Two things have become self-evident about the zombie apocalypse by the conclusion of the third season of “Fear the Walking Dead.” First, being bit by one of the “infected” (they are called “walkers” in the other show) is a horrible thing. The best that can happen is that the body part that gets bit can be amputated instantly and without painkillers. The worse that can happen is that a friend will have the mercy to shoot you in the head before you “turn” and become one of those shambling, growling creatures that wander about the land trying to eat every living thing, especially living humans.

The other dire truth of the Zombie Apocalypse is that if Madison Clark shows up in your little community, you are pretty much doomed. Whether it was Strand’s boat, the survivalist ranch, and now the dam, Madison leaves little but destruction and bodies in her wake. Her gift for sowing destruction in her wake is pretty impressive for someone who was a guidance counselor in the world before the zombies.

Madison’s evolution as a character

Madison started the show as a single mom with a boyfriend, a junkie son, an overachieving daughter, and a job that irritated her but paid the bills. We saw the beginning of the zombie apocalypse through her eyes and witness her growth as someone who was uncomprehending about how the world was going over the edge to someone who will do anything for the survival or herself and her family.

Hard times make hard people

The one thing about “Fear the Walking Dead” and “The Walking Dead” is its depiction of how the rise of the zombies changes people. One suspects that the two big baddies of the original series, the Governor and Negan, were ordinary, unassuming people. The collapse of civilization turned them into monsters.

Even the good guys tended to take on a hard edge. Rick, in “The Walking Dead,” has gone back and forth from sanity to madness so many times that the line must have become blurred by a certain point. Carol, in the same show, transformed from an abused wife into someone who can shoot a little girl in the back of the head because she has become too dangerous to live.

Madison is a different sort altogether. She is not a villain in the class of Negan. Like Carol, Madison does not hesitate to kill someone if survival depends on it, as she did when she took a hammer to Troy, the psychopath who was responsible for the demise of the ranch and the deaths of most of its inhabitants. However, Madison is a harbinger of doom, a thought that may have occurred to her as she crawled out of the rushing waters after the explosion that destroyed the dam, uncertain as to whether either of her children survived or not.