The third season premiere of Fear The Walking Dead takes the mold of a proper  Walking Dead story by pulling the rug from under us and killing off a major character. The series returns with a back-to-back premiere which immediately picks up from the events of last season’s finale. In it, Madison & Co.—indeed this show’s rightly equivalent of Rick & Co.—are taken to something of a barracks led by a suspicious Troy (Daniel Sharman), whose potentially racist tendencies show like a foot forward.

After separating Travis—who is a Maori native apart from, you know, being an American—for “processing”, Troy gets a taste of mommy-bear Madison, who instantly goes feral. Travis, meanwhile, methodically escapes from Troy’s men. Later, however, he gets “The Pit”, a special “out back” punishment for people who are, as Troy notes, “special”. Madison demands to be reunited with her family. Her leverage? A spoon she’d stuck on Troy’s right eye.

‘Fear The Walking Dead’ Brings Intrigue, Kills Off Major Character

Meanwhile, in a bid to escape the barracks, Nick and Luci come upon a whole horde of the Undead, the same one which would prompt Troy and Madison & Co. to flee the barracks, together, to a place where Troy and his good brother Jake calls “home far away from home”. It turns out, Jake and Troy Otto belongs to a family of doomsday preppers, which would explain why Troy so “clinically” tries the wounded, the very foundations of morality be damned.

Which is all well and good: This means the story is now moving to yet another colony. The only thing, which took everyone by surprise, was Travis’ death. In a chopper ride to Jake and Troy’s homebase, a random bullet pierces through Travis’ neck, which prompts Alicia to aid her stepdad. The problem, however, is that Travis has actually been infected when he fought his way through The Pit earlier.

‘Fear The Walking Dead’ Brings Intrigue, Kills Off Major Character

There are a number of reasons why this all feels right. First, the two episodes are incredible, perhaps two of the best the show has ever churned out. Second, it is the show embracing its Walking Dead roots: by tautly accomplishing a character’s journey and, when the audience least expects it, take the character away. Finally, this is a very “Rick moment” for Madison. Without Travis in the picture, Madison is forced to truly commit to being the one who protects her family at all costs.

I’m excited to see where things head, but I’m keeping my head low just on the off chance that Fear The Walking Dead pulls another Season Two mistake, which is to set an incredible promise but fail in following through.

Fear The Walking Dead airs every Monday on FOX Philippines.

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