Fear the Walking Dead’s third episode, “The Dog,” had significantly more bite than the first two expositional episodes.  Mr. Dawson, seen in Episode 2 loading his truck to skip town didn’t make it very far. Luckily the Dawson family dog prompted Madison, Nick, and Carla Clark to run before Mr. Dawson got to them.

Their safe escape was the perfect cue for Travis and his family along with barber shop owner, Daniel Salazar, to get back to Clark homestead. Tension mounts as Madison and her kids run to warn Travis about their undead intruder.

Travis finds Mr. Dawson eating the sweet German Shepherd– a sight no viewer will soon forget. Lucky for Travis Salazar does not hesitate to spring into action.

In one of the more grotesque scenes of tonight’s episode of Fear the Walking Dead, Salazar fires a shotgun at Dawson’s face. The shot misses the brain– without missing a beat, Salazar steps in and blows apart Dawson’s head. Gore galore at last!

Meanwhile, Carla is momentarily separated from the rest of the family and Madison can no longer protect her from the ugly, zombie apocalypse truth. Susan, one of the Clark’s neighbors, attacks Carla and she has a melt down when she realizes her boyfriend, Matt, shares Susan’s macabre fate.

The effects of the virus on both Dawson and Susan are visibly disfiguring and disturbing. Fresh zombies are still terrifying with Nicotero in the special effects department. The episode’s horror doesn’t stop with its impressive visuals.

Once there is a moment of peace, Madison, with one zombie kill under her belt, gives Travis’s ex-wife, Liz,ominous instructions. While musing on her relationship with Susan, Madison tells Liz that if she ever becomes like Susan, Liz must kill her. Madison tells Liz not to let Travis do it– he wouldn’t survive it.

Travis was, after all,  upset with Salazar after Salazar killed zombie-Dawson and Travis also took issue with Salazar for teaching his son, Christopher, how to use a gun.

Later when Madison was face-to- face with Susan, sledgehammer in hand, Travis tried to talk her out of putting poor Susan out of her undead misery. She relinquishes. Were her actions a test? Did she want to test her theory about Travis not being strong enough to kill her if she became like Susan?

Salazar, watching the scene from the window says that Travis is weak. Is he weak? The people in the Fear the Walking Dead world have no information– they are functioning on speculation. Is it wrong not to kill a potentially lethal creature if it does not present an immediate threat?

Once Travis, Madison, Liz and the kids hit the road in two vehicles to find safer pastures, Madison sees Patrick, Susan’s husband, get home. Her humanity compels her to break up the caravan, speed towards Patrick, and warn him. Madison and the others arrive just in time to see Susan attack Patrick…this is where the plot thickens. Enter the military.

The military kills Susan and takes Patrick because he was covered in “the infected’s blood.” When Madison clarifies that he was covered in his WIFE’S blood, a soldier responds, “That wasn’t his wife anymore.” Zombie apocalypse confirmed, Madison.

As soon as Salazar sees the military intervention, he laments, “It’s already too late.” How right you are Salazar. What in his background makes him such a quick study in societal collapse? How is it that Salazar knows that it’s too late when Travis takes misguided comfort in the military presence?

Salazar is a refugee from El Salvador who knows his way around a gun and is clearly willing to do whatever it takes to survive (just ask the late zombie-Dawson).

It is likely that such a survival instinct helped Salazar survived the El Salvadoran civil war- a conflict that may logically leave him with an innate distrust of military.  Is Salazar right to separate his family from Madison and Travis’s families… is Travis’s optimism a detriment? Does Salazar’s reaction to Travis indicate the role he played in the El Salvadoran civil war?

Episode four of Fear the Walking Dead airs next Sunday at 9 PM on AMC. What did you think of tonight’s episode? How well will Nick, a waifish, pallid addict skulking around for drugs, fair with this new found military presence? You can leave your insights and predictions in the comment section.