Spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet watched Fear the Walking Dead's midseason finale.
Fear the Walking Dead served up the second of Season 4's massive, game-changing deaths when it was revealed in the midseason finale that Kim Dickens' Madison Clark had sacrificed herself to save Nick and Alicia. Her death was expected, given how the season played out, but the outcome was still devastating to behold. And it sounds like Dickens herself has had a difficult time dealing with the story taking that unfortunate turn. In her words:
Well, it was shocking. Obviously it was shocking to me and it was disappointing. It was heartbreaking. I have loved this character, I've loved playing this character, I've loved this show, and I'm so proud to have been a strong female empowered lead of a genre show. They're usually led by male leads, and it was just such an honor to have this special experience of being that lead female calling the shots. And also, I'm not in my 20s or not in my 30s, mind you. She was a mother too --- a mother who was ferocious, and I just thought it was just such an honor to get to play her. I also thought there was so many more stories to tell and so many more places to go, so I was initially shocked and disappointed and heartbroken. But you know, it's in the hands of the writers and the producers, and that's the fate that befalls so many of the characters in this genre.
That should settle things for anyone who might have thought it was Kim Dickens who spearheaded the choice to take Madison out of the running for the rest of Season 4's most current timeline. While Frank Dillane's interest in branching out was indeed the reason why Fear the Walking Dead killed off Nick Clark, Madison's death was one fully set in (tomb)stone by the show's creative team, which includes first-year showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg, and Walking Dead franchise overseer Scott Gimple.
Which means it was all the more shocking and heartbreaking for her to deal with as the season went on. As Kim Dickens put it to EW, she actually found out about Madison's death a month before Season 4 went into production, so every Madison scene in the half-season is one where Dickens was fully aware of her character's impending doom. Which helps to make those moments even more emotionally disquieting, since Madison was in full-on optimism mode for almost all of it, not counting her initial meeting with Maggie Grace's Al.
But while Kim Dickens may not be fully content with her off-the-show status now, the actress can at least come to understand Madison's death from a narrative perspective, and how it can benefit things in the long run. According to Dickens:
Basically, the message is, no one's safe. And these kinds of deaths will ultimately propel the story of the other characters into other places. It's part of the genre, it's part of the storytelling device, and I just have to wrap my head around it and go into production.
Kim Dickens also said that she thinks it was a bold move to kill Madison off, and that it will send the story "into a spin." That said, she also claimed she doesn't know anything about where the second half of the season is heading and hasn't even seen any scripts. So I guess that means we won't be seeing Madison at all when Season 4 returns, which probably also means no more Nick.
Fear the Walking Dead will return to AMC audiences for the second half of Season 4 on Sunday, August 12, at 9:00 p.m. ET. Anyone in need of something else to watch in the meantime should hit up our summer premiere schedule.