Talk about daddy issues. When Fear the Walking Dead’s eighth and final season begins, seven years have elapsed, and survivor Morgan Jones (Lennie James) has continued trying to do right by his adopted daughter, Mo.
But, the child-stealing organization P.A.D.R.E. still has her and is stronger than ever as it builds a community of dangerous youths. Morgan is pushed “to consider actions he never thought he’d have to face again,” says co-showrunner Andrew Chambliss.
That, of course, means infiltrating P.A.D.R.E., a place we’ve long heard about, but not seen much of up until this point in the series. “P.A.D.R.E. holds a unique place in the TWDU, not just because its location and defenses make it an extremely safe place to live, but also because of the way it’s organized itself,” explains Chambliss. “P.A.D.R.E. isn’t just about survival; it’s about redefining the way everyone lives within its community in an attempt to build a society that’s immune from things that have led to the downfall of so many other settlements: personal connections, selfishness and choices based on emotion instead of reason.”
“It’s no accident that, as we learned in the Season 7 finale, P.A.D.R.E. seems to be building its ranks by kidnapping children from their parents,” he continues. “P.A.D.R.E. wants citizens who aren’t old enough to remember the old ways because those kids will be the ones who will wholeheartedly embrace a new way of living. One that will make sure humanity survives.”
Lauren Lo Smith/AMC
And while the creepy community of kiddie soldiers grows, Morgan must also contend with an old pal who thinks she knows what’s best (and well, she probably does, right?). We quickly learn that Madison Clark (Kim Dickens, a series regular again) strongly disagrees with Morgan’s choices over the last seven years when they meet again in the opener. The reformed baby-napper is ready to defy P.A.D.R.E. But is she too late? Says co-showrunner Ian Goldberg: “The question will be whether helping Morgan will absolve Madison of all the sins of her past, or if she truly is beyond redemption. That’s very much at the core of Madison’s story as we launch into Season 8.”
We’ll also learn what happened to everyone else who was stuck on rafts when P.A.D.R.E came a’paddlin’ — you know, the family that Morgan sold out to the menacing group now-seven years ago to help Mo. “Our second episode, is going to focus on June [Jenna Elfman], and we’re very excited about her story this season,” teases Goldberg. “You’re going to see a whole new side to her, perhaps the darkest we’ve seen June yet. And her story is also going to allow us to peek behind the curtain at the inner workings of P.A.D.R.E. in a way that shows just how formidable and frightening this settlement — and its leaders — truly are.”
Fear the Walking Dead, Season Premiere, 9/8c, AMC (also available on AMC+)