The seventh episode of Fear the Walking Dead Season 4 ended with a sequence of events that left some fans baffled. The Vultures, having grown weary of waiting for the residents of the baseball diamond to die of natural causes, decided to attack the stadium by blitzing it with trucks full of walkers they set on fire. This was against the wishes of their leader, Mel (Kevin Zegers), who warned of what was coming while he was recovering in the diamond's infirmary from a car accident. Madison (Kim Dickens) didn't want to evacuate, so Mel left, despite having a debilitating lung injury.
As he drove off, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Nick (Frank Dillane) could hear him coughing on the walkie, so they went out to bring him back. Strand (Colman Domingo), who was manning the gate, let them out, reasoning that since their mother saved him when she didn't have to, who is he to stop them from doing what they believe is right? They caught up to Mel, but they arrived back at the diamond moments before the Vulture caravan arrived and didn't have time to make it inside. Their SUV got swarmed with walkers in the parking lot, and as the episode ended, Madison and Strand and Luciana (Danay Garcia) went out to save the kids.
Armchair screenwriters on Reddit were furious with the choices the characters made. One was that Alicia and Nick didn't drive away before they got surrounded, since they had a head start on the Vultures and they should have known what was about to come out of those trucks. "They should have drove away (out of immediate harm from Vultures) and then start honking the horn to drive the horde away from the stadium," went a typical post. "Just sitting there and being surrounded definitely was a major writing flaw." The other was that Strand and the other people inside the stadium didn't immediately start shooting at the Vultures as they pulled up. "All these armed men and women with the high ground just stand back and allow the vultures to open the trucks to let out the walkers???" wrote one viewer. "Why couldn't they just shoot them before they let any walkers out?? That was so stupid."
These irritated fans have a point. The plotting and character moves were not airtight. But what happened in the episode isn't inexplicable, says star Colman Domingo.
As for not opening fire, "The way we justified it, they knew that there were families on the other side as well, they're people on the other side, so they were stuck, like 'what do we do?'" Domingo tells TV Guide. Madison has extended a hand to the Vultures throughout the season, and she and Strand and Alicia and Nick believe that people can change and enemies can become friends. It wasn't out of character for the more forgiving versions of the characters in the BEFORE storyline to wait to see what was happening before opening fire.
And as for Nick and Alicia, they said it in the episode: they couldn't drive through thousands of walkers. "That's what I'm believing, there were just too many," Domingo says.
"Or it was written that way, and basically that's what needed to happen," Domingo concedes with a laugh.
Sometimes characters have to move from Point A to Point B and the details have to get fudged to get them there. On Fear, The diamond has to fall and the main characters have to survive it. As fans, sometimes we have to be willing to forgive imperfect scenes if they're in the service of the big picture.
And Domingo promises that the midseason finale is going to deliver. The past and the present — the BEFORE and the NOW — will finally converge, a horde of zombies will be set on fire and "it's going to be incredible television."
Fear the Walking Dead's midseason finale airs Sunday, June 10 at 9/8c.