The latest episode in the current season of Fear the Walking Dead came with a huge twist that not only shakes up the cast, but also alters how everything will play out for the rest of Season 4 and beyond.
Not surprisingly, a lot of thought went into the shocking death that happened in “Good Out Here,” the season’s fourth episode, as FTWD showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg made clear in a recent interview.
Spoiler alert: Spoilers for the “Good Out Here” episode of Fear the Walking Dead lie ahead. Consider yourself warned!
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Chambliss and Goldberg, who’ve only been steering the show since the start of this season, said Nick Clark’s death in “Good Out Here” was inevitable after actor Frank Dillane told producers back in Season 3 that he wanted to leave the show and needed a story arc that would help his character make an exit.
“Good Out Here” provided that in dramatic fashion. Coming so far only to be killed by Charlie — the Vultures’ little girl-turned-spy who’d gained his trust — was a shock not only for Nick but, initially, to the actors who’d worked alongside Dillane from the beginning. Dillane told the cast about his imminent exit himself, and they gave their emotional best when it was time to film the death scene. “They really see each other as family,” Chambliss said. “It wasn't an easy thing to do.”
For someone who’s been around since FTWD’s very beginning, killing Nick was a tall order. The showrunners said giving him an appropriate sendoff — one that leaves the remaining characters to carry forward significant pieces of his legacy — was a task nobody took lightly.
“He's been with the show from day one, so it was very important to us and to Frank to find a death for him that was emotional and one that would ripple forward throughout the storytelling,” Chambliss explained.
Telling Nick’s story in a time split between flashbacks and the present helped drive home the idea that, at the end of his life, Nick finally embraced peace.
“He was someone who embraced the chaos of the apocalypse,” yet, at the end, was “starting to see the good in this world,” Chambliss said. And Nick’s epiphany in death has a dramatic ripple effect on the others, especially Morgan, who’s still living with a reluctance to get too close — only to be devastated when good people die.
“Here, it's happened again: someone he formed a bond with and started to impart some of his philosophy toward… and now he's lost Nick,” Goldberg said.
For Morgan, as well as Alicia, Luciana, and Strand, Nick may be gone, but his absence will only take on an ever-more-present role as Season 4 plays out. Everyone he’s left behind will “struggle with the question about whether they can continue doing what they're doing in the face of such a great loss,” said Chambliss.
Dillane and the showrunners really must have planned Nick’s death thoroughly, because he’ll continue to show up in the flashbacks. “It's safe to say that there's a lot more story to tell with Nick,” said Goldberg, without giving anything more away.
That means we’ll just have to keep watching. Fear the Walking Dead soldiers on without Nick — at least in the present — on AMC each Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.