Fear the Walking Dead is crawling with morally ambiguous people, but what happens when the lead group starts to lose it too?
With Travis out of the picture it seems that the Clark family can’t keep it together. Without their moral compass, there’s no one left to remind them of their past selves. Alicia has been a worthy second for keeping a sane head but even she can’t help being influenced by this new community.
It started with a little butterfly knife. Maybe she just needed it for comfort, as her own post-apocalyptic Fidget Spinner, but in “Red Dirt” she levelled up. Whether by indirect influence from Troy or because she’s cracked after losing Travis, Alicia is becoming colder and harder by the day.
Not only has she upgraded from a small knife to heavy duty artillery, she also isn’t allowing herself to feel the compassion she once had. She tells Madison that she’s not in love with Jake, but it feels more like she’s trying to convince herself than an actual truth. Based on the amount of people she’s lost (Matt, Jack, Travis, Gretchen, to name a few), it’s no wonder she’s becoming closed off.
As for Madison, while she never set the standard for morality on Fear the Walking Dead, she had stricter limits than she does now. Take season 2 when she killed Celia in a barn fire. True, this woman was crazy and was brainwashing her son with those crazy ideas, but it takes a certain type of person to kill another (living) human.
Perhaps the killing of Celia was justifiable, but what about perpetuating a race war? What about lying to perpetuate a race war, and helping a trigger-happy, Nazi-esque dictator? Madison may not like Troy, and maybe she’s only helping him to help her family, but she’s still helping him. Surely getting on Troy’s good side and propping him up to become leader isn’t the only solution. It’s just the easiest one.
Madison is turning into The Walking Dead’s Shane. Her mentality has become, ‘screw everyone else as long as my family and I are safe.’ Maybe that’s what it takes to make it in this new world, but one would hope there’s ways to survive that don’t include becoming wholly immoral.
Then there’s Nick. While Nick is probably the closest thing the Clarks have to morality, even he is succumbing to Broke Jaw Ranch’s influence. Gone be the days where he believed the infected were people too. Now he owns what’s likely to be his signature gun, and he actually judges Madison for being unable to kill Gretchen.
Nick still disapproves of Troy’s mentality and actions, but he’s spending a lot of time with Jeremiah. Given that he’s an addict, he’s likely to develop an addiction to killing with enough time using Jeremiah’s gun. Unless he finds some other way to channel his addictions, it’s not long until he has a skewed view of what’s right and wrong too.
The Clarks are far from the most despicable people on Fear the Walking Dead, but they’re far from the most innocent, and they’re certainly not the hope inspiring bunch they once were. When Chris lost it, he died. When Travis started losing it, he died. Are one of the Clarks next to go, or will their new mentality actually keep them safer?