Fear the Walking Dead Showrunners Explain Troy's Return (Exclusive)

Fear showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg break down the return of Troy Otto in the final episodes.

[Spoiler alert for Sunday's "Anton" episode of Fear the Walking Dead.] Troy Otto (Daniel Sharman) looked dead as a doornail when Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) bludgeoned him with a hammer to the head in the "Things Bad Begun" episode of Fear the Walking Dead. Then his body washed away when Nick Clark (Frank Dillane) triggered an explosion of the Gonzalez Dam to end season 3. As it turns out, Madison — who also survived her own apparent death back in season 4 — only left Troy for dead in Mexico. And as was revealed on Sunday's "Anton" midseason premiere, Troy spent the past seven years plotting his revenge against the woman who has been broadcasting her message over long-range radio: 

"My name is Madison Clark. If you can hear this message, you are in the territory PADRE once patrolled. PADRE has fallen. They are no longer a threat to you or your children. If you lost a child, come to the following coordinates and send an SOS on this channel: 31 degrees, 51 minutes north. 81 degrees, 10 minutes west. We will find you. We will do our best to reunite you with your children. We'll make up for all the damage PADRE did to you."

Troy's soldiers tracked Madison to Savannah, Georgia, where she was taken in by Anton and a community of hospitable German tourists. Only "Anton" is the man she knew as Victor Strand (Colman Domingo), who had to decide Madison's fate: hide her, or hand her over to an armed posse loyal to a man who knows Madison "for who she really is." (Spoiler alert: it's Troy.) Ultimately, he saved Madison — and nearly paid for it with his life when Troy threatened to drive a hammer into Anton/Victor's head unless Madison gave up PADRE's secret location.

It was Daniel Salazar (Rubèn Blades) and his army who saved Madison and Victor from Troy, but not before he revealed a scar and a discolored eye. "I know it's not very pretty to look at. Can happen, though. Take a bad hit to the head from, say, a hammer," Troy said over a flashback of Madison swinging her hammer into the side of Troy's head, sending him tumbling into the dirt. "Which is what she did to me before she just left me for dead in Mexico. And that's after she destroyed my family's ranch. Can you believe that? My brother, my father... I lost them all because of her."

Troy then told Madison what he's after: "The same thing I've wanted since you took it from me, Madison. Same thing I've been helping all these good people find since I pulled myself out of the rubble in Mexico. I'm just looking for a home, Madison. You see, you took mine from me, so I'm gonna take yours from you." He's already taken something from Madison: Troy told Madison that he killed Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and left her to roam as a walker, handing over the skeletal remains of Alicia's amputated arm prosthetic.

(Photo: Lauren "Lo" Smith/AMC)

"Daniel Sharman's so fantastic in the role, and we were really interested in both revisiting the dynamic between him and Madison and where they left off at the end of season 3, and butting that up against the person that Madison is trying to become now: someone who's trying to redeem herself for all the sins of her past, and in particular her recent sins of what she did when she worked for PADRE," showrunner Ian Goldberg told ComicBook. "To us, bringing Troy back into the story was the perfect source of antagonism emotionally for her there because he is a reminder of her past and someone who's not going to let what she did — or what he views that she did to his family — lie buried in the past."

While Troy may claim that his vendetta is revenge for brother Jake (Sam Underwood), father Jeremiah (Dayton Callie), and the fall of the Broke Jaw Ranch, there's another reason behind this blood feud that will be revealed in episodes to come.

"What we will come to find out is that, in some ways, Madison and Troy are like two sides of the same coin," Goldberg said. "They're both driven for the same ultimate end goals, but their tactics are very different. Kim and Daniel are terrific together, and we were really excited to bring that character back." 

Throughout "Anton," a theme emerges as Madison and Victor/Anton wrestle with what the Germans might call zweite chance: "Everyone deserves a second chance."

"It's very much the theme in the back half. This really is a moment for all these characters to have a stab at a second chance," added showrunner Andrew Chambliss. "We see Victor Strand having created an entirely new life for himself, and now he's going to have to grapple with the fact of whether or not he can integrate this new persona he's created with the man he used to be as his old life and new life come together. Madison's obviously struggling with whether or not she can seek redemption, whether or not she can give all these people at PADRE the gift of family, a place where they can be safe, the things she always wanted for her own children."

Chambliss continued: "We'll see that theme resonate as we get into Dwight, Sherry, June's stories later in the season. It is definitely a big part, and I think it's a question that the finale of the series is really going to answer in a big way." 

Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC and AMC+.

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