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Fear the Walking Dead finale messed up by killing off the wrong character

While Fear the Walking Dead certainly faltered at times during its short six-episode run, the finale was arguably the companion series’ redeeming moment. But, for me, it wasn’t a home run, and here’s why.

Travis survived.

OK, before you judge me for that statement, let me preface my argument with this: I like Cliff Curtis. He’s an incredible actor, and I think his character was commendable in many ways during this inaugural season. After all, he was just about the only true moral compass the series had for the duration.

FTWD Travis
Image: AMC

But here’s the rub. In order for Travis to survive, someone else had to die. It just works that way, right? They needed a central character to die to further the plot. The other character, in this case, was Liza — played by Elizabeth Rodriguez — and it was a tough loss. If you recall, a few weeks ago I predicted (read: hoped) she would be one of the final remaining central characters. Coming into tonight’s finale, that hadn’t changed.

There were certainly hints leading up to this evening that suggested Travis would be the one to go. Early in the series, Daniel Salazar says, “The good ones are always the first to die,” directly in reference to Travis. And, considering the final episode was dubbed “The Good Man,” well, you can see how one might get that idea. Not to mention the fact he hasn’t exactly been a fan favorite…

Still, I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been a bit partial to Liza from the onset, thanks to my obsession with Orange is the New Black, Rodriguez’s other big gig. But, largely, she won me over on Fear the Walking Dead because, c’mon, she was a total badass. Where other characters operated in the extremes of black and white, she lived in that seemingly impossible gray area by which she was inherently good yet also starkly practical when necessary.

She routinely put the well-being of others before herself. Despite her dislike of the new lady in Travis’s life, she came to Madison’s rescue on more than one occasion. She was shrewd. As a nurse, she had medical savvy. There were so many reasons to keep her around.

Image: AMC

Besides, what does a sistah have to do to get a matriarchal society in the zombie apocalypse? Why does the central character always wind up being man, even when that character has proved to be less capable and have less depth than the female character who could easily have fulfilled that role?

Obviously, I love Rick in The Walking Dead. But I contend there could be no Rick without Michonne or Carole. So, it would have been nice in the companion series if the central characters wound up being Liza and Madison, and if Travis did survive, he’d be in a supporting role.

What’s more, doesn’t it diminish the role of Liza’s character a bit that her death was basically written as the catalyst to Travis’ transformation? As she points out to Madison, killing Liza will “break” Travis. And we all know the things broken men are capable of (cough, cough, Rick).

So, yeah, I’m a little miffed by this development. The slow burn of the series was cumbersome, and it seems cheap that the most climactic scene came by way of killing off one of the strongest — if not the strongest — core female character.

I’m not the only one who is less then psyched to see Liza go. Fans took to the Twitterverse to express shock, sadness and, yep, even some indignation.

Alas, such is life, no? I suppose we’ll have to wait and see how things shake out next season. As for Liza, well, we’ll catch you on the flip side at Litchfield, girl.

Image: AMC

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