Warning: this story contains spoilers for Sunday’s Fear the Walking Dead, “Padre.” An ailing Alicia Clark (Alycia Debnam-Carey) is facing her greatest battle yet: infection from a walker’s bite. Sunday’s midseason finale, “Padre,” reveals Alicia was bit by a walker when escaping the fallout bunker where she survived the warheads detonated by Teddy (John Glover) some 90 days earlier. Alicia amputated her arm in an attempt to stop the infection, but she was too late: a fever-stricken Alicia fears she’s slowly succumbing to the bite ravaging her body as she asks for Morgan’s (Lennie James) help finding a new home for her people: PADRE.
The bite happens in the sewer tunnels beneath the bunker where Alicia and Will (Gus Halper) unleash a zombified Senator Vazquez on rats to find a way out. The senator is the only one who knew the classified location of PADRE, a government outpost safe from the fallout of the nuclear-zombie apocalypse.
The blast of Teddy’s bombs brings the tunnels down on Alicia, who gets bit just above the left wrist when trapped in close quarters with a gnawing Vazquez. Alicia amputates a part of her arm and passes out from shock and blood loss.
Awaking one week later, Alicia learns it was Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) who got in the way of stopping Teddy’s warheads from firing. When Will says her fever broke, Alicia panics: she didn’t stop the infection in time.
The sewer drain self-amputation could have caused sepsis or tetanus, says Will, but Alicia knows the bite caused the fever. Reunited with Morgan months later, Alicia reveals antibiotics and other medicines failed to stop the spreading infection her body is still trying to fight off. Resigning herself to her fate, Alicia tells Morgan, “It’s only a matter of time before I lose.”
(Photo: AMC Studios)
“When we were thinking of what it would take to transform a character like Alicia, it felt like it needed to be something pretty big. We landed on the idea of a walker bite and Alicia cutting her arm off,” showrunner Andrew Chambliss said on AMC+’s Fear TWD: Episode Insider. “We wanted the impact of that reveal to be as powerful as possible. And we get it kind of in two pieces. We get the flashback where we see her bit, and then we get the present-day reveal where we see her take her sleeve off and reveal that she’s fashioned a prosthetic from her arm bones. And it’s something that is definitely making a statement.”
In the second half of the season, Chambliss teased, “One of the biggest things that we’ll continue to explore is what Alicia admits to Morgan near the end of the episode where she tells him that, yes, she amputated the arm, but she’s not sure if she did it in time.”
Over on The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) amputates the zombie-bitten leg of Hershel (Scott Wilson) in time before the infection can spread. But an uncurable walker bite to the abdomen dooms a feverish Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs), who lasts two days before dying by suicide to prevent succumbing to his fatal injury and reanimating.
“We have seen many characters bit by walkers. We’ve seen many characters turn because of walker bites. But we haven’t actually seen anyone battle a walker bite long-term,” Chambliss said. “Alicia is going to have a very tumultuous emotional journey in the back half of this season. We wanted a physical journey to go along with that. The bite, the fevers, and what Alicia’s going to be going through with Strand and some of the other characters this season are all really gonna work hand in hand.”
Alicia goes to war with Strand when Season 7 of Fear the Walking Dead returns with new episodes April 17 on AMC. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter and ComicBook’s @NewsOfTheDead for TWD Universe coverage all season long.