[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for AMC‘s Fear the Walking Dead Season 7, Episode 8, “Padre.”]
Of all the surviving characters on Fear the Walking Dead, Alicia Clark (Alycia Debnam-Carey) might just have the worst luck. She’s a magnet for near-death experiences, from barely surviving the pantry horde in Season 3, to getting irradiated walker blood in her mouth in Season 5, to… well, having a tragic accident in Season 7 that might have cost her her life. Here’s how it happens.
Alicia and her people (plus Lennie James‘ Morgan and the “Dark Horses”) escape the gas and head for safety. There, they regroup and Alicia reveals why she needs Morgan: She needs his help with a super-special walker. Not that she explains this to Morgan right away, but it is her belief that this walker has retained some of his memories from when he was alive, and if they let him go, he will lead them to Padre. Sound far-fetched? Yeah, we thought so, too.
But Alicia’s desperate enough to follow it over obstacles and through a canyon, where she and Morgan are confronted by Victor Strand’s (Colman Domingo) group. They’ve mistaken her for a member of the separate faction of her group that attacked Strand’s tower in the previous episode. Needless to say, once Strand arrives and discovers it’s Alicia, he orders his men to stand down. He offers her a place in the tower to help him run things, but in the meantime, her special walker has walked right off a cliff into the water below, and she refuses Strand and jumps in after it. And Morgan jumps in after her.
They all wash up on the shore, and Strand decides to take his plan to the next level. “She’ll come if she has no choice,” he notes, and orders his men to kill Morgan, then kill the walker. As they hold Morgan’s face to the dead man, Alicia gets in the way and shoves him back — which results in the walker taking a chunk out of her arm. But don’t despair: Alicia no longer has her left arm, at least below the elbow.
How did this happen? In flashbacks to the early days of the bunker, we learn that she met a man named Will (Gus Halper) — yes, the same Will that Strand chucked off the top of his tower in the premiere — and he helped her search for a way out. The walker she’s been so desperate to follow is a junior senator who had information about a secret facility called Padre (no, it’s not Padre Island), and Will, having not left the bunker since the start of the apocalypse, is convinced something of the walker’s former self remains inside. For her part, Alicia just wants it to lead them out of the bunker as it follows a stream of rats.
Their quest to leave leads them into a tunnel, where Alicia winds up trapped, alone, between two piles of rubble. Will works to free her, but he doesn’t make progress quickly enough, and the walker breaks through the pile of rubble that was restraining it and bites Alicia on her left arm. She makes Will promise that if she turns he won’t let her hurt anyone, then she amputates it and loses consciousness.
When she wakes up, she’s in a cot, what remains of her arm has been treated, and Will’s by her side. He explains that she’s been out for a week, Teddy’s (John Glover) people helped him save her, and she had a fever, but it broke. Alicia snaps at him, saying that if she had a fever, she could have — and should have — turned, and he should have killed her. Will doesn’t seem to think she has reason to worry, but it’s clear Alicia’s still not well. Will, apparently feeling guilty, leaves the bunker.
In the present, Alicia’s clearly not feeling much better. Morgan notes at various times how unwell she seems, and while she brushes it off, much of her motivation to find Padre seems to be to get her people there before she dies. In the end, though, her walker doesn’t lead them there — it leads them right to Strand’s tower, where it joins the massive walker-moat. Strand rides out to meet them, saying it was destiny that the walker led her to him.
Then, another walker makes an entrance… yep, it’s Will, and whatever chance Strand had of convincing Alicia to join his group withers as she sees her kind of, maybe love interest dead and turned. She demands to know whether Strand killed him and — surprisingly — Strand tells the truth. He says he did it to hurt her because he couldn’t be around her and do what needed to be done to build his tower. Alicia takes this as well as could be expected, which is to say, not very. Rage flaring in her eyes, she tells Strand that he’s taken too much from her and from everyone else: “It’s war,” she says. So now, instead of a Morgan-Strand war, we’re getting an Alicia-Strand war in 7B.
- On one hand, the premise that Alicia, a hardened survivor who knows better than most that walkers are not people and do not remember things, would follow a walker willingly is hard to swallow. But on the other, she’s feverish and believes she’s dying. If you chalk it up to sheer, unfettered desperation, it’s easier to comprehend.
- What’s odd to me is that Alicia’s illness is either universe-breaking, or it’s another case of the character having a drawn-out sickness that won’t result in her death. If she lives, it’s a repeat of her story from Season 5A. If she dies, it doesn’t make sense within the established rules of the universe: She was too late in amputating her arm given that she didn’t apply a tourniquet, so she should be dead and should have long turned by now.
- Also, what Will said to Strand about Alicia doesn’t match up with what actually happened in this episode. In the premiere, Will made her out to be a great leader; in this episode, most of his interactions with her have nothing to do with her actually leading people and everything to do with her wanting to leave the people she’s meant to lead.
- I was disappointed in the relationship between Will and Alicia. The actors had good chemistry, but it was hard to tell what, exactly, bonded the characters or why Will fell for her as quickly and deeply as he did.
- How did Alicia get the bones from her arm to attach to her sleeve? Did someone get her severed arm out of the tunnel? Did she, once she was able to move, go back there and get it?
- Anyway, a Strand vs. Alicia story in 7B sounds kind of fun. At least it seems to promise more for both of those characters, and they’re always a treat to have onscreen.
- Rating: 3.5/5. It’s not Fear’s best episode of this half-season, but it’s not its worst, and it was good to see Alicia again. Now, let’s just hope she’s not actually dying.
Fear the Walking Dead, Returns 2022, 9/8c, AMC