"Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame" is the fifth episode of the third season of AMC's Fear The Walking Dead. It is the twenty-sixth episode of the series overall. It premiered on June 25, 2017. It was written by Suzanne Heathcote and directed by Daniel Stamm.
Russell, an elderly resident of Broke Jaw Ranch, wakes up to find his wife, Martha, out of bed. He cautiously approaches and finds that she turned.
Martha took her false teeth out before bed, so Russell takes her hands and has a last dance with his wife. Then, he raises a gun to her temple and shoots them both through the head. A lantern topples over as their bodies hit the floor. The house is set ablaze.
Nick joins the ranchers as they fight to put out the fire. Jeremiah orders everyone to stop so they can save the water since Russell and Martha are already gone.
Nick and Alicia try to dissuade Madison from joining Troy on his mission to find the missing team that went to investigate the downed chopper. Madison ignores their advice and leaves with Troy.
Jake and Alicia flirt at breakfast. Gretchen tells Alicia that Russell was one of the ranch’s founding members, along with her father, Jeremiah, and Phil.
Nick brings breakfast to Luciana in their bunkhouse. She insists they leave the ranch and find her people. Nick hesitates, but relents and promises to leave with her once she's healthy enough to travel.
Daniel and Strand sit in Strand’s car as a herd crosses the road ahead. Strand warns Daniel to prepare himself in case Ofelia is no longer at the hotel when they arrive. Daniel’s suspicion of Strand grows, as he orders him to drive through the herd.
Alicia visits Jake at his house. They kiss. A bond begins to form between them.
Troy spots a herd on the side of the road and orders his team to kill the Infected. One of the militiamen argues that they should stick to their mission, but Madison agrees with Troy that the militia should take them out in case the horde makes it to the ranch.
Troy’s team eliminates the Infected, giving Madison a chance to prove her fighting skills to Troy’s men.
Nick visits the ruins of Russell’s home and finds a photo of Russell and Martha.
Alicia gets dressed after making love with Jake. They discuss books, and Jake offers to loan her his favorite, a Charles Bukowski novel. She explains that she used to enjoy poetry and art, but no longer sees the point of these things in this post-apocalyptic world.
Nick starts to rebuild Russell’s house. Jeremiah watches his efforts, then decides to pitch in. Among the ruins, Jeremiah comes upon Russell's gun. Jeremiah marvels at the gun and calls it a beautiful tool, but Nick is leery of the gun and all it represents.
Troy’s team arrives at the helicopter crash site only to discover that whoever shot it down dragged it away. They find shells from a gun owned by Phil and deduce that Phil engaged the assailants before retreating to his outpost.
Troy’s team drives to the outpost. On the way, Troy and Madison talk about those they lost. Madison confides that seeing the place where Travis died shook her. She wonders if Troy grieved for his mother after she died. Troy declares that dead people are dead.
At a pit stop on the way to the Rosarito Beach Hotel, Daniel asks Strand why he left the hotel. Strand explains that he wanted to broker a deal with Dante for water. Daniel doubts Strand’s story, causing Strand to lash out.
While working on Russell’s house, Jeremiah confides that Troy would have uncontrollable crying fits as a child. In the midst of one of these fits, Jeremiah's wife locked Troy in the basement. Jeremiah and his wife were drunk, and forgot about Troy until the next morning. When he finally let Troy out, Troy wasn't mad, he just apologized to his father.
Nick mentions that Luciana wants him to leave the ranch with her, but Madison wants him to stay. Jeremiah asks Nick what he wants for himself.
Troy’s group arrives at the outpost to find a pile of charred bodies. They discover Phil, partially scalped and babbling nonsensically as a crow pecks at his exposed brain. Horrified, Madison stabs Phil in the head, and insists they leave. Before the militiamen can move, a Native American man named Walker confronts them with his soldiers.
Walker declares that they attacked the outpost to take back the land that rightfully belongs to his people. Walker orders Troy’s soldiers to put down their weapons and remove their boots. Troy’s group complies after realizing they are surrounded by snipers. Walker warns them that if they don’t abandon Broke Jaw Ranch they will all die.
Jake takes Alicia to a lake and encourages her to find hope in poetry and art. He insists that there is still beauty in this world.
Daniel and Strand arrive at the hotel only to find the entrance abandoned. Strand assumes that the hotel must have been taken by the Dead. He warns Daniel not to go inside, but he insists they look for Ofelia.
Daniel and Strand enter the hotel and find blood all over the ground. Daniel rings a bell, bringing the Dead upon them. With the dead closing in, Daniel pressures Strand to tell the truth about where Ofelia is. Strand finally admits that she left the hotel while he was still there. The Infected attack Strand. Daniel drives off in the car, abandoning Strand.
Nick takes Luciana on a candlelit picnic inside the ruins of Russel’s burnt house. He talks excitedly about rebuilding the house and how beautiful it could be, but Luciana does not buy into Nick’s fantasy.
Troy’s group makes their way back toward the ranch without their shoes and weapons. Madison insists they take a break, but Troy orders his men to keep walking. When Madison challenges him, Troy pulls her aside and says she’s not his mother. Madison speculates that Troy’s mother must have hated him. As Troy reels from her words, Madison asks the team if they want to rest. Everyone raises their hands. Troy begrudgingly allows his militia to rest until dawn.
Madison wakes up in the middle of the night to find Troy holding a knife to her neck. She urges him to be a better man. He relents and withdraws the knife.
Nick wakes up to find Luciana gone.
The militia trudges down the road with bloody feet toward the ranch.
Luciana makes her way to the border.
Alicia jumps into a lake, allowing herself to feel a rush that doesn’t come from killing.
Jeremiah joins Nick at Russell’s house and gives him the revolver. He says that if Nick finishes rebuilding the house he can live there.
- Justin Deeley as Mike Trimbol
- Worth Howe as Russell Brown
- Ila Marie Alvarez Kamena as Erin Twomey
- Matt Lasky as Cooper
- Rocky McMurray as Phil McCarthy
- Jenny Schmidt as Mrs. Twomey
- Nathan Sutton as Jimmie
- Heather Wynters as Martha Brown
- Martha Brown (Alive, Confirmed Fate; Zombified)
- Russell Brown
- Johnson (Alive, Confirmed Fate; Zombified)
- Phil McCarthy
- At least 7 unnamed Broke Jaw Ranch militiamen (Confirmed Fate)
- First appearance of Qaletaqa Walker.
- First appearance of Lee.
- First appearance of Mrs. Twomey.
- First appearance of Erin Twomey.
- First appearance of Paul.
- First (and last) appearance of Phil McCarthy. (Alive)
- First (and last) appearance of Johnson. (Zombified)
- Last appearance of the Rosarito Beach Hotel.
- Last appearance of Russell Brown.
- Last appearance of Martha Brown. (Zombified)
- This episode marks Kim Dickens' 25th appearance on Fear The Walking Dead.
- The poem that Phil McCarthy is reciting is called Antigonish.
- When Strand drives his Jaguar through the herd of walkers, he hits one with the right front side, later however it's the left headlight that was badly damaged.