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Fear the Walking Dead’s Zombie Bite Cure, Explained

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[Warning: This story contains spoilers for Sunday’s Fear the Walking Dead episode, “Blue Jay.”] What is PADRE planning? 12 years post-outbreak of the airborne Wildfire Virus running rampant and reanimating the dead, PADRE and his island settlement on Fear the Walking Dead is collecting children and training them to fight “carrion” (walkers). But what’s even more nefarious is what’s happening on the mainland: PADRE charged his right-hand woman, Shrike (Maya Eshet), with finding a way to stop the effects of walker bites. Shrike has been conducting human experiments in search of PADRE’s cure, which would effectively neutralize carrion as a threat to the living.

Sunday’s “Blue Jay” episode of Fear the Walking Dead revealed that PADRE worker Blue Jay attempted to treat walker bites with radiation, but bitten test subjects slowly and painfully succumbed to radiation sickness rather than infection. It was also revealed that nurse June Dorie (Jenna Elfman) is Blue Jay, and that she ran away from PADRE when Shrike tried to force June to administer the lethal treatment on a seven-year-old girl whose bite couldn’t be amputated.

June got the idea from the zombie-bitten Alicia Clark (Alycia Debnam-Carey), who was exposed to walker blood contaminated with nuclear radiation in season 5. Later, after nuclear warheads detonated over Texas, Alicia was bit by a walker and amputated her arm to stop the spread of the infection. The fever-stricken Alicia battled the zombie infection for the rest of season 7 — the longest June had ever seen anyone survive a walker’s bite.

She learned that the radiotherapy treatments successfully stopped the infection caused by bites, but the amount of radiation required to treat bites proved worse than the contamination. Shrike kept the test subjects alive to study resurrection times — how long it takes to turn — and coerced June into keeping the experiments going.

Shrike explains that the experiments could protect children from carrion, and she wants Blue Jay to perfect the “cure” for what PADRE has planned: something “big” and “expansive,” Shrike says ominously. Something that will make the children at PADRE “as safe as they can be.”

New episodes of Fear the Walking Dead premiere Thursdays on AMC+ and Sundays on AMC. Stay tuned to ComicBook/TWD and follow @CameronBonomolo and @NewsOfTheDead on Twitter for more TWD Universe coverage.

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