The Walking Dead

Fear TWD Season 7 Ending: PADRE Reveal & Madison Return Explained

As Fear The Walking Dead season 7 draws to a close, Madison Clark makes her long-awaited return, and big PADRE questions finally get answers.

This is how Fear The Walking Dead season 7’s finale shakes out, from Madison Clark’s comeback to that massive PADRE twist. Literally and figuratively, Fear The Walking Dead season 7 ends very far from where it began. The premiere kicked off with Fear The Walking Dead’s main cast scattered across the nuclear wasteland – Strand in his Tower, Morgan joining Grace and Mo on the USS Pennsylvania submarine, John and June inside a murder bunker, etc. As the episodes passed, battle lines were drawn. Strand’s Tower grew in strength, the remaining survivors gravitated towards Morgan’s sub, and war was a-brewing…

War then stopped a-brewing and the Tower burned down, rendering the entire exercise pointless. Fear The Walking Dead season 7’s penultimate episode concluded with every main character leaving the fallout zone in rafts aside from Alicia who stayed behind, and Morgan who’d already gone ahead in his own inflatable boat. Fear The Walking Dead season 7’s finale (“An Earlier Heaven”) focuses entirely upon Lennie James’ Morgan Jones, featuring no input from the other cast members whatsoever (no offence to Mo, the baby).

Fortunately, Morgan does at least stumble across two major Fear The Walking Dead twists. Kim Dickens makes her long-awaited return as Madison Clark, appearing for the first time since season 4, and she helps untangle Fear The Walking Dead season 7’s ongoing PADRE mystery. Here’s your full breakdown of “An Earlier Heaven.”

What Happened To Madison After Fear The Walking Dead Season 4?

Last time Fear The Walking Dead viewers saw Madison Clark, she was sacrificing herself at Dell Diamond baseball stadium. The community was ablaze with fire and beset by a horde of zombies, so Madison elected to lock herself in, sparing Nick and Alicia. Everyone assumed Madison died (“nobody could survive THAT“) but a body was never recovered and an eventual return always felt on the cards.

Fear The Walking Dead‘s season 7 finale doesn’t cleanly address how Madison squeezed away from Dell Diamond, but by telling Morgan, “I’m full of surprises,” Kim Dickens’ character implies she survived through her own grit and determination. Inhaling smoke from the burning stadium, Madison was left with a permanent breathing condition, so likely didn’t wander far before being picked up by PADRE (the mystery voice points out “the only reason you’re still breathing is because of us“). This explains why Madison couldn’t immediately find her old group after surviving the fire. Predictably, Fear The Walking Dead keeps the exact nature of Madison’s medical condition plausibly vague, but the bottom line is she needs regular oxygen tanks to survive.

Despite being in considerably rougher shape than the last time audiences saw her, Madison Clark is far more formidable in Fear The Walking Dead season 7’s finale. Wielding a sledgehammer-like melee weapon, Madison’s time away has fine-tuned her already impressive survival and combat skills – breathing problems be damned.

Fear The Walking Dead’s PADRE Reveal Explained

After half a season of hints and half a season of total silence, Fear The Walking Dead finally confirms PADRE’s existence. Thanks to a well-placed seafood sign, we know Morgan’s boat trip drifted him toward Louisiana, but PADRE’s actual location remains a mystery. And since Madison is only a low-ranking associate, she gets a blindfold over her eyes before every trip. Fear The Walking Dead‘s season 7 finale ends on the shot of Madison and Morgan being driven toward some large boat at sea, hinting the true PADRE settlement must still lie some distance away.

Extrapolating the details Madison does know, PADRE appears to be a highly advanced community – better than Alexandria or Hilltop, but not quite on Commonwealth or Campus Colony level. Nevertheless, the group possesses boat fuel, manpower to spare, oxygen tanks for Madison, an interrogation room, doctors, and a safe infrastructure for those lucky enough to live there.

Madison explains PADRE’s philosophy is stripping away family attachments. Kids are vital to mankind’s survival, but the zombie apocalypse often claims youngsters before they grow up (see: Carl Grimes, Chris Manawa, Henry). PADRE’s goal is stealing children from their parents to ensure future generations survive. For this purpose, the group has a network of “collectors” who roll around snatching kiddos, and if that wasn’t ruthless enough, Madison confirms PADRE would snatch a pregnant woman, help her give birth, then exile the mother once her child was born. We now have our undisputed villains for Fear The Walking Dead season 8.

PADRE (Probably) Isn’t The Walking Dead’s CRM

Whatever PADRE is, those CRM theories are looking shaky. When Morgan and Madison meet PADRE soldiers at the dock, the villains are clad in rags and scarves, carrying a broad selection of various weapons. It’s a far cry from the professional uniforms and modified firearms the CRM is famous for. Additionally, going undercover isn’t really the CRM’s style in The Walking Dead, since those distinctive helmets are designed to hide soldiers’ identities. Walking Dead: World Beyond proved the CRM does recruit youngsters, but they make a point of only selecting exceptional and willing applicants.

That doesn’t necessarily mean PADRE and the CRM are disconnected completely in The Walking Dead. Jadis’ Scavengers worked for the CRM without being direct members of the Civic Republic, and PADRE might’ve struck up a similar relationship, handing over the most intelligent children they capture in exchange for supplies.

Why Madison Worked For PADRE (& What She Did)

Madison escaped the burning Dell Diamond in no condition to chase her missing children, but PADRE offered a deal. If she brought PADRE “eggs” (stolen children), PADRE would help Madison locate her own children. Madison carried out this mission with extreme regret and reluctance, even tattooing “Nick” and “Alicia” onto her wrists as a motivating reminder (the redness gives away these tatts were freshly done). Predictably, PADRE constantly changed the arrangement, demanding more and more kids from their top collector.

When the mystery voice eventually offered to follow through, however, Madison shockingly declined, solemnly claiming Nick and Alicia were better off without her. In part, Madison became indoctrinated by PADRE’s teachings, peddling their belief that children stood a better chance of survival without their parents. In truth, she probably only told herself this to make stealing brats and being separated from her own children easier on the ol’ conscience.

Talking to Morgan in Fear The Walking Dead season 7’s finale, Madison realizes this was PADRE’s intention all along. The enigmatic overlords made Madison kidnap children until they were certain she’d feel too ashamed to look Nick and Alicia in the eye again. Madison continued doing PADRE’s bidding anyway, fearing they’d hurt her kids in revenge should she refuse.

Why Madison Doesn’t Want To Meet Alicia In Fear The Walking Dead Season 8

Speaking to Morgan in Fear The Walking Dead‘s season 7 finale, Madison describes “getting over” being separated from Nick and Alicia, but clearly isn’t as maternally detached as she claims. When Morgan finally tells her about Nick getting shot and Alicia’s fever, the news hits Madison like a verbal freight train. Morgan later admits he didn’t see Alicia die, and this open-ended statement puts an end to theories that the character died in the final scene of “Amina.” Despite her daughter’s potential survival, Madison still refuses a reunion, resurrecting an old quote from Fear The Walking Dead season 4 to explain why – “no one’s gone until they’re gone.” Right now, Madison truly believes she’s gone, seeing herself as a Madison Clark-shaped shell who used to be a mother.

If that feels like a tenuous excuse to keep Madison and Alicia Clark separated in Fear The Walking Dead, that’s probably because Kim Dickens arrives just as Alycia Debnam-Carey departs. Fear The Walking Dead needed to somehow justify why Madison doesn’t immediately track down her daughter in season 8.

Madison & Morgan’s Fear The Walking Dead Season 8 Mission

Knowing Nick and Alicia are dead or close enough to it, Madison decides to help Morgan get Mo back from PADRE. Despite being “gone” herself, Madison believes there’s still hope for her new friend, and the prospect of getting revenge on PADRE perhaps sweetens that deal. Morgan’s plan is to infiltrate PADRE from inside, find Mo, and get out. Using Madison to vouch for him, he offers information in exchange for entry, but this involves selling out his friends. Morgan fish-hooks PADRE by teasing the fleet of rafts currently floating towards Louisiana, and even mentions children (Charlie) and a pregnant woman (that’ll be Sherry) are aboard.

It’s a bold tactic from Morgan. Telling PADRE about his friends (rather than simply making up bogus intelligence) suggests Morgan is banking on PADRE’s goons finding the rafts and bringing everyone back to the settlement in Fear The Walking Dead season 8. Desperate though he might be, Morgan isn’t betraying his Fear The Walking Dead friends here – he’s likely anticipating they’ll stand a far better chance of winning by standing together as a family. Morgan and Madison make a formidable duo already, but once Dwight, Sherry, Daniel, Strand, June, Grace and the others are all inside PADRE’s borders, Morgan can overcome these new adversaries and successfully escape with Mo in tow.

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