The Tijuana dam takes center stage again in Fear the Walking Dead. La Serpiente is the episode title, which refers to Daniel Salazar's (Ruben Blades) nickname for Victor Strand (Colman Domingo). Water is the hot commodity of the apocalypse. It's also a lazy writing set-up to unite our separated main cast. The storylines continue to be vanilla after the midseason premiere.
Madison (Kim Dickens), Strand, and Taqa Walker (Michael Greyeyes) are in the water truck driving towards Tijuana. Taqa is still furious at Madison and distrustful of Strand. They come to a roadblock filled with walkers. Strand throws his beeping keychain out the window. The walkers go towards the noise as Taqa squeezes the truck through.
They stop at a junkyard. Strand takes them to an old VW Bug with a sewer grate underneath. They descend into the filth. They meander through the tunnels with Taqa becoming more and more irate at Strand. They avoid walkers, until Strand has to admit to Madison that he's lost. He then sees the eye logo that was left by the Proctors. They enter the tunnel, but it's blocked by a disgusting, rotten walker. Madison kills it and gruesomely dismembers the corpse. Water floods in as the impediment is cleared.
Salazar is with Efrain (Jesse Borrego) and a shot man in their water truck. They are fleeing under gunfire. Salazar returns fire. Efrain scolds him for shooting first. They enter the gates at the dam. Efrain is going to tell Lola (Lisandre Tena) of Salazar's action. He responds the place would fall in days without him. Salazar sees someone in the bushes. He races over and pulls a gun on Strand, only to be more surprised when Madison and Taqa emerge from the sewer.
Madison tells Salazar that Ofelia is alive and safe, but they need water. He takes them to see Lola, but wants to speak to her first. Madison says she will do the negotiating. Inside the dam office, Madison pleads her case to Lola. But it is to no avail. Lola will not give them water. It is for their towns and communities. They can stay the night, but must leave in the morning.
Lola asks Daniel where his allegiance lies. He reminds her that their hold on the dam is tenuous. The townspeople will attack for the water. Lola tells him to go to his daughter if he will not follow her orders. Daniel replies that Ofelia is safe, she is not. He will stay to protect her. In their room at the dam, Taqa is highly displeased. He informs Strand of the situation at the ranch. His people come first. Madison and her children will be forced out.
Madison attempts to change Lola's mind. She warns their will be bloodshed. The dam is too valuable; trading with the ranch can help them both. Lola offers Madison and her family refuge at the dam. But Lola still refuses to supply the ranch water. Madison replies she cannot please everyone. In the infirmary, Strand offers to help the injured man. Efrain is wary of him, he reminds everyone that Salazar call Strand "La Serpiente", the snake. Strand learns about the recent unrest in the towns.
Salazar approaches Taqa at dinner. He thanks him for rescuing Ofelia. Taqa tells Salazar that she is one of his best soldiers. He recounts how she infiltrated and poisoned the ranchers. The story distresses Salazar. He did not raise his daughter to be a soldier. Back at the room, Madison and Strand have a warm moment. He asks her truly what she wants. She wants to be at the ranch. She comes from the country. Madison asks Strand the same question. He doesn't want to fail his friends.
The next morning at the office, Daniel continues to warn of possible attacks. Lola refuses his counsel. They will continue to provide water to the towns. He can leave if he doesn't want to help. He replies that they are on schedule for the water run today. Outside, Strand is watching the men fill up the water truck. Salazar walks up to him. He knows Strand is planning something, in his serpent mind. He tells Strand it better benefit them both. Salazar walks away singing "down with the water queen".
Taqa is leaving the dam and returning to the ranch. Madison pleads with him, but he is resolute. The ranchers must leave when he gets back. Madison returns to her room and finds Salazar. He is staying with Lola to protect the dam. Madison wonders whether he is afraid to face Ofelia. She gets her belongings and walks outside. Strand holds her back from the water truck, it explodes into huge fireball.
The explosion blows down the gates. Walkers stream in, engulfed in flame. Salazar and Lola's men rush to in to kill the walkers. The people down the road start racing towards the dam, yelling "down with the water queen". Lola watches as her men feverishly rush to fix the gate. Salazar's point as been made.
Lola is now willing to trade for weaponry. Madison will get 10,000 gallons of water weekly. They will supply her and Strand a truck for the first shipment. Madison will deliver the guns, with Ofelia present, in five days at the bazaar border trading post. As Strand and Madison get in the truck, Salazar warns her not to trust Victor. As they drive away from the dam, Madison asks Victor how he sabotaged the truck. His replies it was a trick he saw in a movie. They laugh, before picking up a surprised Taqa on the road home.
The situation at the dam was easily resolved. Par for the course in the last three episodes. There wasn't a second of doubt that Madison would get the water. Especially since Salazar know's Ofelia is at the ranch. Our happy trio heads back home with hydration. But will it still be standing after Troy's return, next week on AMC?