Spoilers below for the latest episode of Fear the Walking Dead, so be sure to watch before reading on.
In its first three episodes, Fear the Walking Dead had a completely different game plan than it did in years past, with new characters facing new situations, but harboring the same potential for emotionally debilitating disasters like Nick's recent death. "Buried" finally gave viewers more insight into what actually happened with the O.G. crew before they crossed paths with Morgan & Co., which led to some big reveals about many major characters. As one might have imagined, there was heartbreak involved. Let's go down the list and break down all the big catalysts that brought these characters to the present. (The ones who made it, anyway.)
Jenna Elfman's Fear the Walking Dead debut offered little about her backstory, and basically showed off how well she could fight zombies while covered in muck. But "Buried" opened things up and, assuming she was telling Alicia the truth, we learned Naomi was an ICU nurse before society collapsed. So it was good that she ended up finding all those medical supplies at that horrifying water park.
We also learned that even though Naomi initially wanted to leave everyone behind -- and possibly only didn't because the vehicle she found was out of gas -- she inevitably decided to stick around and put together a slapdash ICU unit within the Diamond. Unfortunately, Alicia revealed late in the episode that Naomi died trying to protect the Diamond, and that the Vultures are to blame. But it turns out she didn't always go by Naomi...
John's Tragic Reveal
As John was driving the mish-mashed group to Alicia & Co.'s destination (which ended up being a buried cache of weapons and other supplies), Al was recording the others sharing their indirect stories about what happened to the diamond. In the final minutes, as the group's next steps were being decided, John recognized a bag among the rest, and believed it to belong to his long lost Laura. Through a quick flashback, we saw the bag belonged to Naomi, who was in possession of the pistol twin that John had brought up in a previous episode. So yes, Laura and Naomi are/were the same person.
It was then that the character's death was revealed, which was a major blow to John's senses, and it could possibly destroy his good-natured attitude for good. Morgan stayed behind with John while Al drove the others on their continuing quest, so there's a chance we might hear Morgan discussing his own lost loves in the next episode.
The Big Bad's Backstory
The main thing that Fear the Walking Dead fans understand about the villainous Vultures is that they are well choreographed when driving their big rigs and rounding up walkers, and they have no lack of confidence in doing so. During a particularly tense conversation between Madison and leading Vulture Mel, he offered a (potentially untrue) explanation for where he and his brother Ennis came from.
They were living on their family's land and doing well enough when wildfires broke out in the area. Mel said he and Ennis convinced everyone to stay, believing they could beat the fires. In the end, though, the two brothers were the only survivors, with the screams of burning residents ringing in their ears. I wouldn't be surprised if this tragedy is what inspired the Mel and the Vultures' dastardly plan to set others up to die without directly killing anyone themselves.
Nick And Lucy's Big Mistake
Instead of seeking out supplies like the others, Nick took Lucy to a library, with the goal of finding books to keep people interested in life outside of pure survival. And yes, he was also very concerned about his future-killer Charlie in all this, which the show will need to justify ten-fold before much longer. Lucy, who is certain their actions that day specifically led to Nick's death, initially tried talking Nick into leaving the Diamond behind, with a book of maps as her impetus.
One ominous pick-of-the-page later, the decision was then made to travel out to not vacate the Diamond, but to go out to some still-secret location in order to get the amount of seeds and fertilizer needed to turn the Diamond's baseball field into the fertile, food-producing ground that could keep the population fed. Unfortunately, we're not sure if something awful happened on that trip, or if the Diamond's botanical success is what draws Mel's hand to take it all down.
Strand Will Never Change
Ever the smooth-talking advantage-seeker, Strand and Cole's supply run was marked by Strand's bizarre confession that he's kept a horde of supplies in a nondescript and hidden vehicle. As Strand put it, he survives by looking out for himself, and surviving his his top goal, so he'll do whatever. Later, despite making it clear to Cole that his entire stockpile would only last a day within the Diamond, Strand had a change of heart and did the morally just duty of bringing all his goods back to the big group.
As he put it to Al, coming clean about his questionable actions played a sizable role in whatever drove them away from the Diamond. He said he should have just kept the car a secret, so does that mean Cole will soon rat him out and cause turmoil? Or will Mel's group get greedy after catching wind of the condiments within Strand's supplies?
What Happens Next
By the end of the episode, audiences still aren't fully aware of what actually happened to the Diamond, nor what happened after the dam blew up. (I want to think that Strand's contemplation rock was a reminder of that destructive outcome.) But what we do know is that Alicia, Strand, Lucy and Al are going to track the Vultures down to one of their current outposts, and that things could get very bloody whenever they reach that destination. Hopefully someone survives long enough to go back to get Morgan and John.
Alicia was certain that her own biggest downfall was not convincing Madison that they all needed to find a new home, which adds some fuel to the theoretical fire concerning Madison possibly still being alive as a hostage of Mel and the Vultures. One can't imagine that Ennis' death will be serenely accepted, though, so here's hoping she'll still breathing out there somewhere, and that her daughter will make it in time to keep her alive for more seasons to come.