Fear the Walking Dead theory: How did Madison survive?

Madison Clark is returning to Fear The Walking Dead, isn’t she supposed to be dead? How did she survive? In this week’s theory, I try to find out.

During the Fear The Walking Dead, season four midseason finale, the series’ main character, Madison Clark, died. She burned to death trying to stop a herd of walkers, several hundred strong, from destroying her children, friends, and community in a last-ditch effort to save them all.

Or so we thought.

Viewers learned recently, from Kim Dickens herself, Madison is coming back! This news is great! Don’t get me wrong, I love having Morgan anchor the show (He’s one of my favorite Walking Dead characters), but it’s nice to have someone from the original cast return to the show after a long absence. It’s weird to think that it’s been three seasons since Madison “died.”

All of this leaves one big question: How did Madison survive?

Kim Dickens as Madison Clark – Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 8 – Photo Credit: Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC

When last we saw Madison, she used a flare to torch the Vultures’ horde of walkers after locking herself inside Dell Diamond Stadium. Caught between the dead inside, and the gate, keeping the remaining dead outside. As Alicia described it: “There were too many for her to escape.”

This brings me to my first problem because, if I’m being honest, I don’t have one big unifying grand theory to answer this question. There are not (From what we saw of the stadium, anyway) any major secret exits from the stadium or any hideaways inside that I could point to and say “Madison hid HERE!”  and have it be some big revelation. What theories I will pose will be much more reserved.

Secondly, at least from what we know, her escape would have to be in a very narrow window, one that would almost seem impossible.

In Madison’s final scene, she is facing down hundreds of walkers, with very little room to maneuver between them. As Alicia said, there were still many walkers outside the stadium for Madison to sneak past the ones inside, lock them in, and escape. With the blaze she created from the Vultures’ oil-soaked herd, those walkers outside would have hung around even longer than usual, meaning the window to escape got smaller.

Sebastian Sozzi

Alycia Debnam-Carey as Alicia Clark, Sebastian Sozzi as Cole – Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 14 – Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMC

When Alicia met back up with Cole just before Teddy Maddox shipped her off to the Franklin Hotel, he told her how they had searched the area for her, Nick, Strand, Luciana and Madison. Combine this with the fact there was little time between when the stadium fell and when Alicia and the others met Morgan, Althea, and John Dorie then returned to the stadium. This left a small window for Madison to have escaped the stadium and not be found by any groups of people looking for her.

Now that I think about it, I’m even having trouble imagining someplace within the stadium where Madison might have hidden to ride out the fire. Hiding out would have kept the walkers from getting at her, but if they followed her (Which, no matter what, they would have), the smoke their burning would create would follow her, seeping underneath any doors she hid behind and filling any room, threatening to asphyxiate her. She could have jammed something under the door to try to keep the smoke out. Still, even if she succeeded, we’re once again brought back to how she got out, avoided the walkers still outside, and managed not to be seen by any of the people looking for her in the immediate aftermath. It’s all very confusing.

Lennie James as Morgan Jones – Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 9 – Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMC

Which brings me to another question: How has Madison stayed out of the loop for so long?

Granted, Texas is a big place, and Fear TWD has taken place as far away from Dell Diamond Stadium as Mississippi to the east, El Paso to the south and west, and Oklahoma to the north. But, in that time, Morgan established a communication and trade network along with the truck stops and highways. Not only that, but Morgan has been able to keep in radio contact and gotten noticed by people in the latter of those two far-reaching areas, so it’s not as if he (Or anyone else with a radio) has been invisible since Madison “died.” Did Madison lose her radio in the fire? Did it run out of juice? Did she not look for someplace where radios might be available? If not, did she miss the conversations going on over the radio in the vicinity of the stadium?

Speaking of Morgan having “gotten noticed,”: What about all the people who “noticed” Morgan? Martha, the Pioneers, Teddy Maddox and his minions, did she manage to avoid all of them? While Martha was haunting a stretch of highway, the Pioneers were very active, with outposts across Oklahoma and Texas, and Teddy’s cult menaced much of eastern Texas, both (relatively) close to the region the stadium was in. How did she elude them?

Colman Domingo as Victor Strand, Alycia Debnam-Carey as Alicia Clark, Kim Dickens as Madison Clark, Frank Dillane as Nick Clark, Danay Garcia as Luciana – Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 8 – Photo Credit: Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC

And, lastly, how has she been living since escaping? Between the food shortage her community, the looting of the surrounding area the Vultures committed after meeting Madison, and the radioactive sandwich that is the radiation zone of the Lonestar Power & Light nuclear plant meltdown to the west, and the wasteland to the east, one would imagine that prospects, even for a single person, have not been good. All of this brings us right back to where we started, a question I’m not entirely sure I can provide an answer to: HOW did Madison Clark survive?


Alycia Debnam-Carey as Alicia Clark, Sebastian Sozzi as Cole- Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 14 – Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMC

The best I can come up with is that Madison hid out in some out-of-the-way corner of the stadium while the walkers burned (Perhaps suffering from some minor burns and smoke inhalation), escaping a few hours later, and not finding anyone of her community around, either assumed them dead, or escaped. From there, I imagine she wandered the area, probably looking for some trace of Strand, Luciana, Nick and Alicia. I have to assume that Madison thought them dead because I believe that if she had even the tiniest glimmer of them being alive, she would have tried some way of getting in contact with them. The fact she hadn’t suggests that Madison believed they had all died.

After that, I can imagine Madison either trying to eke out an existence for herself in Texas or maybe, searching the area for Althea. Hoping that the only other person she knew in the state of Texas had survived and find a clue as to the whereabouts of her friends and family, as Al would know if anyone did. Beyond that, it’s a mystery to me.

What do you think? How do you think Madison survived? Do you think she knew the others escaped? If so, why did she not go looking for them? Do you think she caught bits of communication from Morgan and his group (Including Alicia, Luciana, June, and Strand) since his arrival in Texas? Let me know! I’m curious! And, if you enjoyed this and want to learn how to stay alive in a zombie apocalypse, why not pick up a copy of my book, The Rules: A Guide To Surviving The Zombie Apocalypse! You can also get it at Amazon here, on iTunes here!