Alas, I’m a little torn about this week’s episode of Fear the Walking Dead. Last week I went out on a limb to make the bold assertion that the show had finally taken a turn for the better, but I’m not convinced it lived up to that proclamation.
This is especially for the episode’s end, when Fear seemed to rely on a cheap ploy to try to trick viewers into believing Madison was a walker. My disappointment? TBH, that she wasn’t.
I like Kim Dickens; I do. I think she’s a terrific actor. There are a few reasons I wouldn’t mind seeing her walkerized, though. For starters, I don’t think her character on this series has ever been compelling. Let’s be real: Even though she is the matriarch of the Clark-Manawa clan, I often can’t even recall her character’s name or whether or not she lived through the previous week’s episode.
So, there you have it: One reason.
Another reason is that I think if Fear has any hope of pulling out of the ratings nosedive it has been experiencing, it needs to shake things up in a dramatic way. Who would really expect the most primary character of the show — the mother figure — being killed off in Season 2?
You may argue that Madison’s death would mimic that of Lori, another mother figure in the zombocalypse, who died in Season 3 of The Walking Dead. To which I would say, OK, sure… you’ve got a point. That could be a good thing, though! This spinoff desperately needs some of the magic of its predecessor.
Plus, Madison and Lori are entirely different kinds of characters. Whereas Lori’s death clearly weakened the group in the immediate aftermath, Madison’s death would arguably strengthen her group. They might come together. Travis might step up for the sake of the family.
An actual gosh-damn leader might emerge. I don’t think that’s too much to hope for.
So toward the end of this week’s episode, when Alicia walks into the bar area that her mother had formerly been holed up in and finds a blonde walker wearing an outfit essentially identical to Madison’s, I thought, “Hell yeah!” I couldn’t help myself.
When the walker turned around and Alicia immediately stabbed it through the skull, I was even more stoked. Could that have been Madison? I mean, turning into a denizen of the undead isn’t exactly easy on a body — the face wasn’t identical, but it was close enough.
Of course, moments later Alicia was reunited with Madison, laying that fleeting hope to rest. But imagine the badass implications it would have had for Alicia if she had reacted to her walkerized mother in such a way. It would have shown she is a force to be reckoned with… that she is adapting to this new world she finds herself in, and that she knows what it takes to survive.
That’s about as close to an exciting arc that Alicia’s gotten thus far in the series. Am I right? Would it be so wrong to wish he had stabbed the zombie version of her own mother right in the gourd? It’s morbid, I know — but it’s the zombocalypse, people. It ain’t pretty.