You Missed Tһe Wаlkinɡ Deаd’s Most Trаɡiс Villаin Bасkstory

Fear The Walking Dead’s season 6 antagonist, Jason Riley, might have the most heartbreaking villain origin story in the TWD television universe.

Submarine zombie and Lennie James as Morgan in Fear The Walking Dead


  • Jason Riley’s tragic backstory provides context for his villainous behavior in Fear the Walking Dead, making him one of the saddest villains in the franchise.
  • Riley’s connection to the submarine and his desperate pursuit of the second key for launching nuclear warheads is revealed in the webisode “Dead In The Water.”
  • “Dead In The Water” humanizes Riley and reshapes Fear the Walking Dead Season 6 by highlighting the theme that most monsters in the series are made as such, helping to explain Riley’s fall into Theodore’s cult.

Jason Riley may be the saddest villain ever to grace Fear the Walking Dead, with an incredibly tragic backstory lending context to his villainy. When first introduced in Fear The Walking Dead season 6, Riley comes across like many other antagonists in the franchise. He is cruel, manipulative, menacing, ruthless, and cunning. As the story unfolds, Riley’s affiliation with Theodore “Teddy” Maddox’s doomsday cult only partially explains his single-minded and fanatical behavior. At the same time, Riley’s devotion to the cult is perplexing since his temperament is so different from Teddy’s. While Teddy often has a whimsical attitude towards his plans for mass destruction, Riley’s attitude is fervent and desperate.

After learning that Morgan Jones possesses the second key the cult needs to launch nuclear warheads from the USS Pennsylvania, Teddy takes a personal interest in the submarine and Riley begins hounding the main characters for the key. His connection to the submarine remains a mystery for some time until the webisode “Dead In The Water” reveals the full extent of his relationship with the ship, and its crew, and why Fear the Walking Dead‘s submarine key is worth fighting for. Riley’s backstory provides much-needed context for the sort of man he was before the apocalypse, how he came to join Teddy’s followers, and why he is so hellbent on destruction.

Riley’s Tragic Fear The Walking Dead Backstory Explained

A reanimated Riley watches as a CRM helicopter flies away on Fear the Walking Dead

FTWD: Dead In The Water’s tragic plot illustrates how Jason Riley became an antagonist in The Walking Dead. Serving as a Weapons Officer on the USS Pennsylvania, Riley safeguarded one of a pair of keys needed to launch nuclear missiles. As the apocalypse begins, several members of his crew become walkers, and Riley, along with only a handful of his crew mates, manages to escape the submarine without getting bitten. In the excitement, an easy detail to miss is the significance of Riley’s trepidation regarding his status as a new father. It’s this development arc, in particular, that makes Riley’s backstory so heartbreaking.

It’s revealed early on that his son had just been born, and Riley admits feeling he’d make a better Commanding Officer than a father. Later, Riley disobeys a direct order to fire missiles at Chicago because it would mean killing his wife and son. By the time he can contact his wife and verify they are okay, Riley is excited to reunite with his family and be a dad. Sadly, Riley can do nothing but listen on the phone as his wife and infant son are torn apart by walkers. Broken, Riley is all too ready to listen to Fear the Walking Dead villain Teddy and his talk about new beginnings.

Dead In The Water Reshapes Fear The Walking Dead Season 6’s Story

A reanimated Riley on Fear the Walking Dead

“Dead In The Water” reframes the events in Fear The Walking Dead season 6 by humanizing one of its central villains, Jason Riley. In doing so, it reaffirms a common theme throughout The Walking Dead. Characters like Teddy are cut from a unique, diabolical cloth, but most of the monsters in The Walking Dead are made as such. While this doesn’t excuse Riley’s actions, it definitely explains how he could fall for Theodore’s genocidal rhetoric. Together, Teddy and Riley serve as an interesting contrast for one another, where one is legitimately and irrevocably evil and the other is just another tragedy.

Related Posts

Former 49ers defensive player says QB Brock Purdy “is here to stay”

Logan Ryan appeared in five regular season games for the San Francisco 49ers in 2023. He started two of them. Ryan also played in all three of…

RHOBH: Annemarie Wiley Says She Spoke to One of Crystal “14 Friends,” Calls Her Actions “Pure Evil” and Suggests Crystal’s Living Her “Karma,” See Her Scathing Post

Annemarie Wiley shared she met another member of Crystal Kung Minkoff’s “14 friends” who “dropped her,” hinted that “what she did” to them was “pure evil,” and suggested she’s…

RHONY’s Jenna Lyons Thinks Kyle Richards is “Coming Over” to Her Team and Wants to Style the RHOBH Star Amid Morgan Wade Romance Rumors

Jenna Lyons revealed she would most like to style Kyle Richards because she believes the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star is “coming over to [her] team.”…

Why Fans Are Focused on Kyle Richards’ Massive Cushion Cut Engagement Ring

People have been paying attention to the RHOBH cast member’s rings amid her separation from Mauricio Umansky.  There’s been a lot of chatter about Kyle Richards and her engagement and wedding…

Lisa Rinna Would ‘Love to Play a Murderer’ After Starring as a ‘Crazy’ Parent in Mommy Meanest (Exclusive)

In the Lifetime movie, Rinna stars as a woman who sends her own daughter anonymous, bullying text messages After Lisa Rinna exited The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in early 2023,…

REPORT: Paul “PK” Kemsley Storms Off After Chat With Mauricio Umansky, and Steps Out Looking “Frazzled” to Film RHOBH Season 14 Amid Separation, See Video as Insider Speaks on Marriage & Split From Dorit Kemsley

Paul “PK” Kemsley was spotted filming for the upcoming 14th season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on Thursday at The Henry in West Hollywood, California — just as he and his…