Alicia fights her demons on Fear the Walking Dead

Things have been really tough for Alicia Clark on Fear the Walking Dead, but Alicia finds what she needs among the trees.

Alicia Clark has been pretty messed up in the second half of Fear the Walking Dead season 5, ever since rescuing the kids from a horde of the dead. She’s been unable to kill walkers. She’s on the road looking for … something. Some sort of resolution to whatever post-traumatic stress disorder she is dealing with.

Simply put, she needed time. She wasn’t ready yet to fight the dead at Wes’s hideout, as the flashback showed, although it did appear for a second that she might be ready. Finally, after she paints her own tree with a memorial to her mother (both the saying and the bird allude to Madison), she’s got her groove back enough to kill a walker.

It’s hard to tell what got her back in the correct frame of mind. Seeing that Wes was the artist? Painting her own tree? Being ready to fight at Wes’s place? Seeing Wes’s manuscript, or that Wes was willing to kill the guy who stole it?

Personally, I think it was all of it. She realized that she has to fight to help her friends. Meanwhile, the painting was the catharsis she needed to soothe her mind. But she realized somewhere along the way that while she has to fight the dead to live – it’s almost impossible not to – she doesn’t have to be the hero always. Perhaps their effort to save Wes’s shooting victim, only to see him die at Wes’s hand, proved to her that sometimes (as with the kids) she needs to be a hero, but at other times, being a hero is unnecessary, if not downright dangerous.

Next: Is Morgan losing himself again?

That helped her get back to a place where she could kill the dead to keep herself and her friends alive, without going overboard or trying to save those who don’t need or want it. She may have reached an equilibrium. We’ve seen this with Rick and Madison – does this set Alicia up on the path towards future leadership?

We’ll see. For now, she’s likely back to being badass. That may be just be enough.

Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC.