This weeks’ episode of Fear The Walking Dead titled “In Dreams” is a devastating and also a heartbreaking one. Grace and Morgan finding out that her baby is stillborn will go down as one of the darkest moments in the franchise. Here to talk about that shocking moment, is Karen David as we go over all the details about that moment in this exclusive interview.
How did you prepare for that twist at the end of the episode?
KD: “I knew about these storylines when Ian and Andrew sat me down pre pandemic, so I had this extended period of time to to prepare for this, which in hindsight I’m really grateful for, because it’s a very devastating storyline. It’s a very sensitive subject. And I needed to really even let that sit with me. I took a lot of deep breaths when I was reading the script and then had many meetings with Michael Satrazemis. He is one of our most wonderful magical directors on the show with Jalaludin, who is a magnificent director of photography. Ian and Andre, who penned this, just found that that perfect balance in telling this this story. We kind of all came together and sat down and we went through the whole the whole thing and what to expect. I was so excited because esthetically and stylistically, this is an episode that we’ve never really done in our universe. With the subject to of infancy loss, it’s something that has never been talked about. And then from there, you also have like those little easter eggs in the unconscious state where you see the bird poop walker, my truck, and Grace in her suit paying homage to her journey, which began in season five. I just loved all of that coming into play in Grace’s unconscious state. I was really excited that we were doing something very groundbreaking and very different. And I could not be more proud of the end results. And to see the initial feedback of you guys, you know, having watched the advance screenings and all that, it just it means the world to all of us. We knew that this is going to be a very big episode for the universe, but also a very big episode for Grace and I. It’s been a real honor to tell her story.”
After I watched “In Dreams”, I had to take a few minutes to process what I witnessed. At that time, I thought of that particular episode of Chernobyl where a pregnant woman lost her baby due to her baby absorbing all of the radiation from the character. Did the comparison of the real life incident and that episode came through your mind when you were going through the script of the episode?
KD: “I know each case is very different and I’m not a medical expert where I can speak on those things. But I certainly watched all of Chernobyl. I did a lot of research on Hiroshima and Chernobyl and what had happened and the stories of what different people had been through. And I tried to take as much of that. And, you know, Mikey, I, Ian, and Andrew had many discussions about this and how that played into Grace’s experience in this apocalyptic world. One thing that remains true is having personal experience with this with my family members and dearest friends who have suffered through infancy loss and doing so much research, listening to many videos of families who were so courageous to talk about their experience. For me, it was so important to tell their story through Grace as well, and to honor and respect what they have been through, through Grace. It was a fine balance to achieve. And as an actor, this storyline was with something that is a gift to be challenged in a way both emotionally, spiritually and physically, and to talk about a subject that’s so important and so sensitive. I can only hope and pray that I was able to do that respectfully and and with justice to the storyline. So to hear all the feedback has just been so wonderfully overwhelming and just means so much to to both Grace and I.”
As you said, the structure of this episode has never been done before and you and Lennie James did an amazing job telling this story. Do you have any stories on how you and Lennie work on this way of storytelling?
KD: “Michael and the rest of us kind of sat together mapped everything out and they showed these wonderful vision boards and storyboards of what they wanted to achieve in the unconscious state for Grace, but also in, you know, the conscious state. There is no break for me or Grace in this episode. And it was very much trying to navigate very delicately through each scene. I couldn’t have been in better hands and in safer hands, with or without crew and with Michael and the gang and certainly with Lenny, who is the best scene partner I could have ever dreamed of that last scene. We didn’t want to over rehearse it. That was one all done in one take. We didn’t want to see the baby, the prosthetic baby, which special effects did a phenomenal job. We kind of just read the lines for the sake of reading them. So we kind of knew where things were at, but we didn’t want to rehearse it. It was just going to do it. It’s just one of those deeply emotional scenes that you can’t really rehearse as it’s going to happen in the moment. And I knew that I was in safe hands with Lenny and with Michael and the crew. There was this bonding moment and we’re a tight knit family. But in that moment, if I can explain and do it justice, I never felt more supported and loved by every crew member and our cameraman, Ramon and Chris. They were right there where I didn’t have to worry about anything. I could just allow myself to go through this moment with Lenny and with Michael. When Lenny placed the prosthetic baby in my hands for the first time in that moment, my tears were for my family members. I cried for my not only my family, but my dearest friends and all those families whose videos I watched for what they had been through. I can’t even call it acting in that moment. It felt so real. And the minute he placed the baby in my hands, I was just broken. It broke me. And one take was all we needed. It was quite devastating. I was just relieved that we got through it. And it was a beautiful and even though devastating moment, but a beautiful moment for Lenny, Michael and our crew to have endured together, which is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. In my heart, I just felt so supported in that moment. And I’m just really grateful. And it turned out just the way that it should have.”
Do you know what was the significance of the pink leaves were during the dream sequence?
KD: “I know that Michael wanted to create this very ethereal world where it was sort of a break for grace from reality. As we all know what was happening later on the episode and what was happening in real life, she’s in this world where she could have this opportunity to delve into the future, where she could see her future and what her daughter was like, and to know that everything was going to be OK because she’s so convinced that this is her time. From the minute that Grace is introduced into this universe, we know that her clock is ticking and she’s convinced that this is it for her.Time is to be called on death’s doors and she has this moment now to to say goodbye to the people that she loves and to also find some peace, knowing that everyone and everything would be OK. It reminded me a lot of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind which is one of my favorite films. And, you know, just being in this world where clarity happens for her. Clarity, gratitude, remorse, like all the feels that she kind of navigates and goes through in this unconscious world, is something so powerful and and so exciting for me as an actor to have been able to to delve into for Grace.”
There has been numerous episodes of The Walking Dead franchise that tackled hallucinations or dreams. Rick Grimes and Michonne’s final episodes are the first that come to my mind. On the newest episode of Fear The Walking Dead titled “In Dreams”, the experimental episode has done something that all three shows have never done before. Plus, add in a dark plot twist in one of the most heartbreaking moments of the season.
The basic plot of “In Dreams” tells the story of Grace having a dream of what the future looks like. In that future, her daughter Athena is grown up, and everyone that she knows is still alive except her. In the real world, the mysterious cult tracked Morgan and Grace down to get back what they want. That is, the key Morgan had around his neck that is supposed to be for the submarine that was first seen earlier this season.
Then I started to realize the strong point of this episode. Grace is having a dream when most of the conflict is going on. The way the real life conflicts were also carried over to the dream was masterful as it explained how they got into this situation in the first place. Grace’s dream sequence also revealed that the baby is not Morgan’s as it belonged to a man named Matthew. I was caught off guard by this. But at the same time, it was never implied that the baby was Morgan’s.
Grace told Athena the story about Matthew while we get flashbacks to when she had to put him down. But that was not the final deathblow here. The plot twist came at the end when Grace gave birth to her daughter in the current time after the conflict. After she gave birth, Grace asked Morgan why the baby was not crying. Morgan turned around and revealed that it was stillborn.
This was heartbreaking and sad to the point that I felt for the character. It also made me think of what parents or parents to be went through on a day to day basis. It may be a longshot, but I believe Grace’s baby died by absorbing all of the radiation from Gracie. That reminded me of an episode of HBO’s Chernobyl when the same thing happened to a character.
The other plot twist to bring up as well is the fact that the dream sequence is Grace saying goodbye to Athena rather than Grace saying hello to her future daughter. Karen David was amazing in this episode as her acting truly shined on this heartbreaking episode. Also, thumbs up to the visual effects team and the director of “In Dreams” for the beautiful scenery and crafting the look of those dream sequences.
I love this episode. It is my favorite of the current season so far. It was sad to see how this episode’s final minutes went. But the way the story was told easily put this episode on my top five Fear The Walking Dead episodes of all time. If the delay of 6×08 did not happen, this episode would have aired at least two weeks ago. Because it is airing on Mother’s Day, there should also be a trigger warning for parents or couples that lost a baby.