On Fear the Walking Dead, Madison Clark and Travis Manawa are a couple, so I found it curious that Kim Dickens was paired with Colman Domingo for interviews. She plays Madison and Domingo plays Strand, the owner of the yacht on which the survivors sail away from Los Angeles.
Dickens and Domingo were in Los Angeles to discuss the second season of Fear the Walking Dead, the companion series to The Walking Dead about the beginning of the zombie outbreak. Fear the Walking Dead returns April 10 on AMC and we spoke to Domingo and Dickens about what’s coming up.
Interview pairings don’t dictate the way the season is going. To be fair, Cliff Curtis, who plays Travis Manawa, was paired with Lorenzo James Henrie, Travis’s son Chris, so Dickens had to be paired with someone else. Colman Domingo made sense for discussing the new season.
“[Our pairing] does foreshadow that we have a dance or two that we go through,” Dickens said, with Domingo sitting right beside her. “We have a couple of really strong characters that have sort of obligated themselves to each other. We get Strand to his home and to his boat. He therefore offers us safe passage but we don’t quite know each other and don’t quite know where the other’s moral compass lies.”
Travis and Madison still depend on each other. “You know, they’re tough,” Dickens said. “They have a strong bond and I think they’re opposites in a lot of ways and that’s been complementary, with some struggle. They usually find their way back together and make an even stronger unit. We all enter this season being sort of haunted by the loss of Liza and how that had to happen. I think we’ll be forever changed so that’s all I can say.”
Most of us are watching a show about people fighting zombies. Domingo says there’s a little more to it than that if we look closely. “I think there’s a lot of symbolism actually this season,” he said. “There’s symbolism of the water being a conduit for change. The water’s dark, the water’s light, and it has its own emotional core and moral compass. I think we have themes about spirituality. Spirituality plays a strong part in the season.”
Which characters on Fear the Walking Dead will become spiritual? That’s something we’ll tune in to find out. Few on the show have yet learned that this “infection” is actually the dead rising from their graves. That sort of revelation could give anyone a crisis of faith. Domingo says season two will show us who on Strand’s boat goes there.
“That will be revealed because I think that’s something you don’t know unless you’re in that situation,” Domingo said. “We will explore that because they’re trying to find answers. Like you saw in season one that Griselda held a spiritual core, and that’s going to be explored as well. Trying to figure out how to survive and what to hang on to and what it’s all about.”
The survivors on the boat include a mix of men and women, adults and children, Caucasian, Latino, Maori, and African-American. This microcosm of the world will soon question societal roles of gender.
“I think thematically we’re going to explore things about gender, about roles women and men play, strength of character,” Domingo said. “All the rules that we have in our culture, I think we’re going to be turning them on a dime. It doesn’t really become that defined anymore. I think we all certainly become equals and you just play to your strength. You do what you can. If you know how to scuba dive, then you go do this. If you know how to do this, you do that. You just throw all your best talents in the pot.”
Very soon, the survivors learn that Strand makes the rules on the yacht, and he might not be wrong, even when he refuses to stop for refugees on the water. Strand may already be thinking further ahead than the other survivors.
“I wasn’t surprised that Strand reacted the way he does [to the refugees] because I think he lives in very black and white terms,” Domingo said. “He already laid out the terms of what he thinks is survival, at least for today. This is how we need to move along today so we can at least find our way through. And we can’t sacrifice ourselves. Of course we have other people in this boat who have other needs and other wants and who are still dealing with these people as being human and not as a threat, but Strand of course feels differently. There’s some engaging conflict there.”
Other characters may have thought their troubles were over once they fled the city. Dickens said, “I think Maddie probably thought, ‘Oh, we’re free and clear,’ because she didn’t think that far ahead. He probably knew we were going to be dealing with some gutter snipes.”
Nick (Frank Dillane) helped Strand escape from a National Guard quarantine. Now Strand has given Nick’s family safe passage on his yacht. As far as Strand is concerned, the quid pro quo has been met.
“Yeah, we’re hanging on by a thread with this guy,” Dickens said. “It’s tricky. There are moments when Madison has to agree to a very uncomfortable alliance with him. To be in partnership with him means you have to reconcile, become complicit in some behavior you really didn’t want to identify with yourself. They’re challenged. These people are challenged.”
That said, it’s not like there’s nothing the Clarks or Manawas have to offer Strand. He’ll keep them around as long as they remain useful.
“He needs help on the boat,” Domingo said. “That’s initially, but also I think that whether he even recognizes it himself, he does have a need for others. I think no man is an island truly and I think that he has such a strong sense of a character, the veneer that he’s put on, that I think that is part of his journey as well, to find out underneath that he did [need people]. What was his use for Nick? Maybe he needed him more than just someone to help him out. Maybe he needed someone else.”
Dickens was still able to appear on season four of House of Cards, but there was even more planned for Kate Baldwin had she not had to go to Baja to shoot season two of Fear.
“I did do House of Cards but I wasn’t able to do as much of the story as they had intended because it overlapped just a little too much,” Dickens said. “I just was told that the story arc would be that she hands over a story. Where she was going I think was probably going to dig up some skeletons, or at least try to. But I like the way it played out. Bringing the editor back was amazing.”
If both shows can coordinate, Dickens wants to return to House of Cards. “I just hope there’s room for her again,” Dickens said. “It’s one of my favorite shows and I love just banging around in the White House. It’s pretty fun. We’ll see if I get to go back this summer because I love that show. I love that character too.”