Talk about a breath of fresh air!
Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 16 was a return to form for the series.
Thankfully, everyone has evaded nuclear-ravaged Texas, and it sounds like it will be the much-needed jolt in the right direction the series needs to make a watchable show again.
Madison's return was a blaze of glory. Kim Dickens slipped back into the role flawlessly, and it's clear she's completely different from the woman we left at the stadium on Fear the Walking Dead Season 4.
There had to be some sort of consequences following her escape from the burning stadium, so giving her respiratory issues is probably the most logical way of tethering her machinations to where she almost died.
Madison working with PADRE has been a theory since we first heard about the company, but I didn't expect her to be so tight with them.
Shadowy organizations in this universe tend to be more hassle than worth, and something tells me PADRE will truly shake things up in ways we didn't think possible.
PADRE is an organization formed to restart the world following the apocalypse, and honestly, we've heard of these groups several times in this universe.
My best theory is that they're linked to the CRM. The Commonwealth probably wouldn't have any business this far out from Ohio, and given that the CRM has been featured countless times on this show, maybe we're about to get some more concrete answers.
Madison stealing children to hand over in exchange for Nick and Alicia not being hunted and unlimited oxygen is a bit of a stretch, but if there's one thing we know about Madison, it's that she will do anything for her children.
I appreciated how crafty Morgan was when he didn't immediately tell her everything she needed to know about the kids.
Morgan was probably shocked to the core because this woman he's heard so much about kidnapped his child.
Lennie James and Dickens should have shared the screen long before now. James has been vocal when I've interviewed him in the past that he's wanted to work with Dickens since he signed up on the show.
They share a lot of chemistry, and their scenes from adversaries to friends are packed with emotion.
This is a friendship I want to see front and center of Fear the Walking Dead Season 8 because this single episode made the entirety of Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 worthwhile.
The series has been struggling in the creativity department, and honestly, the broader issue is the lack of consistency.
Many of the people shouldn't have survived the radiation exposure. It's almost like the writers weren't fully invested in the ramifications of the nuclear warheads.
The nuclear warheads detonating was for shock value, because there has been little stakes in the grand scheme of things.
Yes, Charlie's dying, but at the pace the show is moving, she'll probably be around for another couple of seasons.
Madison's pain when she learned that Nick was dead and Alicia probably was dead was heartbreaking. The series missed out on an opportunity for Dickens and Alycia Debnam-Carey to share the screen one last time.
It sounds like Debnam-Carey is done with the show, and given the number of exciting projects she has in the works, there's a good chance she'll never return.
Madison wanted to keep her children safe, but something tells me we'll be meeting a much more cutthroat iteration of her character down the line, now that she knows no one close to her can be hurt.
I appreciated the switcheroo in terms of her character. Seeing her stealing a child was huge, but when she realized the error of her ways, it highlighted just how much she's had to adapt to this new world order.
One of the bigger issues on this show is that there are simply too many characters. The anthology episodes worked initially, but they've been falling flat recently.
"Gone" is the exception because it had a lofty task in reintroducing Madison.
There was always going to be some inconsistencies in the storytelling to pull off such an epic revelation. I almost wish that AMC kept it under wraps because I was resigned to the fact that Madison was dead and buried.
The cabler probably thought the promotional aspect would have been good to bring back fans who bailed on the series, but could you imagine the sheer shock across the fandom if we tuned into "Gone" and didn't know Madison was back beforehand?
These revelations in advance are what's messing with the franchise as a whole. It was a similar scenario with the main series announcing spinoffs while the final season is airing.
Fear the Walking Dead Season 8 has the potential to really shake things up, especially if PADRE is as big as we're being led to believe.
Sherry's pregnancy a few episodes prior will likely play into things in a big way, possibly splitting her up with Dwight and giving everyone the drive to fight back.
"Gone" felt like the beginning of a new chapter for the series, but it's hard not to feel like the endgame is approaching.
The series is in a very different place, and its future quite literally hinges on how fans receive the first few episodes of the next season.
What are your thoughts on Kim's return? Are you happy she's working alongside Lennie?
What's your take on PADRE?
Hit the comments below.
Remember, you can watch Fear the Walking Dead online right here via TV Fanatic.
Fear the Walking Dead Season 8 will likely launch later this year on AMC.
Paul Dailly was an Associate Editor for TV Fanatic.Follow him on X.