Fear the Walking Dead Reveals Who’s Behind the Painted Trees

Fear the Walking Dead solved one of its mysteries Sunday when it revealed the identity of the person painting trees with inspirational messages.

In “You’re Still Here,” Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Strand (Colman Domingo) are on the road when they’re radioed by lone survivor Wes (Colby Hollman), who came across one of the group’s introduction tapes left behind at a gas station. Wes was left stranded when Logan (Matt Frewer) and his heavily-armed gang shot up his motorcycle with instructions to make contact with the group led by Morgan (Lennie James).

When Alicia and Strand give Wes a lift, they learn his pessimistic view of the world clashes with their own. Wes asks why Alicia is so determined to find the person behind the trees, telling her it’s “just paint.”

“Yeah, but they see the world in a way I want to see it,” she says, not quite sure. “If you find them, let me know how that goes,” Wes says in his sullen tone. “Hard to see it ending well. Nothing ever does.”

Alicia and Strand are conscripted into helping Wes reconnect with his brother, Derek, who they later learn is long dead. Wes was actually after an obsessive thief who made off with a manuscript penned in memory of Wes’ brother, one reclaimed only when Wes kills the man with a knife to the gut.

“At the end of the day, people are people,” Wes says over the man’s corpse. “And they’re just going to leave you wanting more.” He leaves, and Alicia thumbs through his discarded manuscript.

On its last page, she recognizes a familiar message: “If you are reading this, it means you are still here.”

Opening the trunk of his left behind bike, Alicia finds paint and brushes. It comes with a realization. “I’m not gonna find what I’m looking for from anybody else.”

She turns a tree trunk blue and decorates it with a white bird rising from flames. Alicia paints a simple inscription: “No one’s gone until they’re gone.”

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Those were the last words of Alicia’s late mother Madison (Kim Dickens), words that will now help the struggling Morgan find some peace as he attempts to move forward after the deaths of his wife and son.

New episodes of Fear the Walking Dead Season 5 premiere Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.