For anyone who hasn't yet watched Fear the Walking Dead's Season 4 premiere, which served as the big crossover episode with The Walking Dead, there are major spoilers below.
Instead of calling back to the explosive way Season 3 left off its main characters, Fear the Walking Dead kicked off its super-fun Season 4 with several different Walking Dead cameos that launched Morgan's crossover arc. Which is how we eventually met the tough and pragmatic Althea, the new survivor portrayed by Lost vet Maggie Grace. CinemaBlend spoke with the actress ahead of the premiere, and though she was tasked with being fairly tight-lipped by Fear's powers-that-be, I still learned several interesting facts about Althea, whose hand should permanently be "on the lever" as far as I'm concerned. Let's kick things off with what came before now.
The first thing we learn about Althea is that she drives a monster of a weaponized vehicle, but later, we learn that journalistic ideals are partially guiding her interactions with others. As we saw when she used a videocamera to interview John and (eventually) Morgan, Althea is clearly interested in collecting any remaining stories of human survival that she comes across. When I asked Maggie Grace about how Althea's motivations and her past on that front, here's what she told me:
I think they're certainly multi-layered. On one hand, history is rebooting, and what are we leaving for those who come after? On the other, I think there's a very practical side of warning various groups about others, and keeping tabs on how different societies are operating. Sharing that information can be quite helpful. And then on a personal level, I think it gives her meaning and a reason to get up in the morning. And it's who she is. It's who she's always been. So in more ways in one, she's picking up right where she left off before the apocalypse. . . . Before the world collapsed, she's one of the lucky ones that life prepared her to survive under these circumstances.
Althea is clearly someone with a lot of knowledge inside her head, with various levels all working together not only to keep her alive, but to keep a record of humanity alive. She's doing so not only by taking video records of people sharing their stories, but apparently by also sharing her information with others in the world. As well as warning them about thieves and other villainous miscreants out there, which probably includes whoever put the "51" and other numbered markers up. I wonder what Althea knows about that situation, and how much she'll be sharing with the Clark family. (For those wondering, Grace says Althea is all about them rechargeable batteries for her camera.)
While talking with Maggie Grace about how detail-oriented fans of the Walking Dead universe can often be, I mentioned having just such a fan moment when her character first arrived. She was referred to as "Al" and was wearing a ski cap with a nice round top, which immediately made me think of the comic book villain Alpha, the leader of the Whisperers. Alpha has already been the subject of much speculation on the flagship series. Unfortunately for any early predictions, Grace didn't seem to be aware of who the Whisperers leader is.
Interesting. Is Alpha male or female? [Learns who Alpha is.] Well, I'm down to shave my head.
So, we probably shouldn't expect Maggie Grace to start wearing walker skin as a body suit anytime soon, we can at least take comfort in the fact that the actress isn't against taking on Alpha's signature lack of locks. That's the first step. And just because Grace wasn't made familiar with Alpha's existence already doesn't mean the future can't take a horrifying turn for Althea.
As already mentioned, Althea's arrival came complete with what is perhaps the most badass character vehicle yet in the Walking Dead franchise. (Sorry, The Governor's tank and Dale's RV and Daryl's motorcycle.) With a lot of obvious protection on the outside, Althea's "truck" also comes equipped with its own firing squad that, as we saw, can take down a field of walkers in no time. (Realism be damned, but that's fine.) And according to Maggie Grace, Althea has a legitimate connection to the MRAP.
I mean, I think it's a loaded proposition. It's her longest relationship in someways -- her home. It's a huge advantage, but it's also a disadvantage in some contexts. It attracts a little too much attention. Certainly an asset that others want. But yeah, for me personally, it's really fun to drive; you gotta take turns carefully. Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected. In the real-world, they're mostly not using them anymore, but [it costs] half-a-million to a million dollars, [it weighs] 14 tons. Pretty gnarly. And I think we have the same chassis, but then they built a movie version around that. It's got the same V-shaped blast hull design, but ours is super-light comparatively. We couldn't work with the real deal. But yeah, it's highly repairable, which we can address on the show, and obviously, it's the thing you'd want to be in for a zombie apocalypse. As long as you could figure out how to get diesel. [laughs]
I'm interested in seeing how the show will address the repairability factor, since that possibly implies that it'll take some major damage at some point. You can be damned sure it'll take one hell of an effort to do that damage, too, so don't expect walkers or lone gunmen to take down Althea's MRAP.
Similar to how John's introduction put forth his humbled need for company, Althea shows up and immediately makes it clear she's got no outwardly villainous intentions, unlike the douchebags who set up the "mouse trap," as they called it. Without knowing a thing about John or Morgan, she bartered for their safety, and didn't immediately try to eat them or anything weird and Terminus-esque, and then she found herself being threatened alongside them by the O.G. Fear the Walking Dead characters. We can't imagine that cliffhanger situation will end in anyone's quick deaths, though, so I had to ask Maggie Grace which of the other characters Althea meshed with the best. She was casually coy about answering.
It has yet to be seen. I think there's a lot of extreme circumstances as well, like had they all met at a dentist's waiting room, things might be different. Had they all met at a concert, they'd be drunk and laughing right now. [laughs] . . . I think she sees something in Morgan in the first episode that she's really curious about. And I think there's something about Garret Dillahunt's character John that invites trust immediately. His character is just so guileless. You know, there's an innocence and a sweetness there that comes across as easy to trust. What you see is what you get.
So while we might not know how well she's going to get along with Madison or Strand, we can infer that John Dorie isn't going to turn out to be some heinous next-level villain, and that his simpleton sharpshooter nature won't feature any duplicitous turns down the road. (Maybe.) Althea seems to like Morgan's deflective nature, though, so maybe something will develop there. Maybe he'll tell her more about his family, and we'll get a nifty flashback. And maybe she'll share her own complex stories.