Is Charlie Naomi’s Daughter on ‘Fear the Walking Dead’?

Charlie Fear the Walking Dead
Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC

On the May 20 episode of Fear the Walking Dead, we learned the fates of both Jenna Elfman’s Naomi and — if the self-serving woman can ever be believed — the daughter she tearfully told John Dorie she “lost.”

Seems the girl was named Rose, and according to the tale her mother told an exasperated Madison and Strand, the child contracted pneumonia and passed in the three days it took for her desperate mother to scavenge antibiotics.

And then Rose turned and took the rest of the FEMA outpost with her.

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Though Naomi appeared sincerely broken up — almost suicidal — by her return to the compound and the sight of the child’s things, it took about 90 seconds for some FTWD fans to call bullpucky on the whole scenario and claim that young and murderous Charlie is really Naomi’s Rose. And that Naomi knows it.

After an initial phfffft! at the notion, we thought it over a bit more and, indeed, there are multiple things that bolster the possibility that those theorists are correct. That either mother and daughter have been working together all along for the good of the Vultures or Rose somehow landed in the Vultures’ clutches and Naomi is just doing what a mother must.

Hell, maybe they’re all related and Mel was only telling half of the story when he said just he and Ennis escaped their community intact. Maybe Mel (or Ennis) is really Rose’s dad — hence her total devotion to him, even in the face of Madison’s kindness.

To John Dorie — a fellow with little to offer Naomi but love, licorice and a limited selection of DVDs from Bill’s Convenience Store — she said she “lost” her child, not specifically that the child had died. Telling of what really happened? That maybe the Vultures stumbled upon her girl and stole or saved her. Or just that she couldn’t bear to utter the actual words that the girl had passed away?

We’re not 100-percent convinced of either, but these are some things to ponder which might indicate Naomi and Charlie share more than just a woebegone expression and affection for plaid shirts.

Fear the Walking Dead Naomi

Jenna Elfman as Naomi

There’s no way the mother of a tiny child would leave her desperately ill offspring — hidden away without any food or comfort — for three days, especially in a zombie apocalypse. I don’t care how dire the circumstance.

So, either it’s another of Naomi’s lies or said child was old enough—a la Charlie—to fend for themselves that long even if it wasn’t ideal or Naomi is actually telling the truth about Rose’s demise. That last one might be possible. But …

One tiny child, hidden away, isn’t likely to be the cause of the entire compound chomping its way to extinction.

She may have gotten in a few good licks when first discovered, but the idea that one zombified tot wiped out the joint is hardly feasible. Not to mention that …

If everyone was dead and turned when Naomi returned, how did she know the specifics of their demise?

Unless …

Perhaps the Vultures decimated the FEMA outpost or, equally likely, found it that way and also discovered a living Rose/Charlie among the dead and saved her.

Or maybe they snatched the child as a way to get the outpost to comply with their demands, and that’s what Naomi discovered when she returned. Either way, it would certainly force Naomi to do the Vultures’ bidding to a) keep her child alive and b) keep her child near. But why bring the FEMA supplies back to the stadium if she has been Team Vulture all along or isn’t on the up-and-up about Rose’s death? Well …

Mel Charlie Fear the Walking Dead

Kevin Zegers as Mel, Alexa Nisenson as Charlie

Theoretically, the good stuff from the outpost would go to the Vultures anyway.

Regardless of whether Naomi made her escape from Strand and Madison or not, the supplies from FEMA would eventually end up with the Vultures anyway, according to what Mel told Mad is their end game. The ballparkers are just doing the grunt work, much the way the Vultures prefer.

And with a crop of zombies nicely guarding what IS left at the outpost, the idea that the Vultures are fully aware of it and its contents is solid.

Except for one thing: There is no spray-painted number or numbered banner outside the post marking the number of dead within. May mean something. May not. Maybe the Vultures got there before they came up with the idea of a zombie census.

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The need to appease or stock the Vultures could also explain Naomi’s specific obsession with obtaining copious medical supplies and arranging what she couldn’t carry just so in Bill’s convenience store.

Sure, that stuff could also signal her unwillingness to let her own broken heart happen to another parent or family. But more likely it’s because she has a small someone else whose wellbeing tops her list of concerns.

Naomi being Team Vulture from the start could also explain a) how she knew where Madison and Co. were headed to search for Charlie’s parents in the first place …

…and why she inexplicably scrambled up to the top of that rickety oil tank to “escape” Madison and Alicia instead of making a run for it. Except she fell in first while potentially trying to lure the pair to their deaths.

Kim Dickens as Madison, Jenna Elfman as Naomi

It could also explain how mother and daughter could not let on that they knew each other when they crossed paths at the stadium.

It’s likely that we’ll know more about the matter (and John Dorie’s fate!) after this Sunday’s Fear.

But I’ll be watching with a fresh perspective on how Naomi relates and reacts to her company and conditions. Because Alicia was fibbing about Naomi’s fate. And Naomi may well be fibbing about Rose’s.

Fear the Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC