Fear the Walking Dead made a bold decision this year in terms of changing up the way it tells a story. By using a narrative that gives us information out of order, the viewer sees things unfold in a different way. For the most part, I believe this has made a positive impact on the show. When done properly, it makes you think, like figuring out a visual jigsaw puzzle, and at the same time gave us some truly remarkable episodes in the first half of this season.
Some things didn’t always work, like the Vultures, although as we find out in this episode, they were never really the true focus of the season as it stands so far. It did make for some lazy episodes, erratic writing that led to some ugly dialogue. However, thanks to the infusion of new blood things rolled along pretty smoothly, all things considered.
Take this week’s episode for example. In “No One’s Gone”, we finally learn the fate of Madison and as I and many others have already guessed, she is indeed dead. Losing her and Nick in half a season is something I would have never predicted. What’s more, with the way they executed said deaths, with the new time-jumping narrative, it allowed them the luxury to build an interesting story around them while other storylines played out.
Having Madison run into Althea at one point was a brilliant idea. This gave us yet more insight into who Althea was and how Madison came to be inspired to build some sort of community. She always wanted something more for her kids, something she could leave them, and when she found the stadium she believed her search was over. Her journey was indeed over, just not in the way she had envisioned.
We watch Madison lead the zombie horde, dumped at the stadium’s doorstep by the Vultures, inside which allows Nick, Alicia, Strand and Luciana to escape. Sadly, the rest of the stadium’s residences aren’t so lucky as they bolted too early, giving up on the group and were swarmed by the horde. Madison dies inside, with the zombies burning all around her, people dying outside the walls but her family and friends safe. You never see Madison actually die so they leave the door slightly ajar on her fate but it seems pretty cut and dried to me that she’s gone and not coming back.
So where does the show go from here? Well, Morgan managed to stop Alicia from killing Naomi/June with some more wonderful wisdom and really, he’s managed to help many since joining the show. This is now a collection of people who are burnt out, broken, emotionally spent but somehow still alive. Now that the family dynamic that was trying to survive the zombie apocalypse is gone and the show must focus on this new group and what they hope to accomplish going forward.
I for one am excited by this idea. John Dorie, the good gunslinger, Morgan the man of much wisdom, Althea the eyes and ears and June, the woman who runs, they all bring something unique and different to the show that was never there before. Now that the dynamic has shifted, it will be up to them going forward to keep things interesting. I look forward to seeing if they can do just that.
Four stars out of five
- We finally find out the fate of Madison...maybe
- New narrative pays dividends in this episode
- John Dorie, flat on his back and dying, is still a great character
- New dynamic now created with family storyline now destroyed. Will it work?