Review: Fear the Walking Dead Ep. 316: Sleigh Ride

Alycia Debnam-Carey as Alicia Clark – Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 3, Episode 15 – Photo Credit: Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC

Fear the Walking Dead Ep. 316: Sleigh Ride

After the frenetic ending to what amounts to the first half of Fear the Walking Dead’s Season 3 finale, things begin on a calmer and happier note. Johnny Mathis’ velvet voice playing over images of a Christmas setting and pictures of the Clarke family in happier times. This being Fear the Walking Dead though, the happy scenario filled with eerie foreshadowing soon turns into a nightmare for Madison.

The Proctors they’re a comin’ and none other than Alicia is right there with them. Strand has an awkward meeting with Proctor John when he arrives at the dam. After a bit of a tongue lashing Strand does some tap dancing to keep himself out of trouble – for now. Alicia’s complicated relationship with Proctor John gets even more tangled when her relationship with Strand and her connection to Madison come to light. To ensure her survival and Madison’s safety she pledges her allegiance to him.

Locked away in that far off room, Madison and Nick air out their differences and exchange some harsh words. Nick’s a little disappointed in his mother’s penchant for spilling blood and it only gets worse when Strand returns to free them. Although it wasn’t her intention, it seems Madison’s advice for Strand wasn’t enough for him to take care of Daniel. With every plan hatched in the last episode and a half in tatters, Madison, Nick and Strand find themselves at the mercy of an irritated Proctor John. Speaking of Proctor John, he’s an interesting dude to say the least. With his easy going drawl that’s barely above a Clint Eastwood whisper he’s all menace with a healthy coating of Buddist/southern rock n roll veneer.

Sleigh Ride is like the end of a long goodbye. For the last few weeks, FTWD has been clearing the decks by killing off characters and shifting locales. Some of the changes and narrative twists have seemed a bit rushed but the outcome overall has been a satisfying one. With everything that had happened previously it felt as though no one on the show was safe, especially during the scene on the bridge.

What also elevated FTWD this season was it’s willingness to delve into the psyche of its characters. While The Walking Dead has its share of complex characters, it comes across as a show more grounded in the action that is required to survive an apocalypse. Fear takes a more subtle approach and while it’s less violent and lighter on the walker content, the show is more focused on what the apocalypse does to people and the relationships they hold dear. Hopefully it will continue down that path next season and will offer its fans even deeper insight into what makes it’s roster of complex characters tick.