(Warning! Spoilers for the Season 3 premiere of Fear the Walking Dead past this point)
Season 3 of Fear the Walking Dead started in a surprising place, skipping ahead from what we last saw Season 2, which ended with Madison (Kim Dickens) and Alicia Clark (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis) heading north to the border in search of Nick Clark (Frank Dillane), who got ambushed by militiamen at the border and taken captive. The first scene of Season 3 found the trio already having been taken captive by that very same militia, and the family was quickly reunited, albeit under very grim circumstances.
They were being held by some paramilitary creeps who murdered their prisoners and placed bets on how long it would take for them to zombify. The group was led by Troy Otto (Daniel Sharman), who found himself on the wrong end of Madison's teaspoon when an escape attempt went down. Troy's seemingly more level-headed brother, Jake (Sam Underwood), took mercy on the family (or saw how valuable they could be) and invited them back to his father's ranch.
But tragedy struck on the way to the ranch when the helicopter carrying Jake, Travis and Alicia came under fire from unknown assailants and Travis got hit. He fell out of the chopper, seemingly to his death.
This broke Madison, who finally had her whole family back only to have the man she loved taken from her. But when she got a good look at the ranch and Russell (Dayton Callie), the man who runs it, she decided that she's going to take over. This is going to be the Travis Manawa Memorial Ranch, owned and operated by the Clark family.
TVGuide.com spoke to Kim Dickens about Madison's emotional journey, that disgusting spoon-in-the-eye sequence, and if Travis is really dead.
It was jarring the way the season opened with Madison and Travis and Alicia in captivity. Will we go back and see how they got scooped up by the militia?
No, I don't think so. I think that story's not as important. I think we knew the characters were heading to the border because we heard that Nick had been fleeing north, and invariably we stumble upon the militia. Yeah, it's a pretty jarring way to start the show, and starts off what on the page read as a very epic story from the first seconds in.
Do you know why the choice was made to skip forward in time like that?
I don't. We actually didn't skip that much time. I would imagine it was a number of hours, or maybe a day, but I can't say. I didn't really question it with the writers. Sometimes you have to leave things to the imagination. I do think it was an interesting twist to then see Nick and Luciana where Travis was taken, because then you realize we'd stumbled upon the same place we'd been in the night before.
What was it like doing that eyeball spoon scene? That was really gross.
It was really gross, right? I was so excited when I read that. We shot that for the better part of two days, that whole sequence. It was quite an extensive, long fight. We both did most all of our stunts, so it was a pretty intense few days. The spoon gag was super fun to do. We had a rig that was put on his face so that I could actually put the spoon in it and move the fake eyeball around. There were a lot of laughs about that one. It was so gross and so real.
I'm so glad that Madison is that quick on her feet to grab something from the tea set to use as a weapon. It was a fun sequence to do, and I love how it went from "wow, gross, cool" to the moment where she has him with that spoon in his eye and she's surrounded by militia and then is just broken to the point where she says "I just want my family back." I love that that's the underlying motivation of everything. It's just pure survival.
Madison has suffered so much loss both before and during the apocalypse. How is she going to weather Travis' apparent death and how will this change things for her going forward?
It's a primal loss for her. You see Madison's grief, and she definitely tries to hide some of it, keep it private, but I tried to keep it in every scene. Obviously we get busy and propel story on, but I never wanted to have Madison forget that he was missing. I tried to layer it in. I think for Madison it made her realize they will survive now because too much has been sacrificed, namely Travis, who sacrificed to get them to that ranch and they're gonna take it over.
So they're going to be sticking around at the ranch for a while, is what you're saying.
Yeah, they realize that this is the safest place they're going to get. These people were doomsday preppers who were preparing for the fall of democracy, so they've kind of situated themselves in a really good place for the rise of the dead and the apocalypse. It really doesn't get any better than that, and Madison sees that right off the bat. It's even better than where Thomas Abigail lived. They have farmland and weapons and security. Madison realizes that this is an opportunity for them.
Before the season started, Cliff and Colman both told me that according to the rules of the genre, until you see the body, don't assume that a character is dead. They were talking about Daniel Salazar (Ruben Bladés), but as we see after Episode 2, that could apply to somebody else as well.
It could! I think so. I think that's what they say. I certainly don't know, but it gives me hope when we don't see the bodies. I like when we don't see the bodies.
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.