Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 16, “Gone,” was a huge improvement over last week’s episode, “Amina.” (Fans couldn’t stop hating on last week’s episode, in fact.) But this week’s episode, which featured Madison’s return, was a breath of fresh air. Read on to see our review along with fan reactions to the episode.
This is a Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 16 review of “Gone,” as shown on AMC Plus. So there will be MAJOR spoilers below.
While the episode certainly wasn’t perfect, it was so much better than “Amina” and many of the other episodes that made up Season 7B. Seeing Morgan and Madison finally share screen time together was a lot of fun. The two actors have great chemistry and delivered a compelling performance together.
Madison Has Changed
The episode begins with Morgan finding a pregnant woman while he’s on a hunt for survival supplies and food for himself and Baby Mo. Morgan’s typically a pretty strong survivor, so I’m surprised that he’s struggling like he is. When we finally see Madison, it’s in an unexpected way — she’s kidnapping Baby Mo! But Madison isn’t the same woman that we may recall from the last time we saw her. She’s now working for a group that old Madison might have gone to war with.
Our new Madison has serious respiratory problems after almost dying in that fire. I like this touch, because it lends more authenticity to her character and forges a strong connection to a previous storyline.
The episode also begins by making Madison the antagonist (perhaps a callback to an earlier idea for her character development.) The episode doesn’t stick with this approach, however, and before the show is over, she’s returned to the protagonists’ side.
Padre Is Not What Alicia Had Envisioned
We follow Madison as she goes to the “baby drop-off” and leaves Mo there. It turns out that she’s closely affiliated with Padre, but Padre is not the haven of safety that Alicia had envisioned. Throughout the episode, we learn more and more about the location that Alicia had decided didn’t even exist.
It turns out that Padre is an attempt to rework society after civilization collapsed. They believe in having no emotional attachments, so children are brought here without their parents. Madison started out kidnapping children so that she could get help finding Alicia and Nick (along with having a constant supply of much-needed oxygen.) She later admits to Morgan that she kept working for them because she realized that she didn’t want her children to see what she had turned into. On top of that, she thought the group would go after Nick or Alicia if she left.
This admission is my biggest issue with the storyline. There’s no logical reason to think that this organization could have easily found Nick or Alicia in the midst of a double apocalypse. But compared to some of the other plot holes in other episodes, this one’s pretty minor.
It takes Madison some time, but she eventually comes around to Morgan’s way of thinking, realizing that the best course of action is to strike out against this shadowy organization and find a way to get Morgan’s child back. With Alicia and Nick gone, Madison has nothing to lose.
The ending of the episode was perhaps the best ending we’ve had in a while, and a great way to leave things as we wait for Season 8. Morgan and Madison pretended to know the location of a bunch of children on rafts, so the Padre group would take them. It’s a tricky proposition. How long can they keep the lie going? When can they overcome their captors? Will they ever be able to?
As one Redditor noted in the comment below, there’s also an intriguing idea for tying Sherry’s pregnancy storyline into the Padre storyline.
The episode ends with a shot of them on a boat, heading to a large ship that looks a lot like the one Michonne found on The Walking Dead.
While I don’t think the Padre people belong to the same CRM group that took Rick, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a secondhand connection between them.
Overall, Viewers Are Pleased with This Episode
Fans who watched the episode on AMC Plus are mostly pleased with the episode, as shown in a subreddit discussion.
There are some concerns about Alicia being dangled in front of us like Madison was (see the comment below), but overall, the episode brought positive reactions.
Some viewers even believe that this Madison feels more like the Madison from Seasons 1-3 than the Madison of Season 4 (which is good):
This was probably the strongest episode of Season 7B. The cinematography was beautiful and I didn’t have many problems with the plotline. I also enjoyed the cliffhanger choice. This episode has left me cautiously optimistic about Season 8.