Spoilers below for the two-part midseason premiere of Fear the Walking Dead Season 3. If you haven't already watched, come back once you have.
Throughout Fear the Walking Dead's run so far, Frank Dillane's Nick Clark has made choices both great and terrible moving from group to group, and he dropped some major whoppers in the doubled-up midseason premiere. First, he thwarted Troy's attempt to go out in a blaze of glory and corpses, and then Nick confessed to having killed Troy's father Jeremiah. And later, he was somewhat strong-armed into agreeing to side with the rancher militia. When showrunner Dave Erickson spoke with CinemaBlend about the back half of Season 3, I asked about Nick's struggles in choosing sides, and here's what the showrunner told me.
Frank, as an actor, had trouble walking that line as well. He finds himself sort of the center of the remnants of the militia, thinking that he did stand up, that he stood by Troy, and that he's one of them. And he has to embrace that, even though, objectively, he would be siding with the Nation. He thinks that their gripes, that their reasons for war are far more valid than the ranchers' might be. But he also doesn't want it to lead to bloodshed, so he's almost like an undercover agent in some respects, in trying to deflect and keep the remaining militia and the rest of the group from going after the Native Americans. Even in the very end, when they're on the verge of reigniting this war, he's looking for a way out.
Nick is definitely stuck between a rock and a hard place, where the rock and the hard place both have instincts to kill the other. Of course, since he's only been privy to the "Broke Jaw Ranch vs. the Nation" antagonism for a temporary spell, he's able to view the situation from more of a big picture angle, and he can see the inanity behind the militia trying to restart any more potentially deadly skirmishes with Walker's crew. Especially since he straight up murdered Jeremiah in order to usher in something resembling peace between the two factions. And neither the water shortage nor the well situation are helping things.
Not everyone knows what Nick did, obviously, and it's pretty interesting that Troy didn't share Nick's big secret with the rest of the ranchers. (Especially his brother Jake, who is basically doing everything that everyone else tells him to do.) Still, even though Nick did kill Jeremiah, he outwardly appears to be siding with the militia every step of the way, so there's not much of a reason for them to suspect him of any "double agent" intentions. At this point, even if Troy came back and told everyone that Jeremiah's death is on Nick and Madison's hands, Nick could probably fake his way out of it and make Troy look like a liar. Although the way he keeps trying to pacify situations would clue them in a bit more.
But then, it might not even come to that. The last thing we see during Episode 10, "The Diviner," is Alicia working with the Native Americans in trying to dig a new well, which comes just as Nick and the militia are approaching Ofelia's place. Instead of waging a new battle, both sides converge in the effort to find more water. During my talk with Dave Erickson, he brought up that moment as the one that seemingly does unite the two sides. Although he left things off ominously, hinting at more dangers on the way.
And hopefully that's where the completion of his story and Alicia's comes together in that episode, where a door is open for him, and he sees Alicia working with the rest of the Nation to dig this well. . . . And that act taken together, that act that draws everybody out makes them realize bloodshed is not going to be the answer. And very soon after, they're gonna realize that the enemies outside the fence are far worse.
Now, is he talking about threats like the zombies that haven't been very prevalent so far in Season 3? Or is he talking about other desperate folks still in the land of the living, such as a group like the distressed people who attempted a mutiny at the dam? We've got more info from Dave Erickson on the way. In the meantime, check out what the showrunner told us about whether or not Troy will return, as well as how Nick. Alicia and Madison's relationships are changing in the back half of Season 3.
With next week's episode drawing in its focus to a select few characters, Fear the Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see everything else that's heading to the small screen soon, check out our fall TV schedule.