The Walking Dead

Fear the Walking Dead’s True Villain Isn’t Strand – It’s Madison Clark

Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 has positioned Victor Strand as its main villain, but "Ofelia" hints at Madison being a much more shocking threat.

Fear the Walking Dead has its fair share of problems. There’s poor writing way too often, and there’s never been any consistency with the radiation from Teddy’s bomb. Even the recent prequel Dead in the Water caused problems in the Walking Dead universe. With all that said, one thing that FTWD has done really well for the past few seasons is subtly set up new story arcs.

In Season 5 fans were focused on Logan and Tank Town, but there were subtle hints that Virginia was coming. Then fans zeroed in on Virginia, but FTWD was already building up to Teddy and the nuclear submarine. The series is still dealing with the aftermath of that while Victor Strand has crossed the line from grifter to villain. Everyone’s attention has turned to him and the war for his tower. However, “Ofelia” gave fans the first hint that there’s someone else to be worried about — again.

“Ofelia” featured Daniel for the first time in Season 7, but despite Luciana’s best efforts, Daniel’s memory hadn’t gotten much better. His mind had decided that his late daughter Ofelia was still alive and needed help. Daniel snuck off of the submarine to search for her. Luciana and Wes went to find him, but Arno and his followers ended up capturing all three of them.

Arno proceeded to interrogate them about a weapons cache and nearly lowered Wes into a pack of walkers. Daniel — who was convinced that Arno was holding Ofelia captive — decided to make a deal. He pretended to tell Arno where the weapons were in exchange for his daughter. Arno agreed and sent his muscle after the weapons, which allowed Daniel, Luciana and Wes to escape. That’s when the real trouble started, because Daniel found out that Arno didn’t have Ofelia… and decided to punish him for lying.

He put Arno in a cage and lowered him into the aforementioned pack of walkers, causing him to be eaten alive. Before he died, though, Luciana briefly pulled him up, and that’s when he revealed that someone was releasing radiation-infected walkers out of a nuclear crater as weapons. The whole war for the tower will probably end when everyone has to come together against this new threat. But the real question is, who is the new villain behind it?

The new villain could be an entirely new character, or it might end up being the series’ original lead — Madison Clark. She will make her return at some point in Season 7B and will also be a series regular in Season 8. FTWD hasn’t revealed any details about Madison’s reappearance, but the timing is too much of a coincidence for her to not be a villain. That might sound like a huge twist for her character, but it’s not an unprecedented idea.

Dave Erickson served as co-creator and showrunner for FTWD in its first three seasons. When he departed, he spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about what he had planned for the series going forward, including his ideas for Madison. In a bit of a shocking statement, Erickson envisioned her transition from hero, to anti-hero, to “full-on villain” by the end of the series. He would have accomplished that by creating a rift between Nick and Madison, which was already brewing in Season 3.

That idea seems to have been recycled in Season 7 with some slight alterations. Rather than Madison versus Nick, it’s Alicia versus Victor in the war for the tower. In that context, it’s not an outlandish idea for Madison to be the real villain. Who knows what’s happened to her since she was last seen in the stadium, and with so many conflicts already in the works, it makes sense that she would make herself known upon her return and assert control over a chaotic series.

To see if Madison could return as a villain, tune into Fear the Walking Dead Season 7. New episodes air Sundays at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on AMC and are available to stream early on AMC+.

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