After taking one long, agonizing week off, “Fear the Walking Dead” returned to AMC for its third episode Sunday night. After leaving each character in some pretty serious peril, the companion series of “The Walking Dead” picked up right where it left off -- in the middle of the action.
The episode begins with Travis (Cliff Curtis) still hiding with his ex-wife Liza (Elizabeth Rodriguez) and Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) hiding out in a barbershop belonging to Daniel Salazar (Ruben Blades) his wife, Griselda (Patricia Reyes Spindola), and their daughter Ofelia (Mercedes Mason). The zombie apocalypse triggered a small riot in Los Angele,s and they’ve ducked inside to ride it out until it’s safe. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for things to get worse and force them back out on the run.
The store next to the Salazar’s shop gets broken into, and the looters start a fire that threatens to burn through to them. They make the tough call to open the doors and run out into the all-out madness that the city has become. Rioters are turning over police cars and lighting fires, looters are stripping the walls of local businesses bare, and occasionally, there are zombies eating people in the middle of the road.
Travis guides the group through the unrest and back to his car, but they don’t make it in one piece. As they’re making their way through some construction scaffolding, it falls over, and Griselda ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She gets her ankle crushed, and the group has to try and make a detour to the hospital.
Meanwhile, back at the house, Madison (Kim Dickens) her daughter Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and son Nick (Frank Dillane) are trying to ignore the neighborly squabbles going on around them by playing a little monopoly, like any good, clean American trying to ignore the nefarious activities of his or her next-door neighbors. It was revealed during the last episode that one of the people on their block had turned and was slowly attacking those with less-than-secure homes. Alicia still hasn’t seen the horror of what’s going on, and Madison is operating under the misguided assumption that she can protect her from figuring out what’s happening.
Unfortunately, her delusion only lasts so long. The scratching outside intensifies. When Nick investigates, he sees one of his neighbor’s dogs covered in blood and lets it inside as it starts to bark. Once it becomes apparent that their home isn’t going to stay secure for long, Nick mentions that their neighbors Patrick and Susan own a shotgun that might be of some use. As they’re snooping around Pat and Sue’s place, Alicia -- who cannot stop wandering off -- notices that there is someone in their house across the way.
While they’re enjoying the comfort and safety of the neighbor’s home, which they've broken into, Travis arrives back home with his family and the Salazars. The hospital turns out to be a big quarantined mess, so he just brings the gang back to Madison’s, completely unaware that a walker is inside munching on a dog.
Travis wrestles with the zombie, whom he recognizes to be his friend Mr. Dawson, before Madison comes over with the shotgun. Daniel quickly grabs the firearm and shoots Mr. Dawson in the face without a moment’s hesitation. Unfortunately for the family’s stomachs, a face shot does not count as a head shot, and the zombie stands alive. Salazar squares up, levels the barrel of the rifle to Dawson’s head and puts him down in front of everyone -- solidifying himself as the Rick Grimes equivalent in this episode.
Just when it seems like the whole cast is finally safe and together at Madison’s place, Alicia attracts the attention of Susan, who is now a zombie. She narrowly escapes getting her foot bitten off, thanks to some unwanted help from Chris, but now a walker reaches for them from behind their backyard gate the entire rest of the night.
With a neighbor dead, Nick in drug withdrawal, Alicia finally understanding what happened to her boyfriend and Griselda succumbing to an infection from her injuries, the group doesn’t get much sleep before the sun rises and they can finally leave for the safety of the desert.
Although Daniel stubbornly insists that the Salazars stay behind, Travis, Chris, Liza, Nick, Madison and Alicia pack up the car and get ready to hide out in the wilderness. They drive to the end of the road, and Madison spots Patrick coming home for the first time after being detained at the airport all night. In what is perhaps the most heartbreaking scene on the show to date, he goes to the backyard to find his wife a bloody zombie. He goes to hug her and is about to lose roughly 50 to 80 percent of his neck when a high-powered rifle shot rings out and Susane is put down.
In a jarring display of military swiftness, U.S. National Guard forces swarm the backyard and entire block, promising to facilitate both the cleanup and containment of the zombie outbreak. The episode ends with Travis assuring Madison that things will get better now that the soldiers have arrived. Unfortunately for us, knowing how bad things eventually get, we're aware that it’s only a matter of time before order turns into chaos once again.