A shocking death strikes Fear the Walking Dead, but viewers would be wise to prepare for someone else to have died long before this season even started.
Spoilers for Fear the Walking Dead ahead.
In “Better Out Here,” Fear the Walking Dead unexpectedly takes out Nick (Frank Dillane), the longtime veteran of the AMC spin-off series who has been avoiding walkers since the journey began in L.A.
Nick kills a Vulture, a member of that strange new wannabe Saviors gang who raised Charlie, leading Charlie to seek revenge and fatally shoot Nick when his guard was down. Lest you think this is another fake-out and he’d be saved before the credits roll, the rest of the Diamond group, including his sister Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) essentially confirm his demise. Folks, Nick is gone.
But while Nick dies before our eyes, did Fear the Walking Dead also kill Madison (Kim Dickens)? The Fear matriarch has only appeared in flashbacks thus far, and throughout “Better Out Here,” she has a vaguely ethereal presence, talking about collecting reminders that people were good once. Her exchanges with Nick run contrast to Morgan’s (Lennie James), who talks to Nick about losing other people before losing himself. (Once again, Morgan is maddeningly vague, so there’s no talk of the Saviors or Rick or anyone.)
“Better Out Here” also plays with color in a way that will excite film students. Flashbacks to Nick’s scavenging with Madison, which are shown in warm colors, culminates with Nick and Madison in a field of bluebonnets. Nick lies prone among the bonnets, a funereal image if I’ve ever seen one. In contrast, the “current” scenes set with Morgan and the armored truck are basically in black and white, with only specific colors bleeding through — mainly, blue. At one point, the Vulture Nick later kills drives by in a blue El Camino, kicking off Nick’s pursuit that we’ll know he’ll never come back from.
That a blue El Camino led Nick to his death makes me think that a field of bluebonnets is an omen Madison, who wears a blue denim jacket, is also dead and has been dead for some time. One has to wonder what made Nick so mad at the Vulture’s sight enough that he wanted to kill him. One has to wonder why our heroes were so disturbed, paranoid, and shook when they first met Morgan a few weeks ago, a contrast to their easygoing demeanor when they woke up in the Diamond. Maybe the Vultures are more dangerous than we thought after all.
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern on AMC.