The original Fear The Walking Dead cast returned in full in 4x02, "Another Day in the Diamond," catching up with the band of survivors at least one year after 3x16's dam explosion — but "present day" finds a rugged Fear crew without leader Madison.
"Before" reveals the Clark clan set up residency in a left behind baseball stadium-turned-neighborhood, everyone settled into their roles and ensuing chores in the quaint community of just nearly 50 survivors.
Madison is more maternal than ever before, kindly taking to a young orphan girl named Charlie, and she's more altruistic than ever before, going so far as to risk her life to rescue lone survivor Naomi (Jenna Elfman in her series debut).
Some time before erecting the newfound community, Madison took in Strand, who he credits with his own personal salvation.
"She's the only reason I'm here," Strand says of her. "She didn't just find me down there, she saved me, and she didn't have to."
He tells Luci: "Still never asked her why she helped me after what I did."
The de facto stadium leader may have softened some, but she hasn't lost her edge: when dealing with a gang of trespassers making a home out of the stadium's parking lot, Madison coolly warns the foragers her community has enough people and weapons to defend themselves.
But that new group of looters-slash-parasites, officially dubbed the Vultures, aren't dissuaded by the show of force — and they may have been responsible for the dire situation facing the survivors in the present.
"Now" returns to the cold-tinted present, finding Alicia, Nick, Luci, and Strand dirtied and desperate.
The foursome is noticeably lacking Madison, whose absence just might have something to do with the group's ragged presentation and even rougher attitudes.
Fear The Walking Dead is telling two tales — one in the warmer "before," and one in the colder and harsher "now" — and we've yet to see Madison in the present.1comments
She's been separated from her family before, but this time? The MIA Madison might be gone for good.
Fear The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.