The third season of “Fear the Walking Dead” kicked off with two hours of the Clark family stuck on a military base and Strand struggling to maintain his grip on power. Madison and Alisha find themselves separated from Travis at the military base, while Travis runs into Nick in dire circumstances.

The zombie apocalypse tackles immigration

The first hour, “Eye of the Beholder,” sees Madison, Alisha, and Travis captured by military personnel at the Mexican border. On the one hand, it appears that the military are weeding out the strong from the week as an injured Travis is separated from Madison and Alisha.

Travis finds himself in a room with other injured and sick people (mostly men), as well as Nick and Luciana, after he was measured, weighed, and numbered.

While there’s an element of getting rid of dead weight here, it’s also evident that the troops are trying to figure out if there’s a pattern to the rate at which people turn. That all seems to go out the window though as they start to focus on who amongst their future victims is American and who is Mexican. It’s like the show started to tackle the question of how immigration works in a zombie apocalypse, but then got distracted by things like cool zombie kills, and never really followed through.

Is Alisha your favorite yet?

Not only does Alisha manage to hide a knife in her boot when her family is taken and searched for weapons, but she also manages to keep her mom calm while they’re locked up, and helps her take down Troy, their captor, to get out.

In the midst of trying to find a vehicle, she even gets to drop said knife to her brother, who was trying to escape the compound with an injured Luciana, so he can kill the walker that’s after them. In the second hour, she shoots a trio of walkers to save someone else. Alisha is saving people left and right, which is a big turn from being the one who was constantly getting the group in trouble back in the first season.

Reunited and it feels so…troubling

The first hour plays with the audience’s emotions where reunions are concerned. We know that Nick, Luciana, Travis, Madison, and Alisha are all in the same place. The group doesn’t all get to reunite for the entire hour, though. Instead, it’s Travis, Nick, and Alisha facing a firing squad. Then, it’s Nick and Luciana in danger from one group of walkers while Travis is in danger from another, and Alisha and Madison are facing the living dangers.

Then, it’s Alisha who sees Nick and Luciana almost die, only for all of them to end up back in the hands of the military.

For all that tension and worrying, the group gets split up once again when deciding to work with the same men who held them captive. Travis, Alisha, and Luciana end up in a helicopter while Madison and Nick end up in a truck that’s part of the caravan. If only walkers hadn’t chosen the moment they were loading up to attack, they wouldn’t have had to split up yet again. Of course, the ranch where they all end up doesn’t seem like the best place for them, even if Madison wants to pull a Rick Grimes and take it over.

R.I.P. Travis

That helicopter trip isn’t all it’s cracked up to be as the group gets shot out of the sky, and Travis takes a bullet to the neck.

As Alisha tries to help him, he reveals a bite on his abdomen that would have claimed him anyway. Travis, to save the others, lets himself fall out of the helicopter.

Now, this moment was a bit of a surprise considering we’d already seen him survive so much in the first hour, including a pit of walkers that he took out on his own, but it wasn’t wholly unexpected since Cliff Curtis is going to be a major player in the upcoming “Avatar” films. Just like losing his son to “Agents of SHIELD” last season, it was a matter of time.

Strand plays doctor

In the season two finale, Strand chose to stay at the hotel while Madison, Alisha, and Travis left. He doesn’t exactly have a great position with his new roommates since he joined them with the Clarks, who killed several of their relatives.

In order to maintain a position of power, Strand decides to tell those trying to gain entrance to the hotel that he’s a doctor, giving him more status, though it backfires when a pregnant woman goes into labor as the others know he isn’t actually a doctor. They decide to send him on his way.

Strand gets himself a new set of wheels, courtesy of Brenda Strong’s character, who had previously locked herself in her hotel room. Where is he headed? We don’t know, though he sure seems to.

The verdict and what’s next

The first hour was definitely more interesting and more nerve-wracking than the second, but that tends to be a pattern for “Fear The Walking Dead.” The series uses its adrenaline up in one episode, only to slow dramatically in the next. Overall, though, it was a solid premiere that gets you interested in what season three has to offer.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

In next week’s “Teotwawki,” Nick and Alisha both meet some new people who might not have their best interests at heart, while Madison gets to know Otto.

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