“We are constantly striving to change what Fear is and reinvent it,” co-showrunner said at Comic-Con last month. “So just as soon as everyone thinks they’ve figured out what we’re doing, we change things up and that’s gonna continue through season five. There’ll be a big change at the end of season five.” (Emphasis mine)
Viewers of Fear the Walking Dead aren’t quite sure what to expect by the “big change” at the end of season five, but in the last couple of episodes in season 5A and in the midseason premiere this week, the writers appear to possibly be setting up one of two things: Either Alicia dies (likely) or her mother, Madison, returns (less likely).
In the opening half of the season, we see Alicia exposed to the blood of a contaminated zombie, which can be lethal. We see that in Grace, who is already beginning to succumb to the radiation in the beginning of season 5b. She probably will not survive until season 6. That may also be true of Alicia who, in the midseason premiere, seems to be separating herself from the rest of the group to some extent. She cannot bring herself to kill more zombies. Meanwhile, she’s decided against continuing to train with Morgan and decided, instead, to search for whomever it is that is leaving uplifting messages carved into trees.
Those messages — lightness in the midst of darkness — actually make Alicia think of her mother. There’s a theory that began floating around after the midseason finale that those messages are actually being left by Madison, therefore, the search for those messages may lead her back to her mother, who is believed to be dead. However, we never actually saw Madison die, and as we have seen twice already with Daniel, unless we see a dead body, we can’t know for sure that they are dead.
If Madison is alive, obviously she’s going to have a lot of explaining to do, explaining which might strain the credibility of a series already set in a zombie apocalypse. Moreover, no one is sure that Kim Dickens — who plays Madison — would even be willing to return the series. She felt burnt my her exit back in season 4.
Personally, I’m more inclined to believe that Alicia’s search for the person writing the messages on trees will lead her to a love interest, designed ultimately to make her death from radiation poisoning at the end of the season more heartbreaking in a sort of The Fault of Our Stars kind of way. That seems like the sort of thing that current showrunners might do on Fear the Walking Dead. We also learned last week Holly Curran (Mrs. Maisel) has been added to the cast of the fifth season of Fear the Walking Dead, and she could play that potential love interest or come in as a sort of substitute for Alicia if Alycia Debnam-Carey is written out of the series at the end of season five.
We’ll know more in the coming weeks. Fear the Walking Dead airs on AMC on Sunday nights.