll make better time,” Alicia says.
As they approach the ranch, the man on watch sees them and they’re let onto the ranch. Madison greets Alicia with a hug.
“Where is he?”
Alicia has to tell her.
Madison is devastated.
We hear Jake saying he doesn’t know who shot them down.
Troy tells Nick that Luciana isn’t going to survive and they’ll have to kill her before she turns. Nick says that he will do it, not Troy.
Troy hands him the gun. (Why did he think that was a good idea?)
Nick points the gun at Troy instead. Everyone raises their guns.
“Let her in,” Nick says.
Jake says this isn’t how they do things.
Jeremiah gets between Nick and Troy. “Let me have the pistol son,” Jeremiah says.
“You can’t let her die,” Nick says.
“If she’s got a pulse, we’ll let her in. But you’ve got to give me the gun,” Jeremiah says.
After a tense moment, Nick gives him the gun.
Jeremiah hands the gun back to Troy. “Get her to the infirmary,” he says.
They all walk back into the ranch. Madison walks in last, needing time by herself.
At the end, we see Madison alone, overcome with grief. Jeremiah talks with her. He says he’s not there to console her, but about something else. “After someone has this kind of loss, sometimes they take matters into their own hands.” He says that in this new age, killing yourself presents a new set of problems.
“Part of my job here is to make sure you’re not a danger,” he continues, “to yourself or anyone else.”
She says it’s too soon to tell.
He tells her they’re missing a gun and he’d like her to sign for the gun if she borrowed it. “I always thought of that model as more of a lady’s pistol anyway,” he says lightly. She signs the book.
“I’m sorry for your loss… I truly am,” he says.
Back at the infirmary, Luciana is restrained, just in case. Nick thanks Alicia for bringing her back. Alicia cries when he asks if she’s OK.
Next, we see Strand leaving, with keys to a vehicle. He uncovers the car and it’s a beautiful sports car. He laughs. “My style and my color,” he says. It appears that the gift he was given was a key to this car.
Madison is smoking and looking out a window, alone. Alicia and Nick join her. “I’m OK,” she says. “You asked me if I had a plan, Nick… We’re going to stay here. We’re going to make it our home, even if we have to take it over.” (That sounds a lot like Rick.)
“That’s insane,” Alicia says.
“No, that’s our fate. We suffered to get here. Travis died getting here. To accept it, I have to be stronger. Tell me how it happened.”