On a show like Fear the Walking Dead having just one cliffhanger to end your season isn’t good enough. That’s why the AMC drama series’ Season 2 finale left viewers with plenty of unanswered questions on Sunday night. What will Travis (Cliff Curtis) do now that he killed the two Americans responsible for Chris’ (Lorenzo Henrie) death? Will he be a changed man moving forward? Will Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) also be changing after she took a life at the hotel in defense of Travis? We know that at least Travis, Alicia and Madison (Kim Dickens) were forced to flee, leaving Strand (Colman Domingo) behind at the hotel by choice.
Elsewhere, Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) was taken hostage by a mysterious man just moments after crossing the border to the U.S. Nick (Frank Dillane) thought he was leading the people from the Colonia to a brighter future, but he, Luciana (Danay Garcia) and the group were captured as well. To get the answers to our burning questions from the finale and look at what lies ahead in Season 3, The TV Junkies spoke exclusively with FTWD showrunner Dave Erickson.
The TV Junkies: We’ll begin with the big character death in the finale and the interesting way the news of Chris’ death was revealed to Travis. You guys really played off the fact that audiences expected Brandon (Kelly Blatz) and Derek (Kenny Wormald) to be lying, which they were, just not about what we thought. Why did you want Chris’ death to play out in that manner?
Dave Erickson: For me, as a dad, there’s something more horrific about Travis not having been there and not witnessing it. Ultimately, Brandon was telling the truth and what he described is what happened and when Travis hears that he believes it. There’s just something though that makes him violently ill and twists at his gut that this happened to his son–a son he’s sensibly abandoned. You’ve got a father, who in his last exchange with his son he essentially damned him. The last thing that Chris heard is what Travis articulates in 213.
I just think the weight of that emotionally was so overwhelming and we needed that in order to get him to the place he went to. I think if for some reason he had been there, able to say goodbye and grieve properly, not to say it would’ve reduced his rage, but I don’t think it would’ve hit the levels that it did. That was a conversation we had internally in the room and with the network as well, which to their credit they were willing to let us go there and have essentially an off camera death and something we had to reimagine through Travis’ prism.
TTVJ: Killing Brandon and Derek, especially in the violent manner he did, was a huge shift from the Travis we first met in Season 1. What does this mean for him going forward in Season 3?
DE: It means he is a changed man. The Travis that was so desperate to cling to his moral compass, that man is gone. It doesn’t mean he’s going to be any less protective of Madison, Alicia and those he cares about, but he is going to approach that defense in a much, much different way. He’ll be far more aggressive and far more apocalyptic in his actions, and a lot more badass. To be perfectly honest, that was always the intention for Travis. The intention was to really break him down to a point where he was consumed by the apocalypse so he could be reborn as something else. That’s not to say he is not going to be haunted by the loss of his son and that he doesn’t want to find some redemption or atonement for what he sees as his failure. He’s definitely going to be a much different person and much more aggressive person as we move forward.
TTVJ: Alicia made the swift decision to step in and kill to protect Travis. Will we see her feel any repercussions from that in Season 3 and should we expect to see her continue to step up?
DE: Yes, she’s definitely not going to rewind. I think one of the important things–and one of the good things–about fragmenting the family in the manner we did, is that it allowed Madison and Alicia to come together and especially for Alicia to develop a better understanding of why her mother seemed so protective of Nick, why Madison seemed to love Nick more than she loved her daughter. I think she’s less resentful of her brother now. She’s always loved him but now she understands what the dynamic was. Then it also makes her understand the burden and the weight of the secret that Madison had been carrying for so long concerning the suicide of her father.
She’s definitely at a much more mature place and she’s not going to be answering the radio when Jack calls anymore. She’s definitely more pragmatic and practical minded, but she’s also not in the same place Travis is. The stabbing of Andreas, the taking of a human life, it wasn’t something she planned. It was something that was instinctive and impulsive and only came in that moment because Andreas’ finger was tightening on the trigger. If she hadn’t done that she realized that Travis would be dead.
That is something she still has to wrestle with, that’s not something she can dismiss so easily and was the one thing she was not supposed to do. Madison expects it of herself, she now expects it of Travis and she always assumed Nick would be involved in something violent. But for Alicia, she was the golden child and not supposed to be who she is. They all will have to deal and process that over the next few episodes when we come back, but it will not lead to a weaker Alicia. She has crossed a line and like Travis, she can’t go back.
TTVJ: Strand making the decision to stay behind at the hotel and look out for himself really brings us back to the old Strand that we first met. What was behind that decision for him, especially when he seems to be pretty connected to Madison?
DE: It was a couple of things. One, when they have that scene and he realizes Alicia and Madison are willing to leave the safety of the hotel and go with Travis he’s a little bit hurt. He’s not a huge fan of Travis, nor is Travis a huge fan of Strand. When he says ‘you’re going to leave here with the man that abandoned you,’ he means it. When he says he’s not going to commit suicide for them, he’s trying to cut her a little bit but he also means that. It’s complicated by the fact that he’s still recovering from his stab wound so he’s not in the position to hit the road when he has water, food, relative safety at the RBH. In that decision, ultimately he does something of a heroic nod and when he tells Madison that he’s going to be OK, he means it.
It isn’t a suicidal gesture because he’s set himself up to be the enemy probably of Hector, Elena and the other folks in the hotel. But what we wanted to do was indicate that the old Strand–the con artist Strand–is now returning and what we’ll discover next season is that when he said he’ll be OK that he wasn’t lying. He has a plan, he has a structure and a way to protect himself within the hotel until he’s healed. Then going into Season 3, we want to see him really get his stride back and go back to the man that can find whatever currency in whatever time and get back to the person we first met back in Season 1.
TTVJ: We saw Ofelia captured by a mystery man (Dayton Callie, Sons of Anarchy) just as she crossed the border. Does he have any connection to the mercenaries that captured Nick?
DE: He may have a connection to the same militia group, yes. One of the things we wanted to do was lay some track for Season 3 and introduce this new group that we’ll find just north of the border. Season 3 is very much our border episode. We’ll have a new narrative playing out north of the border, we’ll have a narrative playing out south of the border and our family in some mixture will end up on either side of that as things evolve. Dayton Callie’s new character will eventually fold back over with the militia group that we saw confront Nick, Luciana and the folks from the Colonia at the border.
TTVJ: So something similar to how we spent a good amount of time at the Colonia this season?
DE: Yes, to a degree. We’re going to land in a couple of key locations on either side. There’s a new group potentially and a new character we’ll meet in Tijuana. We want to spend a lot more time shooting that urban landscape and balancing it out with the desertscape we saw in Ofelia’s journey. Strictly from a visual sense, we have an opportunity to really explore Mexico and really explore the border that I think adds a texture and something very special and specific to the show.
TTVJ: One mystery that a lot of people were wondering about that didn’t get addressed in this back half was Daniel (Ruben Blades). Can we expect to see him again in some form in Season 3?
DE: Maybe. Look, Chris we saw–even though it was a story being told to Travis–we saw the headshot that killed Chris. We know Chris is gone. For Daniel, what was important in his supposed death was the impact it had on Ofelia and the rest of the characters, but specifically his daughter. In my mind Daniel escaped the fire, in my mind he’s still out there as a potential character and my hope is that we can find a way, somewhere down the road, to thread that back into the larger narrative.
What did you think of the Fear the Walking Dead finale? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments below!
Fear the Walking Dead returns for Season 3 in 2017.
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.