'Fear the Walking Dead' Boss on the Fractured Family Dynamics, Shifting Alliances

Showrunner Dave Erickson talks with THR about the crowded house situation, drama between Daniel and Travis and Griselda's fate.
Courtesy of AMC

[Warning: This story contains spoilers about Fear the Walking Dead, episode 103, "The Dog."]

The family is reunited — with some unexpected guests — on AMC's Fear the Walking Dead.

While fire forces Travis (Cliff Curtis), his son Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) and ex-wife Liza (Elizabeth Rodriguez) to flee the barber shop, what they may not have expected was for Daniel (Ruben Blades), his wife Griselda (Patricia Reyes Spindola) and daughter Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) to follow.

As the group makes its way through the riots — Infected, as showrunner Dave Erickson calls them — Griselda winds up injured after being trapped from a tumbling construction site, and they're all forced to take refuge at Madison's (Kim Dickens) home. The crowded house now contains Madison and her kids, Nick (Frank Dillane) — still looking for a fix — and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), the latter of which is still the last to realize the gravity of the situation.

Ultimately, the lights in the city begin to go dark as electricity begins to flutter. Travis, Liza, Chris and the Salazars witness the horror outside a hospital where the dead aren't dying and law enforcement continue to open fire. Back at Madison's, the noises prompt everyone to find a shotgun at the neighbor's home, and while they're gone, their Infected neighbor Pete makes his way inside the house just as Travis walks in. That sets up a bloody confrontation in front of the whole family, as Travis — who believes in the power of the word and the heart over violence — attempts to talk to Pete, despite Madison's screams. Daniel, however, grabs the shotgun and shoots Pete — multiple times — including one final kill shot that puts him down for good.

The jarring events set up a three-way clash between the group: Travis is anti-gun and objects to Daniel teaching Chris how to use a shotgun. Madison wants to put down Susan, her Infected next-door neighbor, though Travis objects. And Daniel, well, he already thinks there's no hope left for the world as the National Guard swarm through the area and the entire group is left no choice but to stay at home, despite their efforts to leave.

Here, showrunner Erickson breaks down the episode in a brief interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

 

Daniel Salazar already thinks it's too late. What leads him to believe this?

Daniel and Griselda escaped El Salvador at the height of the war there — for Daniel, the arrival of the military is a mixed blessing at best. There has been an outbreak, a contagion, and the arriving soldiers, he fears, will see every civilian as a potential threat, a danger. Travis sees salvation, the "Calvary has arrived." Daniel sees a vice closing. He has seen this before.

Daniel also thinks that either Travis or Madison is "weak"  to whom is he referring?

Daniel is referring to Travis. Daniel has already killed an Infected. He's embracing the hard truths of this new world. And he sees little hope for [the neighbor] Mrs. Tran. He watches Madison cross the back lawn, sees the hammer in her hand, knows what her intention is  and then he watches Travis talk Madison out of it. This, to Daniel, is weakness. In the apocalypse, morality is a flaw. Travis is unwilling to do what needs to be done. But Madison … Maddy may be someone he can work with.

Griselda tells Ofelia that she and Daniel have been through much worse. Daniel's also the first to say, "Good people are the first ones to die." How much more of their backstory will we learn? What experience does he have in situations like this? 

Griselda and Daniel suffered during the civil war in El Salvador and witnessed the suffering of others. We will learn much more  but that's for another episode.  

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Daniel also lied to Travis about a "cousin" coming to pick them up. Why wouldn't he just be honest with him? How will we see them continue to clash now that they're all effectively trapped at home?

Daniel is self-reliant and fiercely suspicious. He does not trust Travis or his family. He will not share his circumstances or his story. He doesn't want to be at the guy's house, he doesn't want to rely on anyone but himself and his loved ones. Thus far, his actions have been dictated by events and the actions of others. He doesn't want to allow Travis, Liza and Chris into his shop  it was Griselda who offered them shelter. He doesn't want to escape with Travis, but Griselda was injured. He had no choice. Once Griselda is hurt, and once we realize that hospitals aren't the best places to go during the apocalypse, Daniel needs shelter for his wife and daughter. He needs Liza to stabilize Griselda. He needs a place to lay low. He has no family in Los Angeles, as Ofelia points out, he has nowhere else to go but Travis and Madison's house. Daniel will catch his breath, care for his wife, bide his time as he formulates a plan.

Liza offered a grim outlook for Griselda's future if she can't get to a doctor. What's the likelihood that she won't make it and that will force everyone from the home?

Be patient!

Madison and Travis don't seem to agree about guns or putting down the zombie neighbor, Susan; had Madison done that, they may have been able to leave the house. How big of an issue will their major disagreements become going forward?

The apocalypse will draw out Madison and Travis' differences more and more. Travis is a fixer — he believes anything and everything can be repaired; there's always a corner to turn. There's always a fix. Madison, like Daniel, is far more skeptical, far less trusting. This will continue to be an issue for them. Madison and Travis love each other deeply, but their relationship will fracture. 

Madison also failed to tell Travis about having to put down the school principal, Artie. Why isn't she telling him everything?

Shame. What Madison did devastates her — and it also taps an emotional well, a past that she does not want to revisit. There are allusions to this past in the pilot — "It's in the genes," she says. "It's a violent place." Madison has seen violence before. These are not secrets she easily shares — even with those she loves.

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Alicia and Chris have now seen for themselves what's going on in the world. How will they respond?

Chris, like his father, will search for opportunities to help, to save. Alicia, the one character whose future was the most clearly defined, will cling to elements of the past, of the life she once had. 

The National Guard is marking houses. What are they trying to do here?

It's protocol. For the Cruz home across the street, as an example, they're marking the occupants they've found  the living and the dead. 

The lights in L.A. are all starting to go out over some pretty amazing landmarks, including Dodger Stadium. What will the next night in the apocalypse look like?

It will be even darker. The electrical grid had gone down throughout much of the L.A. basin, but the military may have a plan to address this.

Considering our blended family is packed and ready to leave, how much longer can they be expected to remain in the house?

You'll see!

What did you think of episode three? Sound off in the comments below. Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.

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