madison fear the walking dead

Huge and depressing spoilers below for Fear the Walking Dead's second episode, titled "The New Frontier."

In horror shows, particularly those set in worlds overrun by zombies, audiences tend to clamor for big character deaths. Such a wish was granted during tonight's double-episode premiere of Fear the Walking Dead Season 3, as the freshly invigorated Travis was killed off in the episode's cold open. Star Kim Dickens gave CinemaBlend the details about how she felt when she learned about that tragic and shocking death.

I was completely surprised. I was just gobsmacked by it and disagreed with it, you know? But I'm not the writers; I don't understand story to that degree, and what it does. It will certainly be shocking. . . . But this is a genre, and this is the way to properly tell the story. We're always asking for it, all the characters. I mean, it just happens, but it's shocking.

It was one hell of a crazy scene to kick off Season 3's second installment, in which Travis and Alicia's helicopter took gunfire upon flying back to the show's newest location, with Travis taking a lethal bullet to the side of the neck. There wasn't much to do while in midair and under attack from an unknown source, so a Totally-In-Shock Travis opened the helicopter door and took one last crazy-eyed look around before falling backwards to his certain death. I mean, we assume it was "certain," although my disbelief was definitely stoked whenever new character Jake Otto (Sam Underwood) convinced Alicia that there was no way Travis could have survived. Kim Dickens sounded pretty convincing during our talk, however, so I'll remain in the Travis Is Dead camp for now.

What's not surprising about the surprising exit is that the actress wasn't so agreeable with it. Kim Dickens probably didn't react to the news quite as tearfully as Madison did whenever Alicia delivered the news, but it still had to be rough news, especially considering Cliff Curtis' narrative took him away from Dickens and the others for a chunk of last season.

Plus, it seemed like they would soon get a sense of unity again, too, before they got split up once more at the end of the premiere. And still, Travis big walker-destroying sequence made it seem like he was set up for more badassery in the future, but alas, it wasn't meant to be. (That spoon scene better not indicate Madison's impending doom, though.) Here's what Dickens told me about how she and the other actors were affected by Travis' death.

You know, honestly, we all adore each other and love being together. We love our stories together as a family and an extended family that we created, so we always miss it when we're separated, when any of the characters get separated out. So obviously the turn that happens is dealt as a blow that we have to deal with. But we're actors. We manage. It's the nature of our job, it's hard. We're a family. It's tough, it hurts.

Losing Travis in such a way - and having her grief overwhelmingly muted by Nick's complaints over Luciana's health -- will no doubt be the prime motivator in Madison's big change in her personality and motivations. (Check out what she said about those changes.) When Fear the Walking Dead started, Madison was at the head of a four-strong family, with Chris and Liza as the extended members, but now it's just her and her kids, and so their safety will likely become Madison's biggest necessity as the season unfolds. No matter what it takes, because like she told Alicia, they have to be stronger now.

Kim Dickens also shared with us why she didn't watch the big death scene being filmed, and shared that Cliff Curtis' absence from the show thankfully hasn't affected their personal relationship.

I wasn't on set for that scene because, you know, Cliff didn't want a lot of -- it's emotional to leave and everything -- so we all sort of said our goodbyes and had dinner and stuff together. We all had our process beforehand, and I've seen Cliff since, in L.A. We've spent time together since, so you know, we get all emotional about everything. [laughs]

How will tonight's big change affect Madison, the new characters, and Fear the Walking Dead in general? Stay tuned for more coverage from our interview with Kim Dickens. And you can catch up with the twist-driven show every Sunday night on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET. While waiting, head to our summer TV premiere schedule to see what else will be popping up on your TV soon.

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