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Spoilers below for anyone who hasn’t yet watched Fear the Walking Dead’s latest episode.
Remember how long The Walking Dead took to tease out its big helicopter mystery? Well in just four episodes, Fear the Walking Dead not only introduced a new piece of connective tissue for that Rick-related group, but has also now utilized one of that group’s helicopters. That, coupled with the reveal of a larger group of potentially villainous kids and the assumed loss of Daniel’s plane, gave fans quite the hectic episode.
CinemaBlend had the pleasure of talking with star Colman Domingo about "Skidmark" and all of the big surprises and outcomes that were revealed therein. He obviously couldn't divulge a bunch of secrets, but he told us what he could, so let's dive in.
Where Did Fear The Walking Dead's New Kid Characters Come From?
As we learned last week, this season's youngest new additions – Max, Annie and Dylan – were responsible for crafting all those walker roadblocks, and it was revealed in "Skidmark" that they weren't working alone. In fact, their youthful group is quite large and could potentially be a formidable threat to anyone standing in their way, such as Morgan and Alicia, non-coincidentally.
It was confirmed that most or all of these scraggly, weapon-toting survivors were the children of the adults that were discovered in Episode 2 after Grace dropped her radiated info-bomb on everyone. I asked Colman Domingo about the franchise's penchant for bringing in twisted child characters, and he told me this:
I mean, think about it. If something happened to any of us – if there was an apocalypse or something ended the world now – the adults would be jacked up. So of course children are way more twisted with that, the way they can cope with it. So I think it makes sense that children are a bit more twisted in the things they do. That statement 'Children do the darnedest things' – an addendum should be added: 'especially in the apocalypse.'
The way Colman Domingo put it, fans shouldn't expect to see all of these kids exiting the show in short order, either. After all, this is the biggest group of in-need survivors that Morgan & Co. have come across, so they wouldn't be fulfilling their mission if they just peacefully parted ways already. They seemed mighty freaked out by the group we'll talk about next, so that has to pay off in a big way, right?
Here's what Colman Domingo said when I asked if Victor Strand was going to get a chance to mix it up with these socially awkward ruffians:
I think at some point, there will be some sort of conversion, and I think that's the nature of our show. We're all on a mission trying to find each other and get back to each other again. And in the middle are these children as well. So our family, I think if they are linked to each other, I think that they've been a part of our mission in a way. Trying to do for others and it's sort of biting us in the ass a little bit. But I think they're a bridge for all of this.
So will Morgan, Strand, Alicia and the rest be able to help these kids out in ways that matter, thus justifying the mission statement at the heart of Season 5? Or will everyone's efforts fail so spectacularly that the protagonists give up on their humanitarian ideals?
What Up With Fear The Walking Dead's Helicopter Reveal?
Following up on Al's discovery of the uniformed group that took her captive, Fear the Walking Dead went so far as to introduce the very same kind of helicopter that was shown taking Rick and Jadis away on The Walking Dead in the first half of Season 9. (Notice the "A" symbol was visible for the briefest of moments.) It was a huge surprise to both viewers and all the characters who witnessed it from below, especially Morgan and Alicia.
Understandably, Colman Domingo couldn't even get minutely forthcoming about where Fear the Walking Dead is taking its own helicopter mystery or how it might connect to either The Walking Dead Season 10 or the upcoming Rick Grimes movies, or even the in-development third Dead show. But here's what he did tell me:
Can I speak to the helicopter? No. [Laughs.] Of course I can't! But what I can say is, as you've seen even with the plane crash at the top of the season, I think that the writers have been inspired to go a bit more daring. You know, we just had a western centerpiece. I think that that we're trying to find interesting ways to tell this story, and exhausting all possibilities and using all possible modes of transportation. All modes of weather [or climate] effects, and Texas offers so much. So I think that they're using everything that they can.
It's purposefully hard to infer any specific details from Colman Domingo's answer there, but I think his words imply that showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg have been able to expand their bag of tricks in Season 5, particularly in a "one good skybound form of transportation deserves another." As well, it doesn't sound at all like the helicopter was thrown in there as half-conceived fan service, but rather that there are big plans in place for what's coming next.
How responsible were the helicopter people for what happened to the kids' parents, as well as many of the other happenings in the area? And how long are they going to be gone? I'm hoping for answers next week, if not wholly expecting them.
I joked about getting a moment where Strand sees the helicopter in the air and frustratedly complains about how those people get to fly while both of his own plane-related efforts came up short. Laughing, Colman Domingo said:
Who knows? Maybe there will be a moment.
For now, of course, there's no telling when or if the helicopter will make a return to Fear the Walking Dead. But if that group is indeed the cause of Althea's disappearance, then we can plan on seeing more chopper appearances in the coming weeks. (I really hope Al's situation doesn't get dragged out into the back half of Season 5, since it's a bummer not to see Maggie Grace every week.)
Are Fear The Walking Dead's Characters Done With Daniel's Plane?
After experiencing a big plane crash in the premiere, one might've thought the characters would have backed off of that form of travel, but Strand's recent goal has been to secure the plane belonging to Daniel Salazar, who wasn't all that willing to allow such things. In the end, Strand ending up using the plane to save Daniel's life, leading to the delectably disgusting sequence in which lines of walkers were demolished by the plane's propellers.
Though the plane's chances of being employed in a new mission seem dimly remote at best, it may one day rise to the sky again like a viscera-caked phoenix, though it may not be a literal airborne return. I assumed the plane was out of the picture when asking Colman Domingo what the group's next moves would be, but he was surprisingly hesitant to go there. His bemusedly enigmatic response:
You know, I wonder if... Maybe that's something I really can't speak on, because it may possibly still find a place in some way. It may possibly, or a part of it, or something like that. So I'll just leave it at that. . . . Inventive people, we can repurpose anything. You never know if that can be used as a train. [Laughs.]
All aboard the Walker-Slasher Express, everybody! I doubt we should expect to see planes become trains (and then automobiles?) in that precise format, but the point is, there's a lot more to salvage here than there was with the crashed first plane. The options aren't endless, but they're plentiful.
To go back to the magnificence of the plane's key effects sequence, I asked Colman Domingo about taking part in a moment I'd been waiting for since the subject of planes came up for Season 5.
Yeah, I was right there in the cockpit, so all that stuff flying by, I saw all that stuff. Fake body parts, prosthetics, blood, gore, you name it. But it seems very realistic when you're in it. So I think the way Victor Strand is responding is very honest. I think right now, we thought we'd seen in all in the apocalypse, but until you see walkers coming at you and being chopped up by propellers, you really haven't seen it all.
Sounds like a good day at work to me.
Are Strand And Daniel On Good Terms Now?
Finally, I had to ask Colman Domingo if this episode put an end to the rift between Strand and Daniel as the characters move forward, whether it's together or alone. Here's what he told me:
I think they have to be at a new place now. Victor Strand has absolutely put himself on the line. Even after this sort of a heist in getting the plane, he actually used it to save Daniel, so I thought that he has proven himself to Daniel. That he is a changed man, and that he's willing to go out of his way for others and put himself in the middle of the firing squad.
Now, does that definitively mean that there won't be another fork in the road that pits the two characters on opposite ends of a situation? Of course not, because Strand messes up and Daniel takes everything personally. But I'm getting the impression that Fear the Walking Dead's good guys will need to fully align in order to take on the looming threats that are building up around them. Let's get Daniel and Dwight in a scene together now that the latter is back in the mix.