Season 2 of Fear the Walking Dead killed off Chris unnecessarily. No time is wasted in season 3 to do it again.
Fear the Walking Dead is no stranger to killing important characters. Most of the time there’s a reason for a character to die. For example, Liza’s death instigated Chris’ character’s devolution.
A character death should propel the story forward in some way, whether that be plot or character, or if the character has run its course (see Merle Dixon). If we’re thinking ‘realistically,’ it’s true that anyone can die at any time, but this is a television show. There should be cause for a character to die, even if it is shocking.
Travis’ death comes at an unlikely moment, both because the danger he was in was sudden, and because his character dying doesn’t appear to add anything to the story. Moreover, his death negates any cause for Chris’ character to die.
Chris’ death last season was sudden. To be sure, he was far from a fan favorite, but he showed a different side of trauma that hasn’t been in the show. He was a great antagonist on the inside of the group, and it would have been interesting to see him turn into a proper villain.
Nonetheless, Chris died presumably to propel Travis’ character into new territories. For a couple of episodes it worked. Travis finally lost control and beat Chris’ killers to death.
It seemed Chris’ death/murder was what Travis needed to set his character on a new trajectory. Except, with Travis only living for another two episodes, his character never actually develops enough to make Chris’ death worthwhile.
In turn, Travis only living for two episodes post Chris’ death means we’ve had minimal time to actually see this new Travis in action. He’s hardly developed as far as he’s capable, so yet again we’re deprived of seeing a character grow or change.
Not only is Travis not fully developed before he dies, his death doesn’t further the plot either. Are a chain of events set off after Travis dies? Not really. Our group all still makes it to the colony, and are staying there the same way Madison had intended. Basically, everyone gets from point A to point B in the same condition.
It could be argued Madison would not be so dictatorial had she not lost Travis. However, Madison has yet to just accept a situation as it’s set for her. It’s more likely she would have wanted to control this colony with or without Travis.
In that vein, how is Travis’ death affecting everyone else? It’s not. Or, at least, it hasn’t yet. Unless Madison is going to have some huge breakdown that causes her to act contrary to her usual self, Travis dying makes no difference to the show. Of course, we can’t predict the future, but the way “The New Frontier” leaves off doesn’t indicate much has changed in Alicia, Nick, or Madison, apart from momentary grieving.
From our observations and what we can prognosticate, Travis’ death is pointless. It’s just shock value. He doesn’t even get the dignity of sacrificing himself for anyone, the way you’d expect Travis to go. He’s randomly and unluckily shot in a moment when they think they’re safe.
Unless there’s a big payoff later in the season, this death is unsatisfying and potentially detrimental. We’re being deprived of seeing a new Travis, and the new dynamics that would result between him and the others.