Fear the Walking Dead is never short of tension, action or explosive drama, but moments of laughter and joy are thin on the ground.
However, at the end of La Serpiente, there were smiles and a glimmer of optimism for a new future.
Strand and Madison reunited with Walker after striking a deal with Lola and Daniel that means they exchange weaponry for a hefty supply of water.
Throw in a potential Daniel/Ofelia reunion and Strand’s comforting shoulder for Madison and this was probably the most optimistic episode of the show so far… something surely has to give.
Here are five talking points from La Serpiente…
1. Stinking adventures with Strand
The characters on Fear have found themselves in some stick spots, but none quite as unpleasant and stinky as down the drains and sewer runs with Strand.
"Hold your breath as you go down,” advised Strand as he took Madison and Walker on an underground adventure that they’ll never forget.
From Madison smashing apart a walker that was causing a blockage to the dark, claustrophobic game of cat and mouse between the survivors and walkers in the tunnels, it was a fantastic sequence.
2. Is Ofelia doomed?
The second half of this episode revolved largely around a character who wasn’t on camera. Ofelia Salazar is the bargaining chip that has saved Strand’s bacon and won Madison a fantastic deal with the water.
However, the promise from Madison and Strand to bring back Daniel’s daughter was so pointed we can’t help but fear for Ofelia.
If she was taken by another group, refused to meet her father or even worse, killed, could the deal be put in jeopardy?
3. Madison v Lola
Lola still believes that she can make a difference, protect her people and maintain her morals and values. Madison believes from her experience that those sorts of codes and ethics can’t be maintained in this new world.
Watching these two go head-to-head was thrilling viewing and we suspect, as often is the case in Fear the Walking Dead, the naïve and more optimistic of the two parties may end up losing the argument and pay the ultimate price.
4. Strand v Daniel
Are Strand and Daniel even? With a possible Ofelia reunion on the cards and some cunning plotting from Strand, Daniel looks like he might have finally decided Strand has his uses. The pair have never seen eye-to-eye and Daniel spat out insults frequently at “serpent” Victor, but there appears to be a begrudging respect between the two survivors.
5. Is a new big bad coming?
Speaking before the start of the third season, exec producer Dave Erickson revealed that the show would have a new villain, who would put previous enemies in the shade.
“There will be nobody in the immediate first few episodes, but we will meet a character down the road who represents a greater danger and evil than anybody we've met to this point,” said Erickson.
Could the enemy be the owner of El Bazar, Proctor John. Strand has got on the wrong side of the Proctors and if he returns for the trade-off between the Dam and the Ranch, perhaps the Proctors will be the stumbling block.
Fear the Walking Dead’s third season airs Mondays at 9pm on AMC, exclusive to BT customers.
The second half of its third season has eight new episodes, airing on BT TV channel 332/381.
Catch up on the BT Player and new BT TV App.