"Fear the Walking Dead" is back with its second episode this Sunday and the undead count will mount as the virus begins to spread through Los Angeles and riots break out in the streets.

"There are things that happen in the second episode, where you're left with more reality," said Elizabeth Rodriguez, who plays Liza Ortiz.  

One reality for Rodriguez was learning to perform a variety of medical procedures as her character is a student nurse, and with the apocalypse upon them, there is lots of blood and guts to be dealt with.

"It was way too much gore, way too much blood," says Rodriguez. "I knew I wasn't good with blood, but doing medical things and seeing special effects like bones sticking out of people…it was traumatic!"

So why did the "Orange is the New Black" star even auditioned for the zombie drama? She said playing a strong woman, who struggles to win against overwhelming odds, was a big draw.

"In this life, I will never be a nurse or a medical professional and I am thankful that there are people that can deal with all of it. I would have fainted, and so there was a lot there that I had to act like I knew what I was doing and play as if I was calm."

Season 1 of "Fear the Walking Dead" takes us on a journey that makes us face the actuality of how we would deal with disaster if our sources of communication with the rest of the world were cut off, as are the basics like electricity and food, and the government isn't there to fix the problems.

"You can only connect it to natural disasters, especially in America, more so than terrorism or ISIS," Rodriguez said. "That's where you go when you think of these things, and for me, it made me think about the day-to-day people that survived [disasters] in the world since the beginning of time. How do they feed their children? How quickly do we go from having everything and taking it for granted to having almost nothing?"

In some ways, "Fear the Walking Dead" is also a family drama. Liza is a single mother with a son Christopher (Lorenzo James Henrie) by her ex Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis). Travis, an English teacher, is currently living with high school guidance counselor Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) and her two children: Nick (Frank Dillane), a 19-year-old drug addict, and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), a model student and overachiever.

And, in a surprise twist, Travis didn't cheat on Liza, she wasn't a victim, it was her decision for them to part, so when the disaster starts to unfold, Travis tries to bring his two families together to keep them both safe.

"I think the thing about knowing someone so well is the things you love about them, you always will." Rodriguez said. "The things that drive you crazy will always drive you crazy, and I think that happens in this story. We're parents first for Christopher, and so we're there for each other in that way, but I also have incredible empathy for Madison and the relationships she's having with her children."

The two families will become more dependent upon each other as the virus spreads and riots overtake Los Angeles, and, then, as the walker population grows, there are some incredibly gruesome moments to look forward to.

"When you first see it, you're like, 'Oh, that's so gnarly!'" Rodriguez said. "But then I go straight into broad comedy, so I go something like, 'I want to kiss it!' That really breaks anything that might be stuck in my consciousness of it.'"

And it lets her sleep at night!

"Fear the Walking Dead" airs Sunday nights on AMC.