‘Red Dirt’ is an episode that delves deeper into the feud between the Ottos and Walker’s group. It also manages to unveil just how stubborn and racist Jeremiah actually is, and how he’s likely to get everyone on the ranch killed. We immediately learn that, before the apocalypse, Walker was a tribal lawyer who sued the Ottos multiple times for ownership of the land, losing each time. While Jeremiah is slowly becoming unhinged, it seems that Madison and Troy are stepping up in his place.
With the threat of Walker and his people, residents of the ranch are beginning to panic. One night, Walker’s people light fires around the entire ranch, and that seems to be the last straw for the Trimbol family. They choose to pack up and leave, and Troy isn’t happy about it. However, it does allow Troy to step up as the leader he was groomed to be. Jeremiah doesn’t trust him, but Madison is slowly taking him under her wing. Again, whether it’s a tactic to manipulate him remains to be seen, but Madison usually has her own agenda.
There’s a lot more of the Clarks spending time with their respective Ottos in this episode. Jeremiah teaches Nick how to shoot, and Jake teaches Alicia. Madison and Alicia also talk about Alicia’s relationship with Jake. It seems that Alicia has some of her mother’s manipulative nature in her, as she says “Jake’s important to us” as a justification for the relationship. There’s a good chance she’s trying to stay on Jake’s good side for the benefit of her own family. Meanwhile, Nick is dealing with the disappearance of Luciana by getting closer to Jeremiah. However, his methods are much more natural and transparent.
The Trimbol family are seen again later in the episode, except they’re found dead and feeding on a horse. Jeremiah knows immediately that it’s Troy who killed them, but Madison still has some faith in him. They take the bodies back to the ranch, and Madison uses it as an opportunity to manipulate the residents into staying so they don’t end up like the Trimbols. However, at the end, Troy does admit to Madison that it was him. Still, Madison seems to think that Troy is fit to lead, not Jake. It seems she is backing Troy in the inevitable fight against Walker.
Although ‘Red Dirt’ isn’t the strongest episode so far, it does solidify a lot of the relationships that have been introduced since the beginning of the season. It makes me wonder if a major character is going to die during the mid-season finale. Not only that, the promo for next week finally gives us a glimpse of Ofelia. It seems like she’s on Walker’s side for reasons unknown, but it’s likely he picked her up at the border and took her in. No doubt that the double episode mid-season finale will be a showdown between the two groups. Let’s just hope that Ofelia doesn’t get caught in the crossfire.
THE REEL SCORE: 6/10