In this week’s El Matadero we lost another hero, and a fan favorite is heading down a dark path. Madison takes a huge risk this week, and takes a bitten Ofelia into unfriendly territory, while Alicia sets off on her own.
Madison’s motivation is largely selfish, hoping to use Ophelia as a bargaining chip with Daniel, and sticks to her plan when she learns she has been bitten. To her credit, she does seem to care that Ofelia has a chance to at least say goodbye to her father. Madison is getting better at being the leader, but having advisors like Taqa and Ofelia around her to keep her self-aware will be imperative.
Madison takes it well when Nick and Troy show up without Alicia. Her focus has been caring for her kids, but they seem intent on taking care of themselves. Nick “borrows” some of Ofelia’s pain medication and manages to find the last drug den on Earth, El Matadero, The Slaughterhouse. Troy balks but is easily led astray by Nick. It is a shame to see him backslide since he has come so far as a character. The two men devour brain stems procured from an unknown source, after popping pills and doing shots ensuring they are seriously messed up.
The drug-addled adventure the two go on is unsettling and vivid. It plays out like something out of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, in fact, Frank Dillane’s performance reminds us of a young Johnny Depp. He still has a lot of emotional damage he needs to work through, and in the scene, Troy has a chance to step up and show some depth. This could be a turning point for both the men, for better or worse.
While Nick and Troy are tripping balls and Madison is keeping Ofelia alive, Alicia is scavenging for food. She finds her way into a seemingly abandoned fast food joint and comes face to face with a tiny pigtailed zombie in the ball pit.
The scene is mildly predictable, but intense none the less. In fact, this season’s second half has been bringing us back to the scary world that lies outside the sanctuary walls the survivors keep finding themselves behind. Having Alicia in the field should bring back the horror to this horror drama. Alicia hides in the ball pit while a stranger clears the restaurant and drives off with her precious instant potatoes. The two meet up again when Alicia tries to steal the potatoes back out of her car. This stranger has been on her own for a while, and the two form an unlikely partnership.
Madison almost keeps Ofelia alive long enough to see her father, but she dies literally moments before he arrives. The scene was totally predictable, as Madison’s plan was to get her to her father alive, so of course, she dies right before he gets there. He is understandably upset and sends Madison away. The idea is that we worry that he will be so upset after losing his daughter that he might turn away people he has been with since the beginning, but we really don’t. It is not a big surprise when he offers to take them back to the dam. This is a wasted chance for one last heartfelt moment between father and daughter since there really was no doubt he would offer sanctuary, and in the end, Ofelia’s death falls flat as a result.
Nick decides he and Troy should stay, giving a half-baked excuse about supplies. Now Madison is out two kids who would rather risk life and limb than stay by her side.
Strand is being shady AF this week, sneaking into the depths of the stadium to meet with the Proctor, promising something he is “going to want to hear.” Strand makes no mention to Madison, but we have a sneaking suspicion he’s just messed up things for everyone, most likely by giving up the location of the dam. It doesn’t really make sense for him to do anything, having been freed from the Proctor’s control thanks to Madison, he could easily have just kept his head down while they were there. This is, of course, unless the Proctor is being set up to be a major antagonist in the next season, or in the shows coming season finale.
GEEK Grade: B
In next week’s two-part season finale all stories come to a head, will friends become foes, and will the dam become a sanctuary, or a target for a new battle?
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Directed By Stefan Schwartz
Written By Alan Page