[Spoiler alert for the Fear the Walking Dead series finale.] Everyone deserves a second chance… everyone except Troy Otto (Daniel Sharman) on Sunday’s “Fighting Like You” episode of Fear the Walking Dead. Believing that Troy killed her daughter Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), a vengeful Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) set out to kill Troy before he could lead a walker herd to PADRE and take the island as a home for his daughter Tracy (Antonella Rose). Complicating matters was the return of PADRE’s Crane (Daniel Rashid), who used the second chance that June Dorie (Jenna Elfman) gave him to try to retake PADRE because he blamed Madison for the death of his sister Shrike (Maya Eshet).
Madison spared Troy so he could take her to the horde his right-hand man Russell (Randy Bernales) was herding toward PADRE, even protecting him when Daniel Salazar (Rub?n Blades) and Luciana (Danay Garc?a) tried to kill him as payback for the deaths of Charlie (Alexa Nisenson) and their people gunned down in a shootout with Troy’s men. As Troy buried his zombified wife, Serena, Troy told Madison why he murdered her daughter: because Alicia put the thinking in Serena’s head that got her killed.
As Troy told it, Alicia answered their SOS when a pregnant Serena suffered a zombie’s bite, amputated her arm, and then left to go help more people. Alicia inspired Serena, so she’s to blame for Serena falling victim to a trap: when she answered a stranger’s SOS, a marauder shot Serena, robbed her, and left her for dead. She eventually succumbed to her injuries and died in Troy’s arms.
But violence begets violence, and that’s what happened when Crane tracked Troy and Madison to a swamp, then sent them plunging into walker-infested waters to be devoured or drown in quicksand. Crane paid for his vendetta with his life as walkers ate him alive, only for Troy to save Madison by pulling her out of the swamp. As it turned out, Serena’s dying wish was to make Troy promise to keep what Alicia believed in alive. He then disclosed Russell’s location so PADRE could disperse the herd.
Troy then told Madison he would live up to the second chance Alicia gave him. Except he wouldn’t: believing that second chances are what got her daughter killed, Madison stabbed and killed Troy with the skeletal remains of Alicia’s arm. A decade after she seemingly bludgeoned him to death with a hammer, Troy Otto died at the hands of Madison Clark (and, technically, Alicia’s). Tracy then found a zombified Troy in the woods and shot him, killing him a second time.
“It’s about testing Madison’s mantra of ‘no one’s gone until they’re gone,'” Fear the Walking Dead showrunner Ian Goldberg told ComicBook about Troy’s death. “And in that moment, at the end of episode 11, Madison’s faced with this dilemma. It seems like Troy has changed, it seems that he is worthy of redemption based on his actions. But Madison has seen time and again how you can get burned for that. And I think there’s a real question in her mind of: ‘Can Troy be trusted? Is it worth the risk?’ And in that moment she decides it isn’t, that the more pragmatic choice is to kill him.”
Madison murdering Troy is “a very dark moment for Madison,” Goldberg continued. “But she’s doing it because she believes that’s what she has to do to protect her family. She’s doubting ‘no one’s gone until they’re gone’ at that moment. And the finale is all about bringing her back around to realizing that she was wrong and bringing her back to that place of hope and realizing that her initial philosophy was correct.” (See what the showrunners had to say about Madison’s finale fate here.)
Did Troy deserve a second chance? “I think it’s a very good question and I think it’s one we won’t know the answer to,” showrunner Andrew Chambliss said. “But I would say I think the one kind of distinction between the Troy that we knew in season 3, and the Troy that we’ve seen change over the course of this back half of season 8, is that he is fighting for his daughter. And I think particularly in the penultimate episode, he’s starting to see the error of his ways and he’s starting to see that maybe, just maybe, he needs to change for Tracy. So I think there’s a very good chance that he could have changed for Tracy, for Madison, for everyone at PADRE.”