Fear the Walking Dead: Mercedes Mason On Ofelia’s Newfound Freedom

Richard Foreman Jr/AMC
Richard Foreman Jr/AMC

Saying Ofelia Salazar (Mercedes Mason) has it rough is a bit of an understatement. Not only did she lose her mother at the end of Fear the Walking Dead’s first season, but she then lost her father Daniel (Rubén Blades) after he went off the deep end and burned Celia’s (Marlene Forté) compound in the Season 2 midseason finale. Ofelia now finds herself in the company of Madison (Kim Dickens), Strand (Colman Domingo) and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) as they figure out how to survive in the middle of an apocalypse.

After spending most of the first seven episodes of Season 2 on a boat, everyone is firmly on land, but split up. Will Ofelia be able to recover from the loss of both her parents? Who will she find herself bonding with now? To get the answers to some of these questions, as well as the lowdown on what to expect in Season 2B, The TV Junkies spoke exclusively with Mason. She gave a few hints on what’s to come and let us know why she’s happy to be off the boat.

 

The TV Junkies: So you guys are off the boat in Season 2B. Were you happy to be on dry land and what was it like shooting in Mexico?

Mercedes Mason: Where we’re shooting is considered its own microclimate and the only thing that we’re not too keen on in that area is that the winds are insane. The joke is that all the bloopers are of us eating our own hair because there’s no hope. Our poor hair people!

In Season 1 some of the questions people kept asking us was would you rather be on dry land or sea if there was an apocalypse, and I always said land. I like the use of my legs, being able to run and not having to worry about sharks. So personally I’m really content that we’re on dry land. It also gives us a lot more expanse to be able to move around and cover more ground.

TTVJ: See I would thinking getting off the boat would help with your hair situation.

MM: Nope! Some places were more desert areas and great for the hair situation, but then we had some heat. There was one day, of course of all days when I’m doing my own stunts, where it was 115 out. ‘Oh god I’m dying. No literally I’m dying!’

TTVJ: Ofelia still managed to stay out of a lot of the fighting in the first half of the season. Does that mean we’ll see her become more physical?

MM: I’m not sure I’m allowed to say that. So Ofelia at the end of Season 2 is completely at a loss. I mean literally, she’s been orphaned and lost both parents. She has nothing else and is being forced to trust these people as her new makeshift family and has only known them maybe a month. Sometimes when you have nothing to lose it can strengthen you or it can break you.

I think with Ofelia we’ll see a huge change in her in the second half. She’s going to really explore what family means and who she is loyal to. She’s on her own now, has no one to answer to and she’s always been under her parents’ thumb the entire time and now that she’s free it gives her a sense of freedom. She’s going to explore that to the fullest. We’re in the apocalypse so she’s going to run into some walkers to say the least. We’ll have to see where that leads her in the second half.

Richard Foreman Jr/AMC
Richard Foreman Jr/AMC

TTVJ: We last saw Ofelia left with Madison, Alicia and Strand. What’s going to be their main focus when we pick things up with them?

MM: They each sort of have their own agenda. Strand is also at a loss–he’s lost the love of his life, he’s lost the place he calls home–so he’s floating as well. He’s trying to figure out what his use is in the world now because before he had the power because he had the boat. He was really driving us all and we were following him blindly. Now we’re all on equal footing. Alicia is trying desperately to have some sort of connection with her mother and maybe even shed her childlike need for her mother. She’s stepping into her own. Madison is desperate to find Nick who has ventured off on his own and she’s lost Travis who went off on his own.

We’re all really disjointed and trying to figure out who we can trust and what does family mean. Strand and I–at least in our microgroup–are the outsiders because at least Alicia and Madison have each other. We’re just trying to figure out how we’re going to move forward and what that means for our dynamic. Do you try to find the people that you love? Is it worth it for us to try to find Nick and Travis or do we just try to survive on our own? Are they lost causes?

TTVJ: Speaking of Alicia, a lot of fans would like to see more scenes between Ofelia and Alicia. Do we see those two getting closer during the back half at all?

MM: Again they are in this little microgroup and Ofelia and Alicia are closer in age than they are to Madison or Strand and that naturally will bond you. They’ve developed a sisterly bond at this point. Ofelia will lean on Alicia a little bit and you’ll see that because she’s desperate to have any semblance of kindness at this point and someone she can rely on. There will be a little bit of a connection. I think fans were hoping for more of a romantic/love interest thing but I can say that’s not going to happen because they really become more sisterly, so it’d be a little bit strange I think.

TTVJ: Another person Ofelia bonded a bit with before was Chris, over the fact that they’ve each lost their mothers. Is there any chance she may be able to get through to him?

MM: I think if anyone would get through to him it would be Ofelia. Unfortunately, due to time and distance they are separated. We’ll have to see if they end up coming together, but they are in the same boat. As much as they both lost their mothers, Ofelia lost her father and in a sense Chris feels like he lost his father a long time ago because he feels abandoned by him. They are very similar because of what they are going through in their lives. Chris is young, I think he’s 15, so he’s going to handle things differently than a 25 year old like Ofelia who is an adult. He’s really in dire need and at this point where he might break or it might strengthen him. He really needs someone to take care of him and that’s why Travis goes searching for him.

TTVJ: Anything else we should know about Season 2B?

MM: I’m just really excited because it’s so different in the second half. The entire first half everything was trying to survive as a group and as soon as you start getting disjointed and separated then individual dynamics come into play. That’s really fascinating because you’ll see people’s true character and you’ll see under the most dire circumstances what do people do and how do they react.

 

Are you excited to see what’s next for Ofelia? Where do you think she goes from here? Sound off in the comments below!

Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC.