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This post contains spoilers for Fear the Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 3, “Good Out Here.”[hhmc]

Fare thee well, Nick Clark. Parting with you on Sundays Fear the Walking Dead was truly an unexpected, if sweet, sorrow. As longtime Fear series regular Frank Dillane prepares to leave the series—while his character is dead, theres a good chance well see more of him in flashbacks before hes gone for good—show-runners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg have broken down all of the details that came together to make his departure so beautifully executed. The final shot of the episode, especially—in which Nick wakes up in a bed of bluebonnet flowers, taking one sharp inhale before the screen goes black—had a very specific meaning. (And for the record, Dillane was not kicked off the show; Chambliss and Goldberg said the actor asked producers during the dramas third season if he could leave the show to pursue other opportunities.)

The send-off Nick received echoed a certain memorable Walking Dead death: the moment when Carol instructs a little girl named Lizzie to “look at the flowers” before shooting her in the back of the head. Throughout Sundays Fear, bluebonnets were a recurring motif. First, Nick picked one of the blooms and remembered when his mother, Madison, walked him through a field of the flowers to remind him that theres still good in this world, even as it crumbles. Once Nick got shot, his death unraveled in gruesome, wrenching slow motion, with lingering glances at his family frantically trying to save him. After Nick finally died, however, he awoke to a much more peaceful scene: he was laying in that same field of flowers.

That last moment was crucial to Fear the Walking Deads newly installed show-runners, who wanted to send Nick off, as Chambliss put it, “with a sense of peace.”

Chambliss told The Hollywood Reporter that after all the chaos Nick has endured, it was important to him and Goldberg to give him calm in his final moments. “Hes someone who over the first three seasons had a very difficult time with his family. He was someone who embraced the chaos of the apocalypse. When we found him at the baseball stadium in the beginning of season four, hes found a connection with nature and providing for his family . . . Morgan may have been a little too late, but he started to open the doors for Nick to see that peace again. We really wanted to sell the idea that Nicks mind and his heart were open. He was maybe on the first steps to a more peaceful way when he died. We want to remember him that way going forward.”

Perhaps the most heartbreaking aspect of Nicks death was its timing: Morgan had just introduced him to The Art of Peace, the very book that gave Morgan a sense of purpose and understanding in the apocalypse. As Morgan and Nick talked throughout the episode, it seemed Nick was about to embark on an emotional journey that would have finally granted him a sense of stability. Alas, it wasnt meant to be—and that, Chambliss said, will be something Morgan grapples with moving forward.

“Were definitely seeing something different [from] Morgan here,” Chambliss told T.H.R. “He stepped in at the last minute and tried to make a connection with Nick, but what hes really feeling here is the fact that he hesitated and waited too long. There were plenty of opportunities in the episode to show Nick that theres a better way to live. Morgans own fears about connecting with people prevented him from opening up and showing Nick the way.” Nicks death, Chambliss added, will show Morgan “that theres a price to be paid for putting up walls between you and other people, just as theres a price to pay for making connections to people.”

In general, the way the episode unfolded—with flashbacks providing glimmers of context for interactions that were taking place in the present—is in keeping with the approach this season has taken so far. And it seems the parallel timelines are here to stay, at least for Season 4. As Goldberg told T.H.R., “Telling stories across time is really about telling one big emotional story. Thats where we started this season: a story of hopelessness building toward hope. Thats where everything comes from for us. The flashback story provides a different emotional context for what were seeing in the present day. Were really excited to see how people react to getting to see two very different sides of these characters, and asking the questions of what happened that made everyone change so drastically?”

Hopefully, well get all those answers before the season wraps up. For now, it seems that the Clarks and their friends should mostly concentrate on watching their backs— because with Nick gone and Madisons fate still up in the air, things are starting to look pretty dire for them.

Get Vanity Fairs HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Full ScreenPhotos:What Time of Year Is It on The Walking Dead?

Daryl Dixon

This photo has a lot of layers—both literal and figurative. Clearly, the hat is a nod to the blistering sun—which, ostensibly, is also responsible for the impressive amount of sweat soaking through Daryls shirt. Then again, if its so hot, why on earth is Daryl—the king of bare biceps—wearing this loud button-down shirt? For the love of God, if were going to give him an unnecessary layer, make it a poncho.Photo: Courtesy of AMC.King Ezekiel

King Ezekiel

King Ezekiel looks like hes ready for a snowy hiking trip with Bane in that long, fur-lined leather jacket. Somehow, he barely seems to be breaking a sweat—not that you'd see it through that coat.Photo: Courtesy of AMC.Rick Grimes

Rick Grimes

Its been many a moon since weve seen Rick with dry hair. His perpetually sweat-soaked button-downs and water-logged locks are worthy of the desert—or Disney World in the summer. Yet, there he is, talking to be-leathered, unbothered King Ezekiel. If the rule of good leadership is “never let 'em see you sweat,” Rick should be fired immediately.Photo: Courtesy of AMC.Carol Peletier

Carol Peletier

Carol has taken to wearing a heavy-looking, camel-colored coat. And apparently its so cold in this scene that even the zombie had to put on her cardigan before stalking her prey.Photo: Courtesy of AMC.Sasha Williams

Sasha Williams

I guess its warm? I mean, everyone is definitely less layered than they were during the season premiere, as they all sat in a semi-circle shaking with fear in their jackets and over-shirts and long sleeves. Sashas even wearing short sleeves now!Photo: Courtesy of AMC.Maggie Greene

Maggie Greene

Then again, heres Maggie, in long sleeves and an undershirt with no pit stains! Oh, to have that superpower.Photo: Courtesy of AMC.Enid and Carl

Enid and Carl

I give up. Here are Enid and Carl on roller skates. Enjoy the midseason premiere on Sunday night. Ill be here, staring at everyones clothes and dejectedly muttering to myself.Photo: Courtesy of AMC.PreviousNext

Daryl Dixon

Daryl Dixon

This photo has a lot of layers—both literal and figurative. Clearly, the hat is a nod to the blistering sun—which, ostensibly, is also responsible for the impressive amount of sweat soaking through Daryls shirt. Then again, if its so hot, why on earth is Daryl—the king of bare biceps—wearing this loud button-down shirt? For the love of God, if were going to give him an unnecessary layer, make it a poncho.Courtesy of AMC.

King Ezekiel

King Ezekiel

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King Ezekiel looks like hes ready for a snowy hiking trip with Bane in that long, fur-lined leather jacket. Somehow, he barely seems to be breaking a sweat—not that you'd see it through that coat.Courtesy of AMC.

Rick Grimes

Rick Grimes

Its been many a moon since weve seen Rick with dry hair. His perpetually sweat-soaked button-downs and water-logged locks are worthy of the desert—or Disney World in the summer. Yet, there he is, talking to be-leathered, unbothered King Ezekiel. If the rule of good leadership is “never let 'em see you sweat,” Rick should be fired immediately.Courtesy of AMC.

Carol Peletier

Carol Peletier

Carol has taken to wearing a heavy-looking, camel-colored coat. And apparently its so cold in this scene that even the zombie had to put on her cardigan before stalking her prey.Courtesy of AMC.

Negan

Negan

Again: heres our Big Bad, zipped into his leather jacket, which looks like a thick summer sausage casing—and looking pretty comfy. In one episode, we see Negan all layered up and then totally comfy on the porch with Carl—sporting bare arms. One of those two outfits must be uncomfortable, right?Courtesy of AMC.

Paul Rovia (Jesus)

Paul Rovia (Jesus)

Jesus might be the key to unlocking this puzzle. In recent episodes, hes been seen without his beanie and jacket—which would imply to us that its getting warmer. So perhaps its spring? But if that's the case, how are Ezekiel and the Kingdom growing such luscious apples and pomegranates? Back to Square One.Courtesy of AMC.

Tara Chambler

Tara Chambler

Far be it for us to tell a woman how to dress—but why layer two short-sleeved shirts? If its warm, this would theoretically be uncomfortable—and if its cool, wouldnt it be easier to simply wear sleeves? Perhaps long-sleeved shirts are in short supply during the zombie apocalypse.Courtesy of AMC.

Morgan Jones

Morgan Jones

Morgan is wearing the same clothing as Rick these days, yet he produces less sweat. That kind of biological poise is why he belongs in a place called the Kingdom, and Rick does not.Courtesy of AMC.

Michonne

Michonne

Speaking of the Kingdom: my kingdom to whoever can explain to me Michonne and Ezekiel's clearly polar opposite body temperatures.Courtesy of AMC.

Eugene Porter

Eugene Porter

God, of course Eugene wears cargo shorts. Or, wait a minute, are those. . . cargo pants? Rolled up? Somehow thats even more fitting, isnt it? Yet, youll note, as Eugene sweats through his summer look, there's Negan. In leather. Barely sweating a drop.Courtesy of AMC.

Dwight

Dwight

I dont know, man. I just dont know.Courtesy of AMC.

Sasha Williams

Sasha Williams

I guess its warm? I mean, everyone is definitely less layered than they were during the season premiere, as they all sat in a semi-circle shaking with fear in their jackets and over-shirts and long sleeves. Sashas even wearing short sleeves now!Courtesy of AMC.

Maggie Greene

Maggie Greene

Then again, heres Maggie, in long sleeves and an undershirt with no pit stains! Oh, to have that superpower.Courtesy of AMC.

Enid and Carl

Enid and Carl

I give up. Here are Enid and Carl on roller skates. Enjoy the midseason premiere on Sunday night. Ill be here, staring at everyones clothes and dejectedly muttering to myself.Courtesy of AMC.

Laura BradleyLaura Bradley is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com.

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