Synopsis for 3×01 & 3×02: Like any poorly thought out plan put into practice, season three of Fear The Walking Dead opens with Madison and her family captured by new enemies. But will they come to an uneasy truce?
Meanwhile, Travis is going through a different sort of processing altogether. Troy’s lackeys take his height, weight, ethnicity, and toss him into a room with a bunch of other downtrodden people. At least he finds Nick and Luciana there?
Nick thought it was a refugee camp when he spotted the helicopter headed that way, but it’s clear that they’re using the people for research – and they’re much further along than The Walking Dead has ever gotten. Troy’s people have learned that dead bodies all along the perimeter keep the dead out and that everyone comes back eventually. In fact, they’re timing deaths to see how long it takes them to reanimate. They’ve even noticed that once the blood runs cold, the dead stop eating, allowing for dinner to also reanimate. What that says about Lori’s full-body feast, we’ll always wonder.
Another survivor talks Travis and Nick into making an escape attempt as they sit and watch more of their fellow captives shot. They manage to make a run for it, with Travis being re-captured first in order to let Nick and Lucy escape. They get into the underground tunnels, but not before their fellow survivor is shot. The soldiers slit his throat and toss him down into the tunnels to hunt after Nick and Luciana.
Troy orders Travis to be taken “out back” before returning to check on Madison and Alicia. It’s a difficult struggle when he walks into the room, culminating in Madison sticking a spoon in Troy’s eye and threatening to pop it out while Alicia goes looking for an escape vehicle.
It may be too late for Travis though, as he’s thrown into a pit to fight through the dead. He manages to take down more than a few before they let loose a whole cage of them. At the same time, Nick and Lucy hit a dead end in the tunnels, literally, and are forced to backtrack. They run into the murdered survivor reanimated and Alicia hears Nick struggling with him through the grates. She’s recaptured attempting to help him.
Madison finds herself surrounded by Troy’s men and Troy’s brother, Jake, recently arrived. He manages to talk her into giving up Troy with promises to bring her to Travis. She’s taken to Travis, who survived his gauntlet, and soon after Alicia, Nick, and Luciana are brought to them.
They still want to leave without joining Jake and Troy, but the dead begin streaming out of the buildings and chaos ensues. With no other choice, Travis, Alicia, and Luciana jump into the helicopter with Jake and Nick and Madison must follow behind in a car. They’re all going to the same place.
The action continues in the second half of the season premiere, “The New Frontier,” as the helicopter is shown taking fire from an unknown enemy. Travis is nicked by a bullet in the neck, which wouldn’t be a life threatening injury in itself, but as he tries to jump from the helicopter, Alicia sees that he has other injuries. He’s been reckless and suicidal since learning of Chris’ death last season, so it’s not a surprising death – though it’s still heart-wrenching.
Strand, left behind at the hotel, is attempting to do damage control by claiming he’s a doctor and allowing all of the desperate people at the gate in. It’s a tenuous lie at best, tested quickly when he has to deliver a baby. Thankfully, it all goes well, but it’s clear that the truth will come out eventually and Strand can’t be there when it does.
Once Troy’s caravan makes it to Broke Jaw Ranch, they learn that Jake’s helicopter never made it back and Madison and Nick are left outside while the family re-groups. Calmly, Madison is trying to teach Nick the lesson of eating shit with a grin, but he’s wound up and uninterested in anything but getting Luciana medical attention and then leaving. There’s a tense meeting between Madison and Troy’s father, Jeremiah Otto, the ranch owner.
Ultimately, he lets her and Nick inside the ranch, acknowledging that Troy is a little off, but reminding them that most people are grateful to be there. He leaves them in a cabin, where Nick is still feeling like a caged animal. He’s upset that this is all his fault, for leading Luciana’s people there and for forcing Madison to come after him.
Far from camp, Jake, the pilot, and Alicia are camping out. The pilot takes first watch and is unfortunately attacked by the dead, forcing Jake to make sure she doesn’t return. Jake is upset and Alicia is not really in any place to comfort him, but together they bring an unconscious Luciana back to the ranch. The funniest part of this sequence is that someone spotted them far off and no one sent a truck out to pick them up.
Before he can leave, Strand is left to speak with the bride’s mother at the hotel – the woman who once stabbed him. He’s supposed to make her eat, but they have a heart to heart instead. After all of his talk of hope, he’d opened the stuck balcony door for some fresh air and the woman jumped to her death. Strand seemed surprised, but still took her car keys to make his own exit from the hotel.
When they make it to Broke Jaw Ranch, Alicia has to tell Madison that Travis didn’t make it and she’s obviously upset. But there’s no time for that, as Nick tries to force the Ottos to allow Luciana inside for medical treatment, though Troy wants to shoot her. Jeremiah talks him down and she’s ultimately allowed to enter, provided they can restrain her just in case. Nick and Alicia watch over her in the infirmary, neither one okay.
Jeremiah finds a bereft Madison alone and crying later, where they talk about Travis a little bit and he notes that a gun had gone missing from one of the vehicles. He tells her that she should sign it out if she wants to keep it and she begrudgingly complies. Later, with her kids in the cabin with her, Madison makes a bold statement. They’re going to stay at Broke Jaw Ranch and make it their home, even if they have to take it over.