When Fear the Walking Dead finally introduced its "End is the Beginning" group in full throughout Episode 611, "The Holding," the franchise tapped into a different flavor of villainy centering around John Glover's Teddy. As a cult-y leader, Teddy is like the "cool" weed-toking science professor who also huffs god-knows-what-in-a-can when no one is looking. His philosophy won over the likes of his second banana Riley (Nick Stahl) and plenty of other people who may or may not have just wanted to avoid being murdered. And now, Alycia Debnam-Carey's Alicia is the lone protagonist still in his presence after staying behind to save the rest.
For a press event going into the back half of Season 6, Alycia Debnam-Carey was asked about her storyline with Teddy and his group, and her answer indicated that Alicia will turn a new corner in her character development after her experiences with Teddy. In her words:
It's storyline that defines who she becomes. What's really exciting moving forward is that 6B takes all these lessons that she's learned, and she uses all the tools that she's gained to make some pretty big and pivotal choices that that really solidify who she is as a person. There are a couple of things at play at the moment. She's always a fierce protector in this group, but she's also kind of a reluctant leader, and I think is being consistently pushed in different directions of whose path she's trying to follow, what evolution she's becoming and forming into. Right now she's having to make a clear choice about what she wants to do. And right now, she's a little at odds with who she is following at the moment. Strand, his methods have become a little bit incompatible to how she feels, and to how that works for the group. And Morgan's changed in his own way quite a bit that's not quite aligning with what she believes as well. And so this, the second half, it tests her with this new character that we see in the trailer and pushes her into the version that she will become.
Let's just dance around playing devil's advocate right quick. While the easy assumption to make here is that Alicia triumphantly walk away from Teddy, Riley and all the other the only things left moving are the flames on their charred bodies. Because hey, it's Alicia, whose pockets of sympathy are buoyed by her tolerance for bullshit. But considering we're talking about a cult here, and considering Teddy has already learned about Madison's existence and nuggets of their mother-daughter relationship, what if he's gaining the fuel he needs to legitimately pull Alicia into his snake charming ways?
To be fair, Alicia has come to terms with Alexa Nisenson's Charlie having killed Frank Dillane's Nick, and they're basically friends now. But that's not who she spent most of her time talking about while inside Teddy's underground compound. She talked about Madison. So there's at least a small chance in this concrete hell that Teddy could latch Madison onto his "life is death is life" claptrap in such a way that Alicia willingly postpones her eventual rampage. Sometimes it's easier to lay your mental woes out on strangers, so maybe she can get some kind of comfort from this frazzle-headed dink before turning him into fertilizer.
I think we all know what the best form of emotional therapy would be for Alicia right now: a warm and fuzzy flashback sequence featuring a new scene with Kim Dickens as Madison. Fans have been hoping for the show to reveal that her sacrificial act in Season 4 didn't actually kill her, and that she's still around out there somewhere, similar to how Wes' brother wasn't dead like he thought. However, even if showrunners Ian Goldberg and Andrew Chambliss don't go that route, I do hope we can at least get a Madison flashback sequence.
While Fear the Walking Dead's Nick Stahl couldn't give away any big spoilers about what the future will look like for Teddy's group and its impact on Alicia, here's what he could tease about future episodes when I recently spoke with him.
What's to come? What won't I get in trouble for? I can just say that starting pretty much right away, this show goes in unexpected places that surprised me as a reader, as an actor. And you know, I could say like I had sort of my work cut out for me in certain challenges with the character. So stay tuned, because it gets really interesting, for sure.
As vague as vague can be, but that probably means Stahl's Riley will cause some kind of trouble in Episode 612, "In Dreams," with Karen David's pregnant AF Grace at the center of that installment's tale. It's sure to be another humdinger of a Fear the Walking Dead episode airing Sunday night on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET.