‘Fear TWD’s Alycia Debnam-Carey on Alicia as a ‘Reluctant Leader’ & ‘Huge’ Final Episodes of the Season

fear the walking dead season 6 episode 14 mother alycia debnam carey alicia clark
Q&A
Ryan Green/AMC

[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Fear The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 14, “Mother.”]

To hear Alycia-Debnam Carey tell it, the worst might be yet to come for Fear The Walking Dead‘s Alicia Clark this season — and she’s been through quite a bit already. “You’re just not ready!” she said of her character’s storyline in the two episodes yet to air… and suddenly, we’re pretty concerned for her in that bunker.

We chatted with Debnam-Carey about what the events of “Mother” meant for Alicia, whether she truly wants to be a leader and why she keeps getting stuck with murderous children.

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In the preview interviews for this season, you’d said Season 6B sets Alicia on the path to becoming who she’s meant to be. Now that “Mother” has aired, can you discuss that in more depth?

Alycia Debnam-Carey: I think this episode really sees Alicia be challenged by a post-apocalyptic madman. She’s confronted by her past, she’s confronted by Cole and in that, the death of her mother and what she left behind and [Cole’s group’s] disrespect and betrayal of it. Going forward, there is this terrifying new reality of what Teddy is trying to achieve, and in that moment when she comes to head with Cole, there’s this choice of who she is going to become — which is, I think, clarity in where she draws the line. For her, that is giving someone a chance, and if it’s not going to keep her safe or keeping things on a productive path, she is going to let them go or change tactics. Sometimes that will show itself as violence, sometimes not. But here, we see it quite clearly with her choice in killing Cole.

What do you think this episode signifies for Alicia’s character? The other Alicia-centric episodes we’ve had, “This Land is Your Land,” I would say showed her as a leader; “Close Your Eyes” showed how much she is willing to forgive. What does “Mother” say about her?

That’s a really good question! It’s interesting, isn’t it? This whole episode showcases our three characters, Teddy, Dakota, and Alicia, and their relationship with their mothers and how their mothers have defined the path that they are walking. I think in a metaphorical sense, we can see Alicia choosing to walk a path that was similar to Madison’s and forging the parts of her life that are her past and her future; what she is willing to leave behind, and what she wants to keep hold of going forward.

We have this idea of Madison which was, in death, that she was forgiving and loving and did whatever it took to keep her people safe. But at the same time, she was very ruthless, very fierce, very pragmatic and dangerous. That’s what made her such a rad character. In this episode, we see Alicia showcasing that what we’ve seen from her in the past — that ability to forgive and hope — but also that balance of ferocity and pragmatism and ruthlessness going forward.

fear the walking dead season 6 episode 14 mother alycia debnam carey alicia clark

Ryan Green/AMC

The whole ‘using the walker as a shield’ thing and holding the gun through it was a very Madison move.

Right? Such a Madison thing to do! And I think even the way she responds to Teddy, there is an even-keeled reaction that she now has in knowing that he is a madman but he sees something in her, and she sees him for who he is but she is also willing to play into the game enough to keep the upper hand.

With this episode being called “Mother,” and other characters from the Dell Diamond returning, some fans thought there might be a hint that Madison’s still alive. Can you say anything about that at all? Would you want to see Madison return?

I love Kim [Dickens]. I think she’s the best, and I think there’s always nuances of Madison’s legacy that we pay homage to through Alicia all the time. As you said, you see glimpses of her in Alicia in this episode, and I hope to bring that with me as much as I can. That’s as much as I can say! [laughs]

fear the walking dead season 7 episode 14 mother alicia clark alycia debnam carey

Why does Alicia keep winding up with murderous children? First Charlie, then Dakota…

I asked myself the same question! I think there was a line in there where Dakota pulls the gun on Alicia and says she’s going with Teddy, and Alicia’s like, “What a surprise.” It’s just this thing of, like, ‘I should’ve known, but why am I always in the same position?’ But at the same time, I think we’ve seen what Alicia can do in those situations with Charlie, through Charlie’s evolution and metamorphosis into someone who has a lot of compassion and love and has become a vital and important family member. It speaks volumes that there is a chance and hope for these kids. But I would also say Dakota’s a bit of a psychopath, so. We’re dealing with someone a bit different here!

Not that Alicia necessarily wants this, judging from her reaction at the end of the episode, but if Alicia is trapped in the bunker with Teddy’s followers, would she step up and lead them? Or would she let someone else take the reins?

I’ve always seen Alicia as a reluctant leader. I think she’s never really seen herself in that position and doesn’t think she has the necessity to be in that position or feels she’s the person to be in that position. But I think because of that, by default, she will become that person. In many ways, in my opinion, I think her fate is to be pushing against being a leader but to be thrust into that position.

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What can you say about what’s to come in these last two episodes of the season?

It’s huge. It’s big and exciting, and I think people are going to be really blown away. And just by the scale of it, and by how it’s something we’ve really never tackled before in this universe and I think it looks really cool. It’s going to set up our characters for this next season in a completely elevated way. And in terms of Alicia, you’re just not ready! Oof, yeah [Laughs].

Fear The Walking Dead, Season 6, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC