The Fear the Walking Dead showrunners on the return of a familiar face
Warning: This article contains spoilers for "Six Hours," Sunday's episode of Fear the Walking Dead.
Fear the Walking Dead brought an actor (if not a character) back from the dead on Sunday night's "Six Hours" episode.
Demetrius Grosse — who in the season 6 premiere played Emile, a bounty hunter hired by Virginia (Colby Minifie) to track down Morgan Jones (Lennie James) and stick his zombified head in a box, only to have his own head stuffed inside — returned to the show playing Emile's twin brother, Josiah.
The reveal happened in dramatic fashion as Josiah opened the box labeled "Morgan Jones" and pulled out Emile's head, the two Demetrius Grosses staring at each other — one human, one zombie. The return of Grosse and the appearance of Emile's sibling comes after Fear showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg hinted to EW a year ago that such a twist could be in the works after they were blown away by Grosse's original performance.
That was far from the only drama in the episode, as we checked in with Morgan, Grace (Karen David), and baby Mo a few months after the blasts, with Grace in the depths of despair that she predicted when she tried to get Morgan to agree to a suicide pact as the bombs fell. The trio eventually tried to drive out of the blast radius before having their baby and car stolen by a couple mourning the loss of their own child (whom it turned out the dad killed, stuffing the zombified version of it into a suitcase — yikes!).
We spoke to Chambliss and Goldberg about Grace's mental state, the zombie baby in the suitcase, the reappearance of a familiar face, and what to expect next on the show.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How close is Grace to just giving up or taking her own life when she is in the depths of despair in this episode? When you're literally screaming to no one, "I don't want to be here anymore," that's not a good sign. How close does she get to ending it?
IAN GOLDBERG: I think very close. You said at that moment when she's screaming that she doesn't want to be here anymore — that's a pretty clear window into her psyche. And I think it is also a real credit to Karen David's performance. With her reaction when she's left alone on the sub with the baby and reacting to her cries, we can tell she is just desperate and angry and emotionally crushed. And this is something she was feeling at the end of season 6, when she and Morgan nearly ended their lives together. Grace even then said she didn't want to carry on living, knowing what was coming. And, of course, hearing baby Mo's cries pulled both her and Morgan out of that moment.
But even if you look back to season 6, as Morgan was cradling a baby, he had a very different reaction to her than Grace did. Even then you could see Grace was uncertain and still in that desperate place. That has only continued and grown more desperate and sad for her as time's gone on. All the things she predicted would come true have come true.
Speaking of babies, you guys decided not to show us zombie baby Emma in the suitcase. Why not rattle our brains with that visual? I'm curious if you guys discussed that — the pros and cons of opening up that case and showing us, or just leaving it where you did.
ANDREW CHAMBLISS: We did discuss it but ultimately decided that the unseen was probably more frightening than anything we could create. And in terms of what that moment did for Morgan in the story, when he realized what was in the suitcase, it was kind of the cautionary tale of what could happen to him and this family he's building now if he and Grace end up going down the same path that Bea [Maren Lord] and Fred [Derek Richardson] did. So I think for Morgan, it also remained more powerful not to see it. He could imagine it as though it were his own child in there.
I remember talking to you guys a year ago after watching 601, and I was like, "Oh my God, this bounty hunter Emile is such a cool character," but you killed him right off. And you all said, "Oh yeah, but this actor Demetrius Grosse was awesome. We're maybe going to look at a way to get him back." So what can you tell us about this guy we meet at the end of episode 702?
GOLDBERG: Well, he sure looks a lot like Emile. [Laughs] We could say that what we told you last year was true. We absolutely fell in love with Demetrius Grosse's portrayal of the character of Emile. And that's why if you go back and watch that episode, there was a line when Emile is at the campfire at the beginning where he talks about the beans being his brother's recipe. We intentionally did that then because in our back pocket, we always knew we wanted to have this moment.
And the moment we wrote that, we wanted to have the moment later where a hand reached into the box carrying that head, held it up, and we saw that it was the same face staring back at the head. That's where the initial inspiration was. Beyond that, we will learn more about this character, Josiah. We will see more of him. But for now, that's all I'll say, because there's a lot of fun stuff with him to come.
How did Josiah come into contact with that Morgan Jones box? Was that a gift from Virginia? Did he locate it somewhere? Is that something you guys are going to explore?
CHAMBLISS: We will definitely explore that. If you recall, one of Emile's talents was tracking down walkers and finding people, and perhaps his brother shares some of those skills.
What can you tease about what's coming up next week on Fear?
GOLDBERG: When we last saw John Dorie [Garret Dillahunt] and June [Jenna Elfman], in season 6, they were taking refuge in the bunker where Teddy [John Glover] had intended to bring Dakota [Zoe Margaret Colletti]. And that's where we're going to find them in episode 703. We'll see John Dorie wrestling with some old wounds, some old ghosts.
CHAMBLISS: When we approach these anthology-style episodes, we're always looking for a flavor to give each one. And I would say this episode is about as close to the Fear the Walking Dead version of a horror movie as we've ever done.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
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