Credit: Justina Mintz/AMC

[SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched Sunday’s episode of Fear the Walking Dead, “So Close, Yet So Far.”]

It is when society starts to break down that the big decisions need to be made — decisions that may determine whether you live or die, and decisions which may cost others their lives. Kim Dickens’ Madison had a doozy of a choice to make on Sunday’s “So Close, Yet So Far” episode of Fear the Walking Dead when her daughter Alicia wanted to go help a neighbor that was under attack. Madison opted for the more practical, less heroic option, keeping her family in the (relative) safety of their home while chaos reigned outside.

We spoke to Dickens about Madison’s big move, as well as the breakdown she had just a few minutes before in the bathroom, and getting her first big zombie kill of the apocalypse. (Also make sure to check out our Q&A with Fear showrunner Dave Erickson.)

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You have this big action scene were you get to bash in the zombie principal’s head with a fire extinguisher. Tell me about getting to do a big physical scene and wailing that thing around.

KIM DICKENS: Why was that so fun? That’s the question. Should I admit that it’s really fun to kill the zombies?[Laughs] You know, I’m an actor, and we get to pretend, and this has been a really new challenge for me to do a lot of this action stuff — and granted, it’s not hanging from an airplane or any super skilled stunt or anything. We’re playing very real characters in these very heightened moments and, you know, she certainly doesn’t know how to fight or kill.

With that said, it’s still really fun and really challenging to choreograph and execute these fight scenes and stunt scenes, and it was really fun. So much so that I get a little bit, like, “Oh, I just have dialogue scenes today?” I think it was exciting for all of us to get to play that intensity and to get the chance to do it ourselves. I thought it looked pretty good. I liked the use of the fire extinguisher.

That’s quick thinking, woman!

Yeah! She’s quick. She’s quick on her feet. She makes tough decisions quickly, that’s for sure.

You have a scene after you escape from the school and the zombie principal and you’re washing the blood out of your clothes in the bathtub, and Madison just breaks down for a second. What’s going through her head then and why does it all come out in that moment?

It is washing the blood out. It’s hard to sort of rationalize your way out of that. I think in the moment, what happens, it was a life or death moment for her where she made a quick decision, and then that moment where she’s alone. She certainly had to walk in and hide it from her children, and she ends up hiding it from Travis as well.

But to be alone there with the blood of your friend on your jacket, and washing it out, and knowing what you’ve just done was…I think it destroyed her and broke her in that moment, and how she will psychologically reconcile that for herself without knowing if this person could be cured or if this person was dead or really dangerous or whatever? I think those are interesting psychological moments to play out for our character.

And in the moment, during that scene, Travis called, and he can’t get home, and that just breaks her further, you know? First of all, I can’t tell him what has just happened, and he may not make it home, and we don’t know what this is, and it’s horrifying, and I think as strong as Madison is, she’s going to have moments that break her.

There’s that big moment at the end where Madison will not let Alicia go help a neighbor that’s being attacked by the bouncy castle or whatever. We’re used to seeing the typical hero move where someone goes into danger against impossible odds to save someone, but this was far more realistic where Madison actually refuses to go help. I found that really interesting because now we’re getting into an area where Madison is going to have to decide what to risk, and when to risk it, and whom to risk it for, so tell me about that choice she makes there.

Obviously, she’s just had to wrestle with the undead at the school, and I think it’s the decision you make. The most important thing to Madison, I think, is to keep her children safe at this point, and she has to make that type of decision. Again, our instinct is to help, is to help our neighbor, is to help our friends — but she already knows that that could be dangerous. So it’s a tough decision, but I think that’s what makes this genre so compelling. It’s an innate sort of fear that we have, or what would we do if we can’t protect ourselves? Therefore we’re not protected by the people we think are protecting us. What would we do there? And I think the tigress comes out. That’s protecting her cubs.

Also make sure to check out our episode react with showrunner Dave Erickson. And for more Fear the Walking Dead intel, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

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Fear the Walking Dead

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