The fan theory stating that Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) survived the walkers and inferno at Dell Stadium in Season 4 of Fear the Walking Dead is a persistent one. And, with Episode 14 titled “Mother” and dealing with Madison’s daughter, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), there was the suspicion that Madison would return.
The episode also saw the return of Cole (Sebastian Sozzi) and had many viewers wondering if Madison were not to turn up in the latest installment, it would certainly set the scene for the insinuation that Madison might have survived.
However, this didn’t happen.
Cole’s return gave Alicia conflicted emotions
Episode 14 saw Alicia going on a road trip with Teddy (John Glover) and Dakota (Zoe Colletti). While Teddy didn’t admit it at first, the ulterior motive was to get Alicia to see that everyone her mother had saved at Dell Stadium was dead.
He hoped that this would show Alicia that the usual way of doing things was no longer working and, therefore, justified his plan to wipe out civilization as they know it, thanks to a nuclear missile he found onboard a beached submarine.
What actually ended up happening was that the small group bumped into a blast from Alicia’s past. Cole, who had lived with Alicia at Dell Stadium in the community created by her mother, turned up unexpectedly.
Madison gets an honorable mention
This gave Alicia plenty of time to reflect on her mother after Cole revealed that Madison’s actions at the stadium definitely saved his life. However, since then, Cole had turned to a life of crime, which led to Alicia wondering if what her mother had been doing was the right thing.
Before the episode aired, a trailer was released that showed Cole’s appearance. This led to some fans speculating that Cole would reveal that Madison was alive. Another theory saw Cole as the set-up required to hint that maybe Madison survived, but he didn’t know where she was.
However, by episode end, Alicia had killed Cole without him ever saying anything to suggest that Madison might still be alive. This seems to put to rest the theory that Cole could lead to a long-term story arc for Alicia as she searches for her mother.
This was something put to Fear the Walking Dead’s showrunners when questioned by Entertainment Weekly. However, as to be expected, they deflected the question with an evasive answer about the real goal of the episode.
“The point of this episode for us was to see how Madison’s legacy endured in Alicia, and how Teddy tested that,” Ian Goldberg said.
“And we saw both how she followed in her mother’s footsteps but also deviated a bit. But at the end of it still maintain that shred of hope that Teddy was sparked to. So it was really more about seeing how Alicia’s relationship with her mother kind of very much informed what Teddy’s looking for from her.”
Fear the Walking Dead goes on hiatus and will return on June 6 at 9/8c on AMC.