As the second part of Fear the Walking Dead‘s double-episode premiere, ‘The New Frontier’ is able to jump right in the deep end, which it does without question. This episode has a lot to digest, but in a fantastic way. Likely one of my favourite episodes of the series to date, this chapter sets up the season to be both bigger and better than the previous two. While the first episode was a little more tentative, there is a lot packed into these 40 minutes.
At the end of season 3’s first episode, the group was shown travelling in two separate vehicles to their next destination. Alicia, Travis, Jake and Luciana by helicopter, and Madison, Nick and Troy by truck. The latter is not exactly the ideal combination after the events of last episode, but when they arrive before the helicopter, it’s clear something has gone wrong.
Where exactly is their destination though? Turns out it’s a ranch run by the Otto family. Jeremiah Otto (Dayton Callie) is kind and accommodating on the surface, but there’s still something ominous about him. At first glance, Broke Jaw Ranch is already more interesting than La Colonia from Season 2. However, judging by the track record of both Walking Dead shows when it comes to ‘safe havens,’ it’s probably best not to get attached. Nick is already suspicious, and he has a right to be. Jeremiah is a mystery, much like his sons, and there are definitely secrets the group is unaware of. Also, being creepy towards Madison seems to run in the family.
Again, Alicia is a standout in this episode. She finally spends some time without Madison and is given a chance to shine, showing her capability to outshine her mother when it comes to her leadership skills. Alicia has great moments with everyone in these first two episodes, which really shows Alycia Debnam-Carey’s versatility as an actor. Alicia and Jake have an interesting dynamic, and they share commonalities that will likely be explored further. They have an insightful conversation about how unhinged Troy is, which, knowing this show, is probably foreshadowing a future event. Troy is just a ticking time bomb waiting to explode, and Nick is someone who sees that right away.
This episode also checks in with Strand for the first time and we see that he’s back to his old tricks. Also back is Brenda Strong (as Ilene), who instantly makes any episode better. The second episode is a rollercoaster for Strand, and it unveils more qualities about him for fans to fall in love with. Strand has consistently been a compelling character, and hopefully that continues as the seasons go on. We also learn that he won’t be staying in the one place for the duration of the season, which is refreshing, to say the least.
‘The New Frontier’ is a great episode that shakes things up and leaves our characters on uneven ground moving forward. With the first two episodes building momentum, it’s clear that Fear the Walking Dead has launched headfirst into what may very well be a strong Season 3.
THE REEL SCORE: 8/10
‘Fear the Walking Dead’ season 3 airs Monday 7:30pm AEST on FX from June 5, express from the US.
And in case you need a recap…