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The One Fear The Walking Dead Death That Made No Sense To Fans

While The Walking Dead originally kicked off with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) waking up from a coma and entering the world when the zombie apocalypse is already in full swing, its spin-off series Fear the Walking Dead did things a bit differently: It began before the outbreak had taken over. Viewers followed the blended Clark-Manawa family as they slowly came to terms with the fact that their normal lives in Los Angeles were coming to a screeching halt.

Unlike former sheriff's deputy Rick, neither guidance counselor Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) nor English teacher Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis) knew how to deal with that challenge when the show began. Part of what made Fear the Walking Dead so engaging in those early seasons was watching Madison, Travis, and their respective children rise to the occasion and go beyond what they thought themselves capable of to survive. Madison proved herself to be a strong and decisive leader, and Travis became a fierce fighter who would do anything to protect those he loved.

Unfortunately for both of them, their journeys came to an end relatively early in Fear the Walking Dead's run. Madison's death (or "death," depending on who you ask) in season 4 was certainly a shock, but for many fans of the series, it was Travis' demise from stray gunfire at the beginning of season 3 that was the hardest pill to swallow. While the series is lauded because it operates on a "no one is safe" policy, there's something about the nature of Travis' death that has many fans of the franchise scratching their heads in confusion.

Some fans thought Travis was being set up for a bigger narrative

A core part of the ethos of The Walking Dead and its sister shows is that there's no character so beloved or so important that they can't be killed off at any moment. Fans love this, as it not only keeps the shows from feeling predictable, but it also further underscores the franchise's message of just how unpredictable life actually is. So, when it comes to Travis' death, it's not necessarily that fans disagree with him dying — it's more a question of timing and significance. 

In a Reddit thread titled "Would have loved to see this character last longer," user u/geekylexx laid out exactly what didn't sit right with them about Travis' death: "I feel like as soon as his character started changing, coming to terms with the new world and getting comfortable with himself and the violence he was killed off! I wish we could've seen him go further."

Other users agreed that it felt like Fear the Walking Dead was setting Travis up for a bigger narrative than he ultimately got. For Redditor u/danielacordero, it really came down to the timing of Travis' death; they felt as though Travis still had a lot more to add to the series. "I would've loved to see him at the ranch or even the dam," the user wrote.

Another big sticking point was the simple fact that, for a central character, the way Travis died just felt too out of left field. User u/Heins argued, "Yeah I was a little annoyed how he died. Random small arms fire at a helicopter it seemed so insignificant and a waste...The least they could do is give him a honorable death."

Other Fear the Walking Dead fans appreciated the way Travis went out

For all the commenters who took issue with the timing and manner of Travis' death, there were also plenty who thought it was all part of the experience of the show. For them, the sanctity of the series' "no one is safe" mentality supersedes their affection for any character, even Travis.

User u/davey_mann wrote, "[As] much as I hated losing Travis, the way this show kills off [its] main cast members feel way more realistic than most shows." They went on to directly contradict other users' desire for Travis' death to feel more significant by arguing, "The average show would do a lot of buildup and anticipation to the point that the death would feel staged."

Similarly, Redditor u/Intless agreed that it was sad to lose Travis so early into the run of the show, but still concluded, "I loved the way he died. No plot armor, unexpected, in a full of action sequence. That's what make any series interesting, the unpredictability. No one's safe and that's awesome."

Several users brought up another important point missing from the discussion. Yes, Travis dying meant he wasn't around for later developments in the show's narrative, but his death in and of itself was critically important to how that narrative developed. User u/Interesting-Bar-9835 noted that Travis' death was "key to Madison's dark development." If they had to choose, developing Madison as a more complex protagonist was arguably better option than keeping Travis in the picture. As u/Interesting-Bar-9835 put it, "I would much rather [have] a female antagonist lead, rather than another male protagonist lead."

One could also make the argument that the fact that fans are still debating and discussing Travis' death all these seasons later means the Fear the Walking Dead team made a good decision to kill him off when they did.