Fear the Walking Dead showrunner on that rare happy ending
Let’s face it — there’s a lot of doom and gloom in the zombie apocalypse. Humanity has fallen by the wayside, everyone is fighting for limited resources, and, oh yeah, PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO EAT YOU! So it’s rare to have a lighter moment, but that’s just what we got at the end of Sunday’s “La Serpiente” episode of Fear the Walking Dead as Madison, Strand, and Walker were seen riding off into the sunset with their huge tanker of water for the ranch.
But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t drama along the way. Strand blew stuff up, and before Madison secured that water in a promised trade for guns with the dam, Walker was on his way back with plans to kick her family — and everyone else that was not part of the Black Hat Reservation — off the ranch. We spoke with showrunner Dave Erickson about all of that, as well as what’s coming up next.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, how did the actors feel about crawling through that sewer tunnel filled with God knows what?
DAVE ERICKSON: Kim’s tough and she does 99 percent of her own stunts, and she’s not afraid to get dirty. We actually put her through quite a lot over the remainder of the back half. So no, I didn’t get any calls. And it was a very specifically designed muck, but they were very good sports about it.
Daniel tells Strand near the end that if what he is planning benefits both of them, he’ll look away. Is that where those two are at now, where Daniel doesn’t trust Strand in the least, but if they can find mutually beneficial ground, then okay?
This is an interesting episode because it’s one of the few episodes — perhaps the only episode we’ve done — where there’s something of a happy ending. They’re sort of driving off into the sunset. But yeah, there’s mutual interest, and from Strand’s perspective, he’s having reconnected now with Madison and he wants to do right by her. She’s the one person left who he can actually be of some service to and the one person left who he actually likes and has affections for.
And for Salazar, it’s a similar dynamic where he’s decided he’s going to protect Lola. He’s put all of his eggs in that basket and he’s tried to convince her that there is danger and she needs to take it seriously. He’s allowing Strand to be that agent because the assumption is whatever he’s going to do to secure this exchange — you know, guns for water — it’s going to benefit both of them, and also it might get him a little bit closer to his daughter.
Meaning yet another reunion could be around the corner.
He’s in a weird place being Daniel because I think he’s reassured and he’s happy to have discovered that Ofelia is alive, but he also really has misgivings about what is best for her. And is it better to reunite with her, or is it better to let her live safely north of the border? He assumes that is relative safety, or should he drag her back into his world knowing what that will lead to ultimately? So he’s in a bit of an interesting emotional quagmire.
Before they get the water, Walker tells Strand he’s going to basically kick the other side off the ranch because Madison gambled and lost. Let’s play a game of What If? Does he follow through with that if they don’t get that tanker?
Yes. Look, Walker is pretty exact in what he says, and I do think that he saw an opportunity to take over the ranch — under the auspices of this truce, but they would’ve taken it by force. They would’ve taken it through violence had Madison not sacrificed Otto. And when he needs to be mercenary, when he needs to be very disciplined and cold, he can be. Unlike the relationship between Madison and Strand, Walker and Madison are not friends. This is an alliance based on necessity.
In that scenario, what he’s seeing is two people — Madison, and then Strand to some degree — who are willing to compromise the greater good to protect the individual. Strand does it, and for all intents and purposes, Madison did it in the preceding episode. She was willing to really compromise the possibility of this water exchange — water that they knew they had, that they could’ve taken back, that they could’ve gotten from the trading post — and she compromised that in order to protect Strand.
And to get even more water.
Yes, she has a larger plan. She has a larger agenda. She thinks that the dam can be the salvation for everyone, but there were no guarantees when she brokered that deal to save Strand. And when things go sideways at the dam, yes. I think Walker’s attitude is that Okay, you know what? You made your bed, now you lie in it. I’m going to go take care of my people. So had she not rolled up with that water tank, I think his intention was to make his way back and then he would’ve gone and talked to Crazy Dog, and they would have expelled everyone.
Now they do have the water, but what kind of ranch are they coming back to? It seems like they were taking steps towards peace there with the digging at the end of the premiere.
It is going to be worse, not better, by the time they get there. And it may or may not involve Troy.
For more Fear the Walking Dead intel, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.