As Madison and Morgan ride off into the urine-colored sunset in the Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 finale, there are so many questions to ponder. Where is PADRE? How will Madison and Morgan take down a community that snatches children left and right? Is Fear the Walking Dead, as Rick Grimes would say, too far gone?
These questions and more don’t support the very thin tight rope Fear the Walking Dead is on right now, but its answers can make it easier to find some balance. Season 7 failed the Tower plot line by literally throwing characters off of roofs and making the office building haven a bottle community, but the mystery of PADRE still kept curiosity alive. There were moments throughout the Season 7 that blatantly regarded PADRE as a myth, and then there were moments that abandoned that theory altogether. Finally, the Season 7 finale solidifies that PADRE is real, and it could potentially save the series from further downfall.
For clarity, it’s almost impossible for Fear the Walking Dead — a show that has gone from good to bad in a record-breaking time — to fully transition back into the glory days of Seasons 1-3. Fear the Walking Dead might just be a goner for good, but it doesn’t mean it has to get worse. Rather, it’s best to start out with small expectations for this series, so no one’s heart gets too broken when things go awry. But the zombie apocalypse series is looking to dive right into the water without dipping its toes in first with Season 8.
Madison’s awfully convenient return to the series means the first proper introduction to PADRE, which is revealed to be just another Terminus in the making. No, they’re not cannibals preying on the weak and vulnerable, but they are taking all the babies and children they can find. There’s high hopes for PADRE with this sinister premise — it’s dirty, despicable and enough to replenish some delicious villainy on this show. A giant plus is that PADRE has outsmarted all of their fellow survivors by living at the sea on a ship.
There are so many things to look forward to if showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg execute them properly. PADRE seemingly being on the ocean is reminiscent of the second season of the show. And while the second season isn’t necessarily a popular choice as fan-favorite, it brought something different to The Walking Dead universe by putting the survivors on water, rather than staying on land. It brings a different level of risk that the survivors will have to face being at sea, considering there’s only so many places to go if danger hits.
These people are also finally leaving Texas, which has been made out to be the size of Mexico at this point on the show. Bringing the show to Texas in Season 3 was a breath of fresh air for the series because of the ambitious conflict between the Native Americans and the white men who occupy their land. It was further proof that wherever Madison goes, she brings her disastrous Midas Touch with her. But then Madison “died” in Season 4, and Texas became a soul-sucking state of boring chaos and unmoving clashes.
Fear the Walking Dead clearly wants to solve these issues by going out to sea in Louisiana with Madison along for the ride, but is it enough? It’s tough to tell at this point, and Fear the Walking Dead always has a funny way of hyping up fans for a thrilling work of art, only to pull the rug out from under their feet in the blink of an eye. Still, maybe Madison and PADRE are just what Fear the Walking Dead needs to not be the embarrassing little sibling to The Walking Dead, if they can just listen to what the fans are begging for — which is only tolerable storytelling at this point.