The penultimate Season 3 episode of Fear the Walking Dead, El Matadero, was par for the downward course. The show continues to be utterly contrived and nonsensical. Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) is the latest character death, assuring that she won't be the one to appear in the just announced Walking Dead crossover event. The show had milked the reunion between Salazar (Ruben Blades) and his daughter. It comes as no surprise they don't have a happy ending. Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) finds a new friend in her self-imposed exile. Troy (Daniel Sharman) and Nick (Frank Dillane) fall back into bad habits, which was at least entertaining.
"El Matadero" opens with Strand (Colman Domingo), Taqa (Michael Greyeyes), and Madison (Kim Dickens) driving the water truck to the bazaar meeting. Strand is worried they don't have enough to make the trade to Salazar. Madison counters that at least they have Ofelia. Crazy Dog (Justin Rain) and Ofelia are riding on the back of the truck, when Ofelia suddenly falls off unto the road. They pull over to get her, then realize she has been bitten by a walker.
Alicia is alone by a fire. She hears a car drive up, then quickly douses the flame. It's Nick and Troy coming to take her back. She tells Nick that he doesn't owe her anything. He counters that it's better to be in a group. She disagrees, she needs to be alone. The truck arrives at the bazaar. Taqa and Madison cover Ofelia's bite. Strand warns they will kill her if discovered. The weakened Ofelia gets by their security.
They rent a room and lay Ofelia down. Madison goes to get medical supplies, while Taqa watches Ofelia. Madison and Strand argue again about giving the weapons to Salazar. Strand calls him a butcher, while Madison says he is afraid. Back at their camp, Nick and Troy say goodbye to Alicia. He gives her a map of the dam's location. As they leave, Troy teases Nick that they are both the black sheep of their families.
Back at the bazaar, Madison has brought drugs and electrolytes. She wonders if Salazar will kill them all. Taqa responds that he's lost everything, but she is doing the right thing bringing back his daughter. On the road, Alicia pulls over by a burger joint. She goes in and finds a bucket of instant mashed potatoes. Naturally, she puts down her gun to carry it, leaving her defenseless. A group of walkers enter the restaurant, she hides amongst the plastic balls in the play pit. A submerged walker attacks her, she drops her rifle, but kills it with her knife. The door opens again and a woman (Edwina Findley) with a pick axe comes through. She easily dispatches the walkers. Then cuts the rings off their fingers, and pulls their gold teeth. She grabs the bucket of potatoes and leaves.
Nick and Troy reunite with the group at the bazaar. Nick updates his mother on Alicia's whereabouts. She embraces her son, thanking him for being there. She leaves him to watch Ofelia. Nick sees the bag full of painkillers and gobbles one down. On the road, Alicia sees the car of the woman that took the potatoes. She's about the take it when the the woman confronts her. Alicia points her rifle to the woman's gas tank. She'd prefer not to kill her, they can share the food.
Troy, surrounded by Mexicans, is nervous at the cantina. Nick, high on the pills, plops down and orders them both drinks. He asks the waitress, in Spanish, where he can find "uppers". She directs him to El Matadero. Meanwhile, Strand has gone to an exclusive section of the bazaar. There are prostitutes, drug dealers, he comes to a locked gate. A group of men approach and threaten him. He asks to see Proctor John, he has something for him.
Madison talks with the quickly fading Ofelia. She begs Madison to kill her when she turns. Ofelia wishes that the she had known her father. Madison responds that she did. All children know their parents, no matter what they try to hide. Madison tells Taqa to stay behind. She takes a nearly dead Ofelia to the parking lot to wait for Salazar. Ofelia dies as Salazar pulls up with the water trucks. Madison tries to stop him from seeing Ofelia, but he brushes past her. Salazar is filled with rage. He pulls his gun on Madison. She explains that Ofelia was bitten saving Alicia. He screams at her to leave or he will kill her. Madison walks away as Salazar shoots Ofelia in the head.
Nick and Troy go to the drug den. They meet El Matadero, who gives them the ultimate upper, a brain stem nucleus, in shot glasses no less. Nick slurps it down, as does a disgusted Troy. On the road, Alicia and her new friend are eating the potatoes. The woman tells her there's nothing out there. The surrounding towns are picked clean. Alicia replies that she knows a place with water and game. She inquires about the teeth and rings. The woman responds that she sells them to the Mexicans as charms. She offers Alicia a ring, who thanks her; but turns it down.
Nick and Troy sneak out of the bazaar by jumping the fence. They are tweaking from the drugs. Nick smashes the head of a walker, then bathes himself in blood. He grabs Troy and covers him as well. Troy watches astonished as Nick calmly walks through a group of walkers. They surround Troy as well, but he is masked by the blood. Nick revels in the moment, then says he cannot go back to his mother.
Madison returns to the room. She finds the drugs are all gone. Salazar follows her in. He walked with Ofelia's body all night, then buried her under a fig tree. Madison tells him her last words. Salazar says this is no place for her, and offers Madison sanctuary at the dam. She asks if her friends can also come.
Alicia wakes up. She grabs her stuff and is about to leave, when she sees the woman working on her car. The woman says the "teeth won't pull themselves". She's off to do more killing. Alicia joins her. At the bazaar, everyone has gathered by Salazar's trucks. Nick tells his mother that he and Troy will stay behind a few days. She doesn't bring up the drugs, but is clearly disappointed. She tells him to do what he needs to. The group splits up again. As they leave for the dam, Strand looks back. He has obviously made some kind of deal for the water.
Nick and Troy tripping their balls off was a welcome bit of humor. Alicia's tooth-pulling pal looks to be a new character, but she is not named in the episode. Next week's two hour finale on AMC looks to be the fight for control of the dam. It's ludicrous to believe the baddies at the bazaar are ignorant of the dam, and even more so, for Salazar to allow Strand to come back. Common sense evaporated from this show mid-season. We'll see if an action-packed last episode rescues Fear the Walking Dead.