Stream and Scream

‘Fear The Walking Dead’ Showrunner Break Down [SPOILER]’s Surprising Return — And Death

Where to Stream:

Fear the Walking Dead

Powered by Reelgood

Bet you didn’t think you’d see her again on Fear the Walking Dead. Spoilers past this point for “Iron Tiger,” this week’s episode of the series, but Charlie (Alexa Nisenson) makes a surprising return from the dead… And then dies. Oops.

“Having Madison back and knowing that Madison was going to be dealing with the idea of family in this last round of episodes,” Fear the Walking Dead co-showrunner Andrew Chambliss told Decider, “and finally be in a place where she can kind of start to actually grieve the children that she has lost, while at the same time trying to build something that kind of honors them that can be a memory of what she wanted for them… It felt like the ultimate test of whether or not she could do that, whether or not she really has changed, would be to put her face to face with someone who is intrinsically tied to the loss of one of her children. And, you know, Charlie seemed like such an obvious example.”

There’s a lot of continuity to parse here, but we’ll give you the short version. In Season 4, Madison had created a successful society in an abandoned stadium, only for it all to come crashing down thanks to a group called The Vultures. A key member of that group — though a conflicted one — was Charlie. Not only did Charlie aid in the destruction of the Stadium, but more importantly she fatally wounded Madison’s son, Nick (Frank Dillane). Oh, and as far as we knew, Madison died saving everyone from a zombie herd invading the Stadium.

Since then, Charlie has become a trusted member of our main group, only for it to look like she had died of some serious radiation poisoning last season. Guess what? She didn’t. And this week, she turned up as a trucker working to ferry goods to Luciana (Danay Garcia)… Only to bump into Madison, who is also not dead. And then they end up getting captured by Troy (Daniel Sharman), another character who was presumed dead but is not. I know the whole franchise is about the dead returning to life, but this is ridiculous (*shuffles tie and bugs out eyes like a post-apocalyptic Rodney Dangerfield*).

Anyway, in order to buy Madison and company a little time, and redeem herself for killing Nick, Charlie shoots herself and dies, for real this time. So why bring her back just to kill her off again?

“We wanted to put a more definitive period at the end of Charlie’s story,” Chambliss continued. “It’s Charlie being confronted with the past… She had made peace with Alicia because of what she did to Nick, but she hasn’t made peace with Madison. And Madison is the one who brought her into the Stadium, who introduced her to this family. So for Charlie, it feels like she has a lot of ground to make up for [with] Madison, and ultimately, she didn’t want to be the reason that Madison would lose that thing she was fighting for.”

Those things, specifically, are Nick’s ashes, and Alicia’s bone arm, which Troy has taken, claiming to have killed Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) in the process. “It really felt to us like Charlie would take this tragic, yet heroic course of action to ensure that Alicia and Nick’s memory could live on,” Chambliss concluded.

This brings up an important question, though. The first episode back for Fear in these final episodes focused on Madison’s relationship with Alicia; the second with Nick. There’s another member of the Clark-Manawa family who was crucial to the early seasons of the series: Travis (Cliff Curtis). Given the non-stop resurrections happening, is it possible we might get some nod to Travis, who otherwise died falling out of a helicopter into a swarm of the undead?

“Well, I guess the best way to answer that is that as we’ve been saying, all of our characters’ pasts inform their stories in the back half of this season,” co-showrunner Ian Goldberg said cagily. “So in some way or other the major elements that have driven these characters will be acknowledged… In some way or another.”

Don’t get too hyped, though, Travis Nation. When we joked we would run this article with the headline “Fear the Walking Dead Showrunners Confirm Cliff Curtis Returning,” they both laughed. “Thanks a lot,” Goldberg said sarcastically.

Maybe we’ll just have to make do with Charlie, Madison, Troy, and several other fan-favorites returning, instead. Maybe even Alicia.

Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC and AMC+.