Fear the Walking Dead fans were able to watch two big episodes back to back over the past two weeks, with last night’s “Things Left to Do” following immediately up on the events of “The Door.” Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) is back in fine form as the power-hungry former con man fans know and love from the show’s first season. We talked to Domingo and the Fear the Walking Dead showrunners about this new version of Strand and what it means for the future.
Strand has always been a man with a plan. Even when the community was living comfortably at the ballpark in season 4, he was squirreling away supplies in case he needed to make a quick departure. So when the villainous Virginia (Colby Minifie) offered him a role as one of her most trusted Rangers, it’s no surprise that he jumped at the opportunity.
While his friends thought he’d turned his back on them, Strand was plotting and calculating. In the newest episode, he reveals that he’d managed to turn many of Virginia’s people against her. What’s not immediately clear is what his intentions are, and Domingo agreed that this is a version of Strand that fans haven’t seen before.
Colman Domingo, Fear the Walking Dead showrunners open up about Victor Strand
During the Fear the Walking Dead roundtable interviews that took place ahead of the season 6B premiere, I asked Domingo if this was the most authentic version of Strand we’d seen since the start of the apocalypse, Domingo didn’t hesitate with his response:
Yes, absolutely. I think there has been a rebuilding and a rebranding of Strand, from the inside out. I think we knew who Strand was in season 1. He was very clear and committed to who he was. Then, in the subsequent seasons, I think he’s been challenged with his own instincts because the group had more heart and they were less pragmatic and he was questioning that, so he was on the fence. By the time we got to season 4, and definitely season 5, he sort of fell in line with the group’s ideology, which is absolutely, completely, the opposite of what his own instincts were. So I think we’re now, as we’ve built season 6, we’ve now come upon Strand 6.0, which is truly the evolution.
Now that you know all the things that make him up, you know his heart, you know what he cares about, who he cares about, you unpeel this great big onion, you got to the sweetness. Now he’s going to cover that onion up with steel, I believe, because he’s like now you know who I am, now I have to take all of that and this whole apocalypse and now recreate this man that he knew, and that they all knew, but now it’s like a whole new version and you’re not ready for it.
Showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg agreed. During an interview for the Undead Walking Podcast, I asked if this was “the Strandiest Strand to ever have Stranded” and how “Things Left to Do” would evolve characters like Strand, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and June (Jenna Elfman). “So much of the first half of season 6 was about these characters who wanted to be together but were prevented from being together by Virginia,” Chambliss said, “and then all the events that transpire in episode 608 with Dorie’s death and then 609 with June killing Virginia and breaking the cardinal rule that Morgan laid out for the community he was building is that we now have a large group of characters who can be together, who have nothing physically keeping them apart, there’s no bad guy preventing them from being together, but they all go their separate ways at the end of the episode.”
Strand goes back with the Rangers to Lawton, Morgan stays put in his settlement and June goes off on her own. What this is going to allow our characters to do is to really ask themselves who they are, and in some regards find that. So when you say “Strand is at his Strandiest” there’s still more Stranding to come.
Goldberg was quick to jump in, adding that, “I’d say it gets even Strandier.”
Before the season 6 premiere, the cast and crew hinted that the season was going to be very dark, both in tone and in character development. After two seasons of trying to help people and be the heroes, the characters discover that no good deed goes unpunished in the apocalypse.
The first two episodes of the back half of Fear TWD season 6 not only support the idea of a dark season but hint that things could take an unexpected turn now that the group has once again been divided, not by circumstance this time, but by choice.