Well no one was expecting that, even from a franchise known for high-profile character deaths.
In the opening minutes of the second hour of the two-hour Season 3 premiere of Fear the Walking Dead, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Travis (Cliff Curtis) were being choppered away to safety following chaos at an army base.
But Fear the Walking Dead — which may be even bleaker than its mothership — didn't keep a feeling of safety for long. Before the opening credits could even roll, bullets hit the helicopter, taking out the co-pilot and hitting Travis in the neck. Stunned, Travis' eyes went wide as dinner plates as he registered what had just happened. And that's when Travis opened the door of the helicopter and unbuckled himself, seemingly ready to fling himself out of the whirlybird because... well, it's not exactly clear.
Alicia raced to her surrogate dad's aid only to see another problem — a nasty wound in Travis' side. Sensing no hope for Travis, she paused and let Travis go. OUT OF THE HELICOPTER AND ONTO THE ROCKY HILLS BELOW.
Good lord, that's one way to put a jolt back into the series that's been overshadowed by The Walking Dead! But really, what happened? Would the show have the guts to off one of its main characters like that? What was the purpose of the scene other than to kill a favorite character? Who was shooting at the helicopter? There are so many questions and, sadly, so few answers regarding this major turn of events.
But the most important question is whether or not Travis is dead. Travis doesn't appear in the rest of the episode, leaving his fate up in the air. But come on, if you fall from that height onto that terrain? You're a pancake. A dead pancake. The Walking Dead pulled wool over our eyes with that near-death dumpster scene with Glenn (Steven Yeun), but from the way Travis' scene was shot, there can be no doubt.
Or can there?
"On these shows, until I see a dead body...," Colman Domingo, who plays Strand, told TVGuide.com before the premiere in regards to the possibility that Daniel Salazar (Ruben Bladés) was still alive. It's the old refrain on television. Without a corpse, we should always assume the character isn't dead.
Curtis also weighed in on Salazar's disappearance at the time, and said something similar. "You respect the genre, and with a character as strong as that [you assume he's not dead]." That should also apply to Travis, right?
But that was then. What about now? This week, TVGuide.com asked Kim Dickens, who plays Madison, if Travis was really dead. "I certainly don't know," Dickens said. "But it gives me hope when we don't see the body."
Sounds like everyone knows the company line. Do you think Travis is dead?
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on AMC.