Fear the Walking Dead wraps up season three with a weak two episode finale. Things Bad Begun and Sleigh Ride are indicative of the poor writing that has plagued the show. The characters behave foolishly, then find themselves in utterly contrived situations. Sleigh Ride in particular lowers the bar even further. It attempts an artistic send off that's pure filler. Characters die a plenty, except for the primary cast. We only see Madison (Kim Dickens) survive, but it's painfully obvious that everyone did as well.
Things Bad Begun opens with Nick (Frank Dillane) collecting heads in a shopping cart. He's selling them to El Matadero for the glands. Meanwhile, Troy (Daniel Sharman) notices the Proctors are preparing for a fight. He finds a drunken Nick and tells him to sober up. The Proctors are going to take the dam. They need to warn Madison.
At the dam, Madison and Strand (Domingo Coleman) are getting drunk. She tells him of her dream, to have a wonderful Christmas dinner with roast turkey and grandchildren running around. Meanwhile on the streets near the bazaar, Alicia (Alicia Debnam-Carey) and her pickaxe partner (Edwina Findlay) get ambushed in their car. Alicia fights them off, but her partner has a broken leg.
Taqa (Michael Greyeyes) approaches Salazar (Ruben Blades). He gives him a cross that belonged to Ofelia. Salazar is still questioning how Ofelia died in the bunker. Taqa has no answers, he wasn't there. Strand and Madison are still drinking. She can tell he's up to something. She asks him if he has killed anyone yet. He hasn't. She says that his time will come.
Troy and Nick arrive at the dam with news of the Proctors attack. Salazar takes an instant dislike to Troy. Lola (Lisandre Tena) informs the group that they have C4 explosives. Salazar wants to wire the dam as a last line of defense. Troy volunteers to set the explosives. Salazar disagrees, but Madison vouches for him. The Proctors are too much for the Indians. Taqa and Crazy Dog (Justin Rain) decide to leave and head north. They say goodbye to Madison and part ways as friends.
Alicia is at the bazaar infirmary getting her friend's leg patched up. Eddie is the doctor for the Proctors. He notices Alicia's steady hand and asks her for her assistance in a major surgery. Back at the dam, Strand tells Nick to take his mother and leave immediately. He has sold out the dam to the Proctors. He is going to let them. Nick leaves disgusted, but soon finds himself locked in a room by Salazar. He wants to know what really happened to Ofelia. Who led the horde to the ranch? He ominously threatens Nick with torture.
Troy and Madison are the base of the dam setting the explosives. Troy chirps on how they are a big, blended family now. Back at the bazaar, Alicia is introduced to the leader of the Proctors, Proctor John (Ray McKinnon). He's in a wheelchair because a tumor is pressing against his spine. The surgery will be for him. Proctor John tells her of his grand ambitions. He wants to establish a trade route to Houston. The city has its own refineries and power grid. Alicia responds that she has no surgical experience. Proctor John says she just needs to assist. But he's ordered his men to kill her and Eddie if he dies in surgery.
The surgery begins without anesthetic. Alicia talks to Proctor John as Eddie slices open his back and removes the tumor. He howls in pain, but Alicia keeps him in focus. At the dam, Lola and Salazar have noticed that water is pumping the wrong way. It is clearing out a tunnel instead of flooding it. Meanwhile, Nick has been released by Salazar and races to his mother. He tells her of Strands betrayal and Salazar's quest for Troy. Troy then admits to Madison that he led the horde to the ranch. She grabs a hammer and bashes Troy in the head.
The surgery was a success. Alicia tells Proctor John to wiggle his toes. He complies. He then asks her to tell the truth about who she is. He tells her and his men to get ready. They are moving on the dam. Salazar and Lola are trying to reverse the water flow when Strand arrives with a gun. His duplicity is unmasked. Salazar tries to talk him out of the weapon, but is shot through the cheek. Lola takes him away as Strand leaves in horror.
The Proctors have arrived at the dam. They stream in through the tunnel, but encounter resistance from Lola's men. Strand finds Madison and Nick. He hides them in a supply room and locks the door. He takes the detonator for the bombs from Madison.
Episode sixteen, Sleigh Ride, begins with a dream sequence. Madison is preparing Christmas dinner. Dressed in her Sunday best, she goes outside to meet Nick and Luciana, who has a baby in a shawl. They don't go in the house with her, but to their car to leave. The baby snarls like a walker.
Alicia is in a boat with Proctor John approaching the dam. Strand is waiting on the dock. Proctor John is furious that their attack was not a surprise. He's lost twelve men. Strand admits that they were tipped off. Strand whispers to Alicia that her mother and Nick are hidden. She must trust him if they are to survive.
Nick and Madison have an argument about Troy's murder. Nick wonders if she ever wished him dead. Madison is furious at the question. Nick responds that she has shown who she really is. Meanwhile, Lola has dragged Salazar to safety. He gives her his gun. She leaves to find Efrain, who has already been killed by the Proctors. Meanwhile, Alicia dresses Proctor John's wound. He asks her how she knows Strand. She tells him the truth. He tells her that Strand had negotiated for their lives, but now those promises have fallen apart. Alicia promises to serve him loyally and accompany him to Houston, if he spares her family.
Strand returns to get Madison and Nick. He brings them worker clothes for the dam. He tells them that Alicia is here. He admits to shooting Salazar, but not killing him. In the dam control room, Lola arrives to find Efrain dead. She looks on the monitors to see that the Proctors are killing her men. Strand slowly walks Madison and Nick across the dam bridge, by the Proctors. They are about to make it when Lola attacks the men on the bridge. She is shot in the head by Proctor John.
Proctor John has his men round up Strand and the Clark family. He wants blood after taking so many casualties. They are escorted to the edge of the damn. Everyone hugs each other as they know this is the end. Strand then turns around to confront Proctor John. He explains that the dam is wired to blow. He reaches in his pocket for the detonator, but it is gone. Nick raises his hand, he stole the detonator when he hugged Strand goodbye.
We then cut back to another Madison dream sequence. Everyone, Troy, Jake, and Jeremiah are at Christmas dinner. Strand arrives with presents. He even gives a gift to Salazar. They sit down to eat, but when she unveils the turkey, it's Jeremiah's head. Blood pours out everywhere on the table.
It's a standoff on the bridge. Nick, holding the detonator, orders his mother, Alicia, and Strand to leave in one of the boats below. Madison begs him not to do this, but it's their only chance. They leave with Strand and race towards the boat. Meanwhile, Salazar is back in the game. He kills a few of the Proctors and takes their weapons. He comes across the body of Lola, with a disparaging note stuck to her. He places Ofelia's cross in her dead hands. Enraged, he heads to the bridge.
Nick watches as his family and Strand get in the boat, but struggle as the engine fails. It finally sputters to life and takes off. Proctor John has had enough. He orders his men to grab Nick, when sniper fire rains down. Taqa and Crazy Dog are above the dam on a ridge. They kill the men surrounding Nick. Salazar joins the fray. As he opens fire, Nick blows the dam.
The base of the dam explodes. Water gushes out, pulling the boat towards the sucking hole. We see the bodies of Troy and Efrain get flooded. Proctor John runs away as Salazar gets to Nick. Insert another dream sequence, Madison is being sucked into the ground. She looks up to see Travis waiting for her. He offers her a hand, but she falls into the dirt. Madison wakes up underwater. She gasps for air, then fights her way to the surface, past dam debris. She reaches the shoreline. A young girl says "hola", as people rush to get the water.
Goodbye ranch, goodbye dam, the supporting characters are dead, besides the Indians and pickaxe girl. Thus Madison, Nick, Alicia, Strand, and Salazar are left to face off against the new baddie, Proctor John. Let's not forget that Luciana is somewhere out there, possibly with child. There are so many contrivances and plot holes, I've given up taking this show seriously. The ridiculous dream sequences made the finale that much worse. Next season we can look forward to a crossover with The Walking Dead. All signs point to Abraham's return in Houston. At least that will be interesting, and hopefully better written, next season on AMC.