Fear the Walking Dead: Nick, the charming addict

Nick under the bridge Scene from Episode 1 of Fear the Walking DeadImage Credit: Screencapped.net - Raina
Nick under the bridge Scene from Episode 1 of Fear the Walking DeadImage Credit: Screencapped.net - Raina /
Frank Dillane as Nick in Fear the Walking Dead. AMC /

Nick Clark has become a favorite character in Fear the Walking Dead already.In a recent poll of mine, Nick Clark ranked number one in favorite characters so far on Fear the Walking Dead. He’s a drug addict with many typical addict characteristics, charm being one.  Let’s take a look at some characteristics of drug addicts and see how Nick fits that profile.

According to AlcoholRehab.Com addiction and emotional immaturity are often connected. Addiction can result from inability to deal with feelings. This is quite possible for Nick, who lost his father at an early age and didn’t have a very successful school experience.

Some signs of emotional immaturity and addiction listed in AlcoholRehab.Com that certainly apply to Nick include:

  • They struggle to develop meaningful relationships.  May appear too needy or overbearing.
  • They can easily lose their temper at the slightest provocation. When they are dealing with uncomfortable emotions, they will tend to take things out on other people.
  • They can have unrealistically high expectations. This means that they are frequently disappointed. Such individuals can have impossibly high expectations for other people yet low expectations for themselves.
  • They can suffer from severe mood swings. This instability of mood can make life a bit uncomfortable.

Rehab International lists self-centeredness and lack of personal hygiene among their characteristics of addiction. Nick shows both of those. We all wonder when he will get out of his puking/seizure/sleeping/ running/lounging/board game outfit of old man pants, shirt and jacket.

Walker and Nick, Fear The Walking Dead - AMC
Walker and Nick, Fear The Walking Dead – AMC /

Frank Dillane shared some very insightful thoughts with Entertainment Weekly about his portrayal of Nick that go along with the idea of choosing an emotionally immature personality type for his Nick:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I was really struck in the premiere by the childlike nature of your character and how you played him. It was not at all what I expected going in when I heard you were playing a junkie. I thought he would be more of a tough guy.

FRANK DILLANE: Well, yeah. I think that sort of developed slowly. I still am not sure whether Nick is telling the truth or not. I think what was interesting for me anyway is the time when a child goes astray or decides to take off or takes matters into his own hands. In Nick’s case, his father died. So I try to freeze-frame from there this 12-year-old boy whose father dies, and lift back the cover and see what there is. He certainly does seem to be very childish…

Madison and Nick. Fear the Walking Dead. AMC /

What’s interesting about heroin seems to be that these people…I have a few friends who are heroin addicts or have been an addict, and what’s frustrating about them is that they have lost the years that they were addicts for. I had a mate who was an addict for 15, 20 years, and he’s a bit older now, but if you meet him and you talk to him it’s like talking to a 16-year-old boy.

Emily from XO.Com writes this about addicts;

Addicts are often talented, charming and intelligent people, which can lead to a lot of chances in life, even as they thumb their noses at them….Addicts can be fun, but they can also be rageful, nasty, cruel. Having one in your life eventually begins to feel like dealing with a monster, something inhuman that terrorizes you. It’s impossible to reason with or negotiate with the addict, because the person you are talking to, that black hole of resentment and rage and ego and pain, is not your friend, or sibling, or co-worker. It’s the addict, and the addict’s only concern is placating you so they can keep filling their need.

The ironic thing about that description of an addict for Fear the Walking Dead is that the latter section could describe a walker. They aren’t the person you once knew,  They have one need. They make a lot of noise and don’t hear you. You can’t reason with them. They don’t mean the harm they cause, but they cause deep harm.

From personal experience with alcoholics, I would say that they can be quite fun and charming. But they can be selfish. They can change their personality and get angry in an instant if something doesn’t go their way. And they will blame you for their anger.  Yet they will tell you whatever you want to hear to get their way.

Calvin and Nick. Fear the Walking Dead - AMC
Calvin and Nick. Fear the Walking Dead – AMC /

I think Nick’s addiction personality has been highlighted in Fear in a few very smart ways. The sweet talking of the nurse to untie one of his hands to go to the bathroom was a way to show his charming manipulator side. The constant searching for drugs everywhere they go shows his singular focus and self-centered nature.

Two things I’m really glad they included were the scenes where he told Madison that Travis probably ditched them and went off with his other family.  And when he coldly told his mom that he didn’t need her, he needed his medicine. These really reminded us that Nick might love his mom but love means nothing to an addict, he will do anything to help himself.

He didn’t care that Madison loves Travis. It’s better for him if his mom is there without Travis to take care of him in these uncertain times. And now that they are really headed out to the desert and he sees the reality of fewer pills because of a stranger, means he needs to lay a big guilt trip on Madison. Pure self-centered meanness.

Nick, Fear The Walking Dead - AMC
Nick, Fear The Walking Dead – AMC /

It’s going to be interesting to see how Nick’s addiction and his addictive personality plays out during the rest of the apocalypse. Something I want to mention is that Alicia has been perceived as a brat and unlikable whereas Nick is a fan favorite.

Consider this: Alicia has spent her childhood with her life revolving around the addiction of her brother. She lost her father when she was about 10. She does well in school. She gets very little of the attention in the family because her brother needs it. She loves her Monopoly-playing brother, but he’s gone, this brother is a liar and he’s headed for death. People love him and think she’s a brat.

Next: Season 5:All Named Character Deaths

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