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Fear the Walking Dead: The 5 things you need to know about season 3

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Zombies may move slow, but the action will come fast and furious when Fear the Walking Dead returns for season 3 on June 4.

The two-hour season premiere is a non-stop assault of gore and guts that includes the use of a spoon as a potentially deadly instrument. “The goal was to not give the characters or the audience a chance to breathe as we returned to the show,” says showrunner Dave Erickson of the action spectacular. “And also to establish the stakes of the season very quickly.

Here are five more teases for season 3:

1. Meet the Militia

The good news? Madison (Kim Dickens) will be reunited with son Nick (Frank Dillane). The bad news? That’s because the entire family starts the season as prisoners of the militia group first seen at the end of season 2. “They prepared for the apocalypse,” says Erickson of the new adversaries. “They didn’t expect the rise of the dead, but they definitely anticipated the fall of democracy.” Leading the militia is Jeremiah Otto Sr. (Dayton Callie), seen briefly last year capturing Ofelia (Mercedes Mason). “He’s the king of his domain, and his intention is to create a new nation in his own mold,” says Erickson. But will Madison and Co. be welcome in Otto’s new kingdom?

2. The Evolution of Madison

Madison has already proven she will do whatever it takes to protect her loved ones, even if it means murdering like she did to Celia in season 2. But get ready for a “far more tactical” Madison in season 3. “She’s always aspired to be the leader,” says Erickson. “But she also made mistakes and she let herself be driven by her love for her son. That stops now. When she sees the landscape of this new group that they meet, she’s very quick to determine what the pros and cons are. She’s very quick to realize that there are a lot of advantages to this place. She sees the ability to manipulate, and in so doing, she sees a way to protect her family.” Look for Madison to set her sights particularly on one unseemly character as a way to gain control.

3. Beyond the Border

While Madison and Co. have crossed back into America, Strand (Colman Domingo) is still in Mexico and may be ditching the kinder, gentler persona we saw in season 2. “We’re going to see Strand going back in the con man mode,” teases Erickson. “The thing that Strand is best at is recognizing the current currency and knowing what can he exploit. And in the apocalypse, he’s going to target the thing that is probably the most powerful and valuable resource there is.” Hmmm… any guesses?

4. The Return of Salazar

Although it appeared that Daniel Salazar (Rubén Blades) torched himself along with an entire Mexican compound back in season 2, the savvy yet unstable former El Salvadorian soldier is indeed still out there… somewhere. And the showrunner vows that we will see Daniel again soon enough. “We’ve said publicly that he didn’t die in the fire,” says Erickson. “And I think what was always important is that the characters, specifically Ofelia, thought that they had lost him. So I think his return is now long overdue and I can promise that Daniel Salazar will rise again over the course of the season.” What Salazar’s mental state is whenever he does emerge is another question entirely.

RELATED: The World of The Walking Dead — On Screen and Off

5. Dark Side of the Apocalypse

Not that the zombie apocalypse has ever been a barrel of laughs, but expect things to get especially rough in season 3. “We’re going to go darker,” says Erickson. “The goal for us this season is to bring our characters to an uglier, more twisted place and then see if they can scratch their way back into some semblance of their former humanity and hope. It’s essentially a bottoming out for some of our characters.”

One of those characters appears to be Madison. “We’ve danced around with Madison specifically as to her backstory — who she is, what is her history, what makes her able to kill Celia last season — and it has a lot to do with who she was before the apocalypse, even before Los Angeles. So we’re going to conflate some backstory with present day story and really get to the bottom of who Madison Clark is and how she relates to her family. But it’s going to be dark for a while before we see any semblance of light.”

Fear the Walking Dead season 3 premieres Sunday, June 4 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.