Fear the Walking Dead’s decision to bring back Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) means the show will revisit one of season 4’s biggest and most controversial stories, which was Nick’s death. Played by Frank Dillane, the oldest of Madison’s two children met an untimely end at the beginning of season 4. His death was one of many important events that Madison has missed out on since her own “death” in the same season.
Year after supposedly dying in a fire at the baseball stadium, Madison is confirmed to be among the living in the Walking Dead universe. AMC has announced plans to bring the fan-favorite character back into the fold and make Dickens a series regular again for season 8. Madison is expected to appear first in Fear the Walking Dead season 7’s back half. Somehow, the show will have to answer some pressing questions related to how she survived the fire at the stadium, where she’s been all this time, and why it’s taken so long for her to reunite with the show’s main characters. And considering everything that’s occurred with Victor Strand (Colman Domingo), Virginia (Colbie Minifie), and the Pioneers, FTWD has quite a lot to catch Madison up on when she comes back.
Arguably the biggest event that Fear the Walking Dead will need to address upon Madison’s return is Nick’s death. In season 4, Nick killed Ennis, one of the leaders of the Vultures. In retaliation, his sister Charlie (Alexa Nisenson) found Nick and murdered him. Her actions initially made her an enemy of Luciana (Danay Garcia) and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), but the fact that she was a child (along with other factors) kept them from killing her. This tragedy hasn’t been brought up much in recent seasons, but having Madison around will force the show to revisit this moment, which created a great deal of controversy when it happened.
Even though it was Dillane’s choice to leave the series, the show was sharply criticized for killing off such a well-liked and important character. There’s also the matter of Charlie’s continued presence on the show, as many still disagree with the decision to make Nick’s killer a member of Morgan’s group. Both Alicia and Luciana have moved on and found ways to accept Charlie as one of their own. However, Fear the Walking Dead won’t be able to ignore what Charlie did once Madison returns. Unless Charlie meets her end before Madison re-enters the picture, some sort of confrontation over Nick’s murder appears inevitable.
Madison’s return promises much internal conflict for both her and Charlie in season 7’s back half or the beginning of season 8. There’s a strong chance that Madison will have some words for Alicia and the others when she discovers that they’ve been living peacefully with the person who killed Nick. Regardless, she could ultimately reach the same decision as Luciana and Alicia, but getting to that point could result in a major moral dilemma for her. As for Charlie, she had enough problems coping with her guilt in Fear the Walking Dead season 4, so seeing and interacting with Nick’s mother is sure to bring her emotional anguish to the surface once again.