2017-06-02 / Entertainment/Lifestyles

Fearless femmes: The women are as tough as ever in ‘Fear the Walking Dead’

By Jacqueline Spendlove
TV Media

Colman Domingo in a scene from “Fear the Walking Dead” Colman Domingo in a scene from “Fear the Walking Dead” If you ask “The Walking Dead” fans who the best character is in the post-apocalyptic series, chances are pretty good that they’ll name a dude. Sure, there have been some solid female roles throughout the show’s seven seasons thus far, but sadly, for every Michonne (Danai Gurira, “Treme”) or Carol (Melissa McBride, “Living Proof,” 2008), there’s a Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies, “Prison Break”) (ugh) or an Andrea (Laurie Holden, “The Shield”) (major ugh). In general, it’s your Ricks (Andrew Lincoln, “Love Actually,” 2003) and your Daryls (Norman Reedus, “The Boondock Saints,” 1999) who are running the show.

Not so in the series’ spinoff, however. “Fear the Walking Dead” boasts a magnetic cast of characters overall, but it’s largely the women in the show who have taken charge of the cataclysmic situation that is now life and rolled with the zombie punches — and more importantly, strengthened and grown in the process. Season 3 of the “Walking Dead” prequel is set to premiere on AMC and, judging by the events of last season, there’s a lot left to unpack. Watch when “Fear the Walking Dead” returns Sunday, June 4, on the cabler.

As franchise fans know, “Fear” was created as a companion series to the hugely popular “The Walking Dead.” The newer series begins in the earliest days of the zombie plague that’s ravaging the country, though the first episode gives us a look at sane, normal life, before the world collapses in on itself.

This is where we first meet Madison Clark (Kim Dickens, “Treme”), a high school guidance counselor and the show’s leading lady. She’s “Fear’s” answer to “The Walking Dead’s” Rick Grimes, though, as many have noted, her transformation from mild-mannered school employee to the take-charge leader of a group of survivors is all the more impressive because of the run-of-the-mill life she was leading before the plague hit.

As a sheriff’s deputy, trained to use firearms and to take control in difficult situations, Rick is an obvious choice as a leader. Madison, though no shrinking violet, doesn’t display the same outward qualities that would automatically put her in the driver’s seat in a world teeming with man-eating zombies, but her strength and survival instincts make themselves known more and more plainly as the series progresses.

“I found her so compelling because she’s such a brave and courageous woman to start with,” Dickens said of her character in an AMC Q&A. “She’s also feminine, and then all of a sudden this warrior comes out of her.” “It’s not like she has all this outer experience to help her in the situation,” she added, “and she’s not skilled at defending a community or anything, but what it brings out from inside her normal persona is just fascinating.”

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