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Walking Dead Wiki
Walking Dead Wiki

"Madman Across the Water" is the fifth episode of the first season of AMC's The Walking Dead: World Beyond. It is the fifth episode of the series overall. It premiered on November 1, 2020, the same night as "The Key", the fourth episode of the sixth season of Fear the Walking Dead. It was written by Rohit Kumar and directed by Dan Liu.[1]


While the group works together to cross the Mississippi River, a plot to steer the teens back home hits a snag. A member of the group must overcome past trauma to save the others from an approaching threat.


Iris, Hope, Silas, Elton, Felix and Huck walk down an abandoned road. Felix nods at Elton, quietly reminding Elton of their plan to bring the group back home.

The group sets up camp for the night. Huck warns that crossing the Mississippi River will be tough and that the terrain on the other side will be difficult to navigate. The kids refuse to abandon their mission.

Felix shows Elton a route on a map that will bring them back to the Campus Colony. He explains that he and Huck will share their plan with the group after Elton lays some of the initial groundwork. Elton hesitates, but Felix says the river is their last chance of getting home safely.

The group arrives at the banks of the Mississippi River. Felix tells Huck that Elton is on board with their plan. Huck proposes that one of them return home with Elton and Silas while the other continues on to New York with Iris and Hope. Felix insists they can still convince the entire group.

The group finds boats on the river bank, but the boats are in disrepair. Iris suggests they salvage boat parts to make their own boat. Elton downplays the idea but the others are enthusiastic.

The group searches a nearby warehouse for boat parts. Iris finds a box of nail polish that is labeled "flammable." Elton stares at the body of an empty, triggering a flashback.

Young Elton visits his father's office at a natural history museum. Elton's mother, Amelia, invites Elton to feel the baby in her belly. Elton looks at the beads on her bracelet and suggests giving a bracelet to his sister when she's born. Amelia leaves for work. Elton's father, Mr. Ortiz, shows Elton how to clean museum artifacts. An alarm sounds in the distance.

In the present day, the group gathers supplies for the boat. Iris suggests they use air conditioner parts to make a steam boiler for the engine.

The group starts assembling a boat on the river bank. Felix pulls Huck aside and says he is going to talk to the group about his plan to return home. He asks Huck to join in with Elton. Hope overhears them.

Hope confronts Elton and accuses him of betraying the group. Felix reveals his plan to sail back home by boat. Hope argues with Felix. Iris points out that the only way to cross the river is if everyone works together.

Hope and Huck look for fuel. Huck admits that she initially wanted to return home but now believes that their mission will make them stronger. Felix tries to make amends with Hope. Hope accuses Felix of letting Dr. Bennett help the CRM when he had the power to dissuade him.

Huck tries to start the boat engine but the furnace fire is not hot enough. Silas suggests fueling the fire with the flammable nail polish. Lightning strikes in the distance.

Iris and Felix scavenge for more fuel. Felix reveals that he was supposed to accompany Dr. Bennett to the CRM but that he stayed behind when Dr. Bennett asked him to look after Hope and Iris. They hear thunder in the distance. Empties stir in a nearby building.

At the warehouse, Elton and Silas pour nail polish into buckets. Elton tells Silas that he colluded with Felix because he was afraid.

In a flashback, Mr. Ortiz tells Elton to hide in his office while he looks for a safe way home. Screams and chaos can be heard outside. Mr. Ortiz gives Elton an animal horn for protection and puts Elton in a box.

In the present, lightning strikes a pole, causing it to topple onto the building with empties. Empties stream out into the field. Iris and Felix flee.

Huck and Hope work on the boat engine. Something goes wrong.

Elton and Silas race down a road with the nail polish. The storm approaches.

Felix and Iris rejoin Huck and Hope at the boat. Iris warns that empties are coming their way. Felix insists on fleeing, but Iris worries that rising water from the storm will wash the boat away.

Elton trips and spills a bucket of nail polish. Silas helps him up.

Hope, Iris and Felix race to assemble the boat. Elton and Silas arrive with the nail polish.

Iris pours the nail polish into the steam boiler. The engine starts, then stops. The empties appear down the road. Felix strings fishing line across the road to stop them.

Iris asks Elton to crawl under the boat and reattach a loose part. Elton says he's too claustrophobic.

Felix strings more fishing line across the road.

Iris begs Elton to fix the engine. In a flashback, young Elton huddles in the box.

Elton crawls under the boat. In a flashback, young Elton calms himself in the box as empties pound on the office door. In the present, Elton calms himself as he crawls under the engine. He reaches the loose part.

Empties start to bypass the fishing line.

Elton attaches the loose part. The engine starts up. He gets stuck and screams for help.

Felix, Hope and Iris slay empties down the road.

Elton panics. Finally, Hope and Iris pull him out from under the boat. The group launches the boat into the river, escaping just as the empties arrive.

The group rests after reaching the other shore. Hope and Felix reconcile.

Huck privately tells Felix that the group should split up.

Huck announces that she is leaving the group to scout out the new territory but promises to return within 48 hours.

Elton cries as he remembers his final moments with his father and mother. In a flashback, young Elton leaves Mr. Ortiz's office and finds Mr. Ortiz dead in the hallway.

Young Elton exits the museum and finds a flyer showing an evacuation route to the Campus Colony. He starts walking.

In the present day, Hope checks on Elton, who wonders aloud if his mother is still alive. Hope sees a photo of Amelia in Elton's journal and realizes she killed Elton's mother on the night of the fall. An empty approaches. Iris walks into the darkness to kill it, but finds that it actually is a person, who approaches the group brandishing a large stick.

Other Cast





  • First appearance of Percy.
  • First (and last) appearance of Isaac Ortiz. (Flashback)
  • The title of the episode, "Madman Across the Water", refers to a song and album of the same name by Elton John.
  • This episode was made available for streaming to subscribers of AMC Premiere on October 29, 2020.
  • This episode is played directly after the fourth episode of Season 6 of Fear the Walking Dead.
  • From the start of the episode to the end, the group covers more than 156 miles. At the beginning, Elton looks at sign saying that Daiquiritown is 156 miles away. Later, the group passes one that says that it is only 10 miles away. It is later briefly seen before a herd emerges from it.
  • Hope realizes that she had killed Elton's mother after seeing her picture.

Episode Highlights