Major spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet watched the Fear the Walking Dead midseason finale for Season 4.
For all the obvious changes happening on the screen in Fear the Walking Dead Season 4, perhaps the biggest came behind the scenes, with new showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg taking over for Dave Erickson. The shift was immediately obvious, with the first half of the new season jumping far beyond the events of the Season 3 finale to introduce a batch of new characters that all affected the lives of O.G. survivors Madison, Alicia and the rest. (Well, some of the rest.) And while I was impressed overall with so many of these installments' positive qualities, quite a few questions remained when the dust finally settled on the midseason finale.
Some of these inquiries are balanced and from a relatively curious place, while others are more of the "wide-eyed and pulling hair out" variety. So let's start things off with the biggest shock of the episode, the season, and possibly the whole series.
This isn't an emotional plea to the showrunners asking for motivations, since they've already discussed those. Rather, this is about sheer practicality and common sense existing within a tense moment. I'm not altogether convinced Alicia and Nick were truly and helplessly trapped in that vehicle, since we've already seen that walker-swamped situation get resolved within this franchise. But even so, why was Madison's martyrdom the one and only solution? Assuming all those walkers would actually follow her tiny flare, as opposed to getting distracted by full-on flames sprinkled around, why didn't Madison lead them all into the stadium, lock it up, and just hide out somewhere until everyone outside got settled and was able to save her? Plus, Alicia was able to zip through stadium zombie herds like butter when going after Al in the present-day timeline, so why couldn't Madison do that?
As soon as it became clear that Now Alicia hated Now Naomi, even after their water park bonding, Fear the Walking Dead fans were likely tipped off that things were more complicated than they seemed. Except they were actually a lot less complicated. Alicia's bloodlust for Naomi, which put John in the crosshairs, was due to Naomi being directly responsible for Madison's death. But it was revealed Naomi actually fled the scene like everyone else did, though without getting mauled to death like everyone else did. She did return later, when it was too late, but Alicia just thought Naomi had perished. So...where was the moment where Naomi did anything to Madison that warranted Alicia trying to murder her? Hell, Naomi even tried telling Madison to leave the stadium before the herd arrived. She should be able to say "I told you so" louder than anyone.
Similar to how Naomi drew tons of wrongful ire from Alicia and the others, Mel was the target of a lot of people's anger and guns, despite the fact that he was barely more than an irksome gnat throughout the eight episodes. For all intents and purposes, Ennis was the only true monster within the Vultures, and legitimately deserved any impaling that came his way. But Mel, beyond all his shitty intimidation tactics and walker-accumulating, actually tried to thwart Ennis' deadly plan by giving Madison & Co. a foreboding heads-up. (Alicia and Nick even saved him from a potential roadside death, so plentiful are their morals.). But because his brother Ennis' act killed Madison, Cole and the other randos, Mel had to face down everyone's rabidly vengeful feelings, leading to his fairly nondescript death via shootout. But was any of it justified?
Fans are well aware that the Walking Dead franchise has rarely delivered interesting child characters that serve as more than plot-advancers, and Alexa Nisenson's Charlie isn't winning any awards for being different. Nearly every single thing Charlie has done so far has been to the detriment of a protagonist, from her backstabbing silence in the beginning to shooting Nick (and more), and yet the only reactions she inspires within other characters are signs of sympathy and urges to comfort her. When Alicia took Charlie quasi-hostage in "No One's Gone," I thought a legitimate act of revenge might go down, but no. Althea is now all about keeping Charlie safe for no discernible reasons, which probably means Charlie is going to end up destroying all the tapes that Al protects so dearly.