Madison Clark’s return to Fear the Walking Dead is good news for Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), who is supposedly on death’s door in the spinoff series. Not only has AMC confirmed that Fear the Walking Dead has been renewed for season 8, it’s also revealed that the new season will see Kim Dickens resume her series regular role as Madison. Perhaps coincidentally, Madison’s return was confirmed immediately after the episode where it was revealed that her daughter might be dying.
Similar to what the situation would be if Alicia dies, Madison’s death was met with much controversy during season 4. Many were disappointed with the ending given to the character. And while it certainly looked like there was no way Madison could have survived the stadium fire, there have been numerous theories accounting for ways that Madison could still be alive in The Walking Dead’s universe. Somehow, fans are about to get their wish. Confirmation from AMC regarding Madison’s return to Fear the Walking Dead means that she really is out there somewhere. It’s possible that she’ll make a grand entrance toward the end of the season, which could be what sets up season 8’s story.
Regardless of how FTWD plans to explain Madison’s return, this reveal has major implications for Alicia, despite what happened in the show’s midseason finale. A zombie bite to the arm has led her to believe that she’s living on borrowed time. Her arm was amputated, but she claims that it wasn’t removed fast enough to stop the zombie infection. According to Alicia, she’s been fighting it off as best as she can but her days are numbered nonetheless. If this is true, that means Fear the Walking Dead is setting up Alicia’s death. However, the reveal that Madison is coming back is an indication that the show has no intention of killing off Alicia. Given the circumstances, going that route would be a huge missed opportunity.
One of the most appealing aspects of Madison’s return is the emotional impact it’s sure to have on Alicia, who has been without her mother since season 4. Having Madison around again comes with all sorts of storytelling potential for Alicia’s character. It’s hard to imagine that FTWD will kill off her in season 7 and pass up a chance to explore their relationship. Considering that Madison has been missing from her life for years, Alicia will have several questions about where she’s been and why they didn’t meet up earlier. The possibility of Madison having interactions with Daniel (Rubén Blades), Luciana (Danay Garcia), and Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) certainly provide viewers with something to look forward to, but if Alicia isn’t there, Madison’s return just won’t carry the same amount of weight.
The fact that Fear the Walking Dead is doing this at all proves that the show understands the significance of such an event, which is why it makes sense that the series will try to maximize its impact by keeping Alicia alive. The characters may find out in season 7’s back half that Alicia was wrong about the reason she’s sick. It may be that she’s been suffering from an illness brought upon by the amputation. Once it passes, Fear the Walking Dead can move on to a new story for Alicia by finally bringing her mother back into her life.