Fear the Walking Dead's latest episode definitively refutes the theory that Kim Dickens' Madison Clark is returning to the AMC zombie series. Way back when Fear the Walking Dead was a companion series, not a spinoff of The Walking Dead, it followed a handful of characters from Los Angeles, including the Clark family. Dickens' Madison was, of course, the head of this group, but now, only her daughter remains alive.
In Fear the Walking Dead season 4, both Madison and Nick Clark (Frank Dillane) were killed off. While Dillane asked to be written out of the show, Dickens' exit wasn't her choice - and it came quite quickly in the season 4 midseason finale. But then Madison's return started to be teased towards the end of the first half of Fear the Walking Dead season 5 and the beginning of its second half. Unfortunately, though, that theory has now been entirely disproved.
Fear the Walking Dead's theory hinged almost entirely on a tree that was painted with Madison's final words, "No one's gone until they're gone." Considering that no one knew who was painting the tree, it was believed, due to this and some other details, that it was Madison. But that's not the case. In Fear the Walking Dead season 5, episode 11, "You're Still Here", it's revealed that the series' new character, Wes, was responsible for painting the trees, though he didn't paint that specific one.
For the past few episodes, Alicia has felt that she needed to find the person who was painting the trees, since that person might help her see the world differently, in a better light. Once she realized it was Wes, she used his equipment to make her own painting on a nearby tree - writing the last words that Madison said to her and Nick - which was apparently cathartic enough to immediately absolve of all her trauma as well as her trepidation for killing walkers. So in the end, it was Alicia who painted that tree, not West and certainly not Madison, who is still - and likely will stay - dead.
While the Madison return theory was driven by speculation and leaked set photos, it was merited by the fact that fans have felt the series devolve into a show that's more about the wholesomeness of helping others and dealing with Morgan and Dwight's anguish - two characters who've been transplanted from The Walking Dead - than it is about the fear of zombies. Its title, Fear the Walking Dead, is no longer applicable to its plot or characters. So bringing Madison back would've been, according to vocal fans, a step in the right direction.