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This season of Fear the Walking Dead has obviously been more about hope and goodwill than previous years. To that end, it seems like showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg are trying to invoke some precisely directed hope and goodwill in viewers by teasing the possibility of Madison Clark's survival, by way of a selection of imagery-filled trees. From the flames at the base of the trees to the message of "You're still here," the trees seem to be pointing in a pretty specific direction.
While Alicia is fully onboard with the theory that these trees have a deeper meaning than just being roadside attractions, it appears not everyone shares that optimism. In the exclusive clip below, Alicia is riding with Strand and new character Wes (Colby Hollman), and it's the latter who questions Alicia's interests. Check it out!
Anytime someone says, "Don't take this the wrong way," you just know they're about to say something that can ONLY be taken the wrong way. Especially when it's a question that basically amounts to: "You know that thing you really care about? Wouldn't it be smarter to care about other stuff instead of that, like important stuff?" Granted, Wes doesn't know Alicia like Strand does, so he's not so aware of how the weight of his words might squash Alicia's relatively newfound inner peace.
For her part, Alicia doesn't get upset with Wes or send off any big signals during the clip that might clue him in on how she's feeling. I mean, she does directly state what she's thinking, which he tries to refute, but I can understand that from his perspective, he probably just wants to balance her expectations so she doesn't fall face-first into disappointment upon discovering (or not) the source of the painted-trees messages.
Wes just recently went through his own crushing frustration at the hands of Matt Frewer's villainous Logan, whose group of lackey henchman are trying to figure out where the newer sources of gasoline are. Dwight went through his own sordid scenario in last week's episode, where he fully turned a new leaf by letting his attacker live, and also by letting Daniel cut his hair and shave his face.
Still, that doesn't exactly give Wes the right to scoff at Alicia wondering about how and why the trees were created. His simplistic reasoning that it's "just paint" is rather insulting, since she clearly wasn't asking about the kind of supplies that were used. Wes is someone who has lost his way of finding magic in everyday life, though it's possible he could come back around to it the way Alicia has.
If Alicia discovers that Madison did survive, and that has been marking those trees, it will no doubt be the biggest victory of her still-young life. But if she finds out that the source is just some random survivor that doesn't have any unique insights into the human psyche, it may very well destroy whatever positivity she has left. If that would be the case, I kind of hope she never finds out what the trees are about.
But then I also want Wes' whole "nothing ever ends well" attitude to get completely flipped around so that he can stop raining on other people's parades. If that involves Madison showing up with a big umbrella, so be it.
Where do you all think this plotline is going? Do you think the potentially dying Alicia is right to keep searching for the source of the trees, or should she follow Wes in having a downcast attitude about everything? Let us know below.
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET.