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After an overzealous pressure cooker’s worth of building anticipation — like, six long months of it, & far longer if you count all the years fans fervently speculated she wasn’t dead — Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) made her triumphant return khổng lồ Fear The Walking Dead. & dang, whatever your thoughts on Season 7 as a whole, it’s good lớn see her again.

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The story here isn’t just “look, Madison!”, it’s also “how, Madison?” Maddie’s part of Fear’s next group of baddies, though she’s not so villainous herself (if anything, she’s wracked with guilt over the things she’s done). As part of PADRE, Madison’s been taking children from their parents và loading them onto boats, where they’re brought khổng lồ a mysterious base. What PADRE’s actually doing with the kids is unclear, but it seems likely to be similar to lớn what CRM did with Hope (Alexa Mansour) in World Beyond in training the kids lớn be “the future.” For that matter, PADRE could be affiliated with CRM. These shows are going lớn start crossing over at some point, right?


Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC


The whole “stealing kids” thing puts her on a collision course with Morgan (Lennie James), as she takes baby Mo after Morgan has an unfortunate run-in with some people who think he’s part of PADRE. Madison does manage to lớn get baby Mo onto a boat, và by the time Morgan’s able lớn track Madison down, Mo’s gone. A panicked & angry Morgan demands Madison get her back, but that won’t be possible without a kid khổng lồ trade. Morgan also realizes, based on tattoos on Madison’s wrists, that she’s Nick (Frank Dillane) và Alicia’s (Alycia Debnam-Carey) mom. They make a deal: If Madison can get Mo back, he’ll tell her what happened khổng lồ her kids.

James & Dickens have great chemistry, & they make the Morgan-Madison partnership fun even when they’re about to vị something horrible. Early in the episode, Morgan met a pregnant woman who refused his help. Madison thinks PADRE would be interested in an expecting mother — even though they’d separate the child from its mom after birth — so Morgan decides khổng lồ trade her lớn get Mo back. They return khổng lồ the house where Morgan found her only khổng lồ get attacked by the parents who attacked him earlier, và they all have lớn flee lớn the house’s mausoleum.

There, the truth flies free like the bird Alicia let out of the tower. Truth #1: The woman, Ava, isn’t really pregnant. She was only pretending khổng lồ be so that she could get khổng lồ PADRE and try to không tính tiền her daughter, who Madison took months ago.


Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC


At this point, it’s worth mentioning that Madison’s relationship to lớn her kids has changed significantly from the Erickson seasons and Chambliss and Goldberg’s Season 4. Where Season 2 Madison once put a khách sạn full of people in danger for a chance at finding her son, Season 7 Madison told Morgan she had no interest in finding her kids. Your mileage on the explanation may vary. Madison’s fearful that PADRE would recruit them just as they recruited her, và PADRE would force them khổng lồ turn over children the way she once volunteered khổng lồ for information on Nick and Alicia’s whereabouts. Now, having become who she’s become, she doesn’t want them khổng lồ find her.

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With nothing left khổng lồ trade, Morgan reveals Truth #2 to lớn Madison as they’re all trapped in the mausoleum: Nick’s dead, & Alicia’s maybe, probably, dead too. Madison points out that Morgan doesn’t know for sure, lending credence khổng lồ the theory that there’ll be a Clark reunion someday. But for now, Madison’s kids are gone, and while she didn’t want them lớn find her, that still breaks her heart.

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After Ava opens the door & lets the murderous parents in, they decide to go lớn the docks to lớn find PADRE. As they bury Madison in the sand like they did lớn Morgan at the episode start, Morgan warns Ava not khổng lồ go. She doesn’t listen, and that’s why she ends up as a walker at the end of the episode along with the rest of her group. That’s a bummer because she was actually a kind of cool character.

Once she’s không tính tiền from the sand, Madison tells Morgan the only way he’s getting khổng lồ PADRE is if he brings them another child. Morgan begs lớn differ. He and Madison go back to the docks, và Morgan tells them about his people in the rafts on the river. “I can tell you more,” he says, “But you have to take me with you.” He & Madison speed off toward PADRE in a raft, & he asks her where it is. “I’ve been meaning lớn tell you, Morgan,” Madison says, “I don’t know.” Then they’re both blindfolded và taken toward a larger ship, and that’s where things stand heading into Season 8.


Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC


Other Observations

It’s great to lớn have Madison back, và it’s even better that she’s some shade of morally gray. Madison was always most interesting — in this recapper’s opinion — when she was making unpleasant, ill-advised, or straight-up bad choices khổng lồ serve her family’s or her own interests. She was never particularly concerned with right & wrong. Having her agree to lớn turn over children in order khổng lồ find her own feels in character as well as suitably ironic, since one of her major character cornerstones is being a mother. However reluctantly, I do also buy Madison not wanting to lớn find Alicia. She wants khổng lồ leave her now-adult daughter with the shining image of who she once was, rather than who she became. & like, Alicia wasn’t okay with Madison lying to the Broke Jaw Ranch about Troy killing the Trimbols. Child theft is on a whole new planet of worse. Are we ever going to lớn see Madison get out of the Dell Diamond, or was that bình luận about her being “full of surprises” the most we’re getting? I was hyped for an extended slow-mo flashback sequence of her surviving the fire, but… yeah, probably not. Any chance we can get Garret Dillahunt back as a totally new character, a la Deadwood? It was cool to lớn see Kim Dickens & Lennie James sharing scenes in this episode (I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the Madison-Morgan partnership), but dang, it would’ve been awesome for Dillahunt and Dickens to lớn reunite. Madison’s partially-buried-alive walker kills at the over of this episode were awesome and just might land in my vị trí cao nhất 10 favorite walker kills of the franchise. Also: Shout-out lớn Madison’s leather jacket, which has survived a dam explosion, an on-fire baseball stadium và whatever the heck happened at PADRE. (If you look closely, it’s the exact same one.) Other than Daryl’s vest or Rick’s hat, has there been a single article of clothing on these shows that’s endured more? Rating: 4/5. Between the PADRE mystery and Madison’s appearance with all the lingering questions therein (how will she react to Strand, upon learning what he put Alicia through? to Charlie, upon learning she killed Nick? Is Madison heading for a “redemption arc” of some sort?), the ingredients for a compelling Season 8 are here. Now, it’s all about the story Fear The Walking Dead cooks up.

Fear The Walking Dead Season 8, Returns 2022, AMC