*** Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Fear the Walking Deadepisode “Blood in the Streets” ***
With just a handful of Season 2 episodes now under its belt, Fear the Walking Dead may have finally found its sea legs, so to speak, and realized the power of having Alycia Debnam-Carey as a cast member. Sunday night’s episode, “Blood in the Streets,” ended on a cliffhanger with Alicia (Debnam-Carey) and Travis (Cliff Curtis) kidnapped by the group who had earlier seized the Abigail. Where they are taking the two and what exactly they want is still somewhat unclear, but in my opinion, thrusting Alicia into a central storyline is a strong move for the AMC series to make.
There was a lot of criticism surrounding FTWD’s first season, a good amount of it largely deserved, but some positive changes are being made in year two. After Debnam-Carey’s skillset was largely undervalued by the show in Season 1, it seems as though the writers have realized just how much talent they were sitting on, and have started making the character of Alicia Clark a part of the show’s main focus. That’s not to say the change has happened overnight, but slowly and surely Alicia is coming into her own, not only as a woman, but a full-fledged character.
It was clear since Debnam-Carey first stepped foot into the role of Lexa on The 100 that she was going to be a huge star one day. When she was cast on FTWD many thought this would be the vehicle that would propel her to that next level, and thus, one of the reasons it was so disappointing to see these talents largely wasted in Season 1.
Enter the Alicia Clark of Season 2, no longer a scared teenager, but instead a self-assured young woman who is growing more confident by the day. She’s already proved on multiple occasions this season that she won’t sit idly by while a group of adults decide her fate. As is the case with many younger characters on the show, Alicia has been forced to grow up quickly. She’s had to face some harsh realities in this world and has decided that she’s got just as much right as any other adult in the group to decide her fate, including her own mother.
There have been a few times–such as when she wanted to explore the plane wreckage or when Madison sided with Strand over letting others on board in last week’s “Ouroboros”–where Alicia has taken a direct stand against her mother. This is the woman she’s always counted on to be her moral compass, but is finding that may not always be the case. Sure, she heard her mother both times, but Alicia also displayed a newfound confidence and remained steadfast in her beliefs, not only in herself, but in what she thought was best. It’s refreshing as a viewer to watch and confidence has always been something Debnam-Carey effortlessly infuses into the characters she plays.
During so much of Season 1 it seemed like Alicia paled in comparison to her brother Nick (Frank Dillane). He was easily FTWD’s most interesting character last year, and while Nick and Dillane haven’t missed a beat, by giving her a larger storyline and allowing Debnam-Carey to stretch her acting muscles, Alicia has really evened out the playing field between the Clark siblings. It’s easy to see Alicia Clark as a character to get behind and root for in Season 2.
Another great aspect of Alicia’s Season 2 evolution is that the FTWD writers have increased her storyline without the services of any sort of romantic relationship. Near the end of Season 1 it looked as though there may be potential for a relationship between Chris (Lorenzo Henrie) and Alicia, but it’s looking more and more like that’s not the case at all. So instead of Alicia being just another female character that needs a male character’s story to further her own, the writers have given her a completely independent plot to be explored.
There will be many that argue Alicia trusting Jack over the radio in the Season 2 premiere was dumb and naive. However, it’s one I could see many people making in a similar situation where the need to “connect” on some level, in the midst of such craziness, is at an all-time high. Alicia lost a parent, had an addicted brother that monopolized much of her mother’s time and concern, and saw everything she had worked towards for her future being ripped away. Is it so hard to believe that she’d yearn to hang on to any last bit of humanity that she could find? I’m betting we’d all like to think, if placed in a similar situation, we’d be much smarter, but it’s easy to see how this happened to a young woman such as Alicia.
At least when our suspicions about Jack were confirmed during Sunday night’s episode, Alicia wasted no time stepping up and taking full responsibility. She is aware she brought all of this on the group. She never once shied away from that fact and instead of sitting around feeling sorry for herself, she went to work setting things right. While she wasn’t completely successful at exploiting Jack’s obvious weakness for her, I can say I feel a hell of a lot more confident in Season 2 Alicia Clark’s ability to get out of this situation than I did a year ago.
While FTWD at its core is an ensemble show, watching the character of Alicia Clark grow and become a bigger part of the story’s focus has been a positive sign for Season 2. The talent and star power Alycia Debnam-Carey clearly possesses does not come along every day. There’s no bigger travesty than when a show has someone as special as Debnam-Carey and under utilizes them. Thankfully, FTWD has begun to right the ship where Debnam-Carey and Alicia Clark are concerned, and the show has benefited greatly from it. Here’s hoping the writers stick to the course laid forth for Alicia and we get many more character building moments to come as she continues to find her place and purpose in this ever changing world.
What do you think of Alicia in Season 2? Is her increased role a good thing? Add your thoughts to comments below!
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.