Major Fear the Walking Dead spoilers are below, so be sure to catch up before reading on.
Once again, it appears as if a major character within the Walking Dead universe will have to pay the ultimate price after trying to save children that didn't necessarily deserve it. This time around, it's Alycia Debnam-Carey's Alicia Clark who looks to be on the chopping block, meaning the show might soon be losing its last remaining character that's been there since it all started.
Certainly, showrunners Ian Goldberg and Andrew Chambliss could be fooling fans into believing the worst about Fear the Walking Dead's most accomplished survivor. However, I'm not so optimistic about Alicia's future, even in such a hope-driven season. Let's go through some of the biggest questions left over from this week's episode, "Still Standing."
How Did Alicia Potentially Set Up Her Own Death?
Having already lost her older brother Nick to a semi-random act of violence, Alicia has made a steely vow out of keeping Annie, Dylan and the rest of the children safe. In Episode 7, she even admitted to Annie the following part of her motivation:
I have to do something good to make up for what I did.
It's likely Alicia didn't mean sacrificing her own survival, but that's exactly what happened during her one-woman stance against the small walker herd that infiltrated the kids' fenced-in safe haven. She was taking out zombies one by one as they came through, but she unfortunately wasn't being careful enough about looking for the radiation-detecting dosimeters hanging around their necks.
Upon dislodging her makeshift weapon from one walker's skull – a really gross one that had one eyeball just dangling out of it like a lone grape on the vine – Alicia took a slo-mo face full of blood and soon discovered that she'd just put down one of the irradiated walkers. She didn't let it slow her down exactly, but it was clear through the rest of the episode that she knew the worst case scenario behind her actions.
Could Alicia Survive Without Any Consequences?
The answer to that question relies on how much real-world science Fear the Walking Dead's writers decide to rely on. Or whether or not the show manages to explain away Alicia's circumstances in some other way. You know, like maybe the Clark family has a specific gene in their DNA that just doesn't get affected by nuclear mutations.
I can't imagine anyone involved with this creative team would go that route, though, so I think fans should quickly grow accustomed to the fact that Alicia's days on Fear the Walking Dead are even more numbered than they appeared to be before the episode aired. Though for what it's worth, we're obviously not sure just how large or small that number could be.
For a more hopeful take on things, though, Karen David's introduction as Grace was seemingly a doomsday call to anyone in that area of Texas, with her introducing the super-dangerous threat of the nearby nuclear reactor's impending meltdown. But by the end of this episode, Morgan had convinced her to leave behind her frustrating efforts at the plant in order to head off with his group.
If Grace is able to look at taking off as a temporary new lease on life, then maybe Alicia could indeed be around for the long haul. Or maybe the show will have a time jump after the midseason finale in which her fate has already been sealed for months. Hard to tell with this franchise.
Will Alicia Stay With The Group?
Alicia's conversation with Morgan in the final minutes of the episode offered up the idea that she may choose not to reconnect with Morgan and the others. Clearly she wasn't going to fess up over the radio about getting blasted with infected blood, but Alicia also pointedly didn't say where she was just before the air raid sirens started up.
She was told that the kids were back at the truck stop and that everyone else was also safe and would soon be back together, confirming that her efforts weren't for naught. So Alicia might also decide that the group would be better off making the escape trip without her.
Knowing that she is likely already going to die a terrible death in the near future, Alicia may try to honor her mother Madison's spirit by sacrificing herself in some way for the greater good. Hopefully in a way that causes less of a backlash than the one that came after Kim Dickens was killed off in Season 4.
Strengthening that logic is her conversation with Annie early on in the episode, in which Alicia was trying to convince the teen to leave.
You have to know when to go, Annie.
Will Alicia end up immediately reflecting on that advice herself by choosing to stick out the rest of her days on her own? If anyone could figure out a way to outlast radiation poisoning, it might as well be her.
On the flip side to all that, Alicia might very well decide to make her way back to the others, though what happens then is anyone's guess. She doesn't seem like the kind of character who would keep her fate a secret until the end, knowing it would endanger everyone else. So I'm guessing some uncomfortable conversations are on the way in the midseason finale one way or the other.
Other Thoughts From The Episode
The dialogue exchange most in need of a quick rewrite....
_Strand: Nice work. _
_Lucy: We're not finished yet. _
_Charlie: Let's get to work. _
Maynard G. Krebs is still spinning in his grave.
How in the world is Dwight going to get any kind of closure now that he knows everything? Is he actually leaving the show soon? Or will they find Sherry in time to keep him around for the plane ride?
I'm so glad that Al dropped that confession on June about Isabelle, veiled as it was. But June didn't do any major dot-connecting between Al's knowledge about the fuel and the timing of meeting her new love. June should have been like, "Wait, you met one of the helicopter people? Why the fuck are you only saying this now?"
Of all the disturbing situations that Fear the Walking Dead has shown viewers, I think I'd mentally be freaked out the most if I was caught in Strand and Charlie's tent-like situation, where walkers were pressing up against the balloon from all sides. The squeaky-squelchy sounds would get to me even if the sights wouldn't.
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET, with the Season 5 summer finale airing on July 21.