‘Brother’s Keeper’ picks back up with everyone on the ranch after an episode away. This time, we also get to see how Troy is doing after being banished. Physically, he’s faring a lot better than Ofelia was out in the desert, but he doesn’t seem to be all there mentally. He’s constantly looking at the gun, which only has a single bullet. At one point, it almost seems like he’s going to shoot himself. Instead, he sees a herd in the distance and decides to shoot upwards, drawing them closer. This will eventually spell disaster for the ranch residents, but in the beginning, that’s not even on their radar.
The ‘brother’ in the title is clearly referring to Jake as Troy’s brother, but it could also be Nick as Alicia’s. Ever since killing Jeremiah, Nick hasn’t been the same, and he expresses to Alicia that maybe he’s as sick as Troy is because they have some sort of kinship with each other. Nick and Troy even get a reunion when Troy sneaks back on the ranch in the middle of the night. He warns Nick that something “biblical” is coming, which is probably his way of trying to warn Nick about the herd.
Ofelia seems to be one of the few left who has her head on straight. She also says that Jake is weak very early on in the episode, which is possibly the truest thing anyone’s said all season. Every word that comes out of Jake’s mouth in this episode is, frankly, annoying. He and Alicia have a fight that is interrupted by Nick, and the two of them go out to find Troy, leaving Alicia behind. While they’re driving, they see a giant cloud of dust that the walker herd is kicking up as they head towards the ranch. Once they warn Alicia, they realise it’s Troy who’s been leading them all along.
Nick and Jake confront Troy, who continues to draw the horde even closer with a grenade launcher. Jake finally finds out that Nick killed his father, but he doesn’t seem to care in that moment. Before he’s able to kill Troy, Nick pushes him off. This causes a walker to come from behind and land on him, biting his arm. It takes about thirty seconds for Nick to cut off his arm in an attempt to save him. Still, while it may have worked for Hershel on The Walking Dead, it doesn’t quite work for Jake. Eventually he turns (likely from the blood loss) and Troy is the one to put him down. I’d say it was a surprise, but as someone who showed himself as the weak link from the beginning, it was only a matter of time.
Back at the ranch, Ofelia and Alicia take point as the horde approaches. It’s almost sad that it took Madison, Walker, Nick and the Ottos leaving the ranch for the most capable people to take charge. They decide to arm themselves and line up all the vehicles to create a blockade. Once it falls through, Alicia orders everyone to get back into the pantry. There’s an amazing moment where Coop, a ranch resident, is overrun and bitten, and Alicia wastes no time in mercy killing him so he doesn’t have to suffer. By the end of the episode, all of the ranch residents are cramped inside the pantry as the walkers bang on the door outside.
This episode seems to be leading towards another situation like last season, where their place of refuge is overrun and they’re forced to flee. It seems unlikely that we’ll get through the rest of the season without another death, and I’m especially nervous for Alicia and Ofelia. This is finally their chance to step up the way they should have from the beginning, and I’m hoping it’s not cut short.
THE REEL SCORE: 8/10