[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Fear the Walking Dead Season 6, Episode 16, “The Beginning.”]
With the nukes in the sky, Morgan (Lennie James) and the rest of his group are forced to reckon with the high likelihood that the rest of their lives are now measured in minutes, rather than months or years. This leads to some surprising revelations, the reappearance of CRM and yet another cliffhanger ending involving the fates of two main characters. Here’s how it happens.
Sarah, Luciana, Daniel, Wes, Rabbi Kessner and Charlie
The aforementioned group piled into Al’s (Maggie Grace) tank and started speeding toward a mysterious destination where Rollie (Cory Hart), a member of Sherry’s (Christine Evangelista) group said they’d be safe. Oh, and Riley (Nick Stahl) is with them as a captive, too. Daniel (Ruben Blades) claims he heard a voice he recognized over the radio telling him coordinates of a place where they’d be safe, but given his recent memory issues, the group questions whether that was real — and no, the voice isn’t Madison (Kim Dickens).
But wait! A plot twist arrives in the form of Daniel figuring out Rollie was deliberately leading them astray; he used to be part of The End is the Beginning gang, and he was really just leading them all to get “a better view” of the end. Yikes. Daniel kills Rollie and then Charlie (Alexa Nisenson) shoots Riley, so that’s that. They head to Daniel’s coordinates only to discover that, in the end, he was right — the coordinates are where a CRM helicopter lands, and it picks them up before the blast. The voice he heard was Al (Maggie Grace). Great timing!
Dwight and Sherry
The lovebirds make it to a backwoods cabin where they intend to share a beer and pretzels and just be together until the end. Sherry gets teary as they pop open bottles and says she shouldn’t have wasted the time they had. Dwight (Austin Amelio) tells her not to feel bad about it… and then a couple and their kid emerge from the house, weapons raised, threatening Dwight and Sherry. They think they’re part of The End is the Beginning, and apparently one of the believers stole their cellar for his own survival.
That doesn’t fly with Dwight and Sherry, who opt for one last act of heroism before the end. They drag the guy out of the cellar and shoot him in the legs, giving him a “front-row seat” to the end his people created. They then earn an invite from the family to stay with them, and so they ride out the blasts in the makeshift bunker.
Probably the most interesting storyline in the episode is that of Victor Strand (Colman Domingo), who heads into the city after betraying Morgan and leaving him for dead on the submarine. He fights his way through the dead and into a building where he finds a man named Howard (Omid Abtahi), a former historian who has amassed an admirably large collection of artifacts from all around Texas. They bond pretty quickly, and Strand shares what’s on his mind: He talks about what happened on the submarine. Except instead of being honest about what he did, he tells Howard he’s Morgan Jones and makes himself out to be a noble leader rather than a survivalist at all costs.
The blast goes off, and he and Howard are unscathed. Strand starts laughing, in disbelief that his heart is still beating. He then launches into a semi-villainous speech about how he’s a survivor, a “cheater at chess,” and that he must be doing something right, because he’s still there. He proclaims to Howard that it’s a “new day,” and it really seems like they’re possibly setting him up to be the main antagonist for next season.
Dakota, June, J.D. and Teddy
Dangerous teen Dakota (Zoe Colletti) and serial killer Teddy (John Glover) are all set to watch the end, but then sharpshooters June (Jenna Elfman) and John Dorie, Sr. (Keith Carradine) show up. They both just really want to tell Dakota they forgive her (why?!) for killing their beloved John (Garret Dillahunt), and they ask her to come with them and join them in a bunker (WHY?!). She seems torn, but Teddy isn’t. He says she needs to stay outside to stay who she is, because others won’t accept her and if she keeps going, she’ll need to be a different person. But there’s a twist — that bunker they found is Teddy’s, and he’s planning on going underground to survive rather than adhering to the message he’s been preaching.
Dakota refuses to go with J.D. and June, so they go into the bunker without her; then, feeling betrayed, she shoots Teddy and kills him, then gets caught in the blast. In a flash, she’s dead and gone — her charred remains hover where she’d once stood.
Grace and Morgan
These two remain at the sub while everyone else flees, and they’re both prepared to die. They finally say the big L-word — love — and both admit they should’ve said it sooner. Morgan presses his forehead to hers, he holds a gun up so that the bullet would kill both of them when the trigger is pulled, they close their eyes, and… they hear a baby crying.
To understand that, we have to backtrack to the beginning of the episode. You might not remember the beginning of Season 6 at this point, which is totally understandable. But the man who saved Morgan at the department store had a wife named Rachel (Brigitte Kali Canales) and she and her baby stuck around with the group this whole time. Unfortunately, Rachel, in trying to change a tire on her car, broke her leg and couldn’t flee to safety with her child. Fortunately, Emile’s hunting dog came along, and so she tied herself and her baby to the dog, begged it to find someone, killed herself so the pain wouldn’t prevent them from moving, and thus turned into a walker.
So, Grace and Morgan find walker-Rachel and dispatch her, but they pick up the unharmed child. “This feels like a gift from Athena,” Morgan tells Grace (Karen David), who appears stunned and in disbelief. They take the baby and hide from the first blast, but they’re caught by the second, and it’s not quite clear whether they make it out.
- Others might disagree, but I felt this was the weakest episode of the season. The focus on “helping people” and forgiveness made me think of Seasons 4-5, which… weren’t this show at its best. That, coupled with the sheer unlikelihood of the hound bringing a baby to Morgan and Grace, who just happen to hear the baby crying… and June and J.D. going out of their way to forgive Dakota at the last second when they know she’s a sociopath — I know the TWD-verse requires suspension of disbelief sometimes, but this episode was pushing it.
- The dialogue just wasn’t it this episode, either. Morgan and Grace’s admission of feelings was sweet, but real people just don’t talk like that. Strand’s speech was also over the top (although Colman Domingo makes anything work). Oh, and the title cards throughout the episode felt a bit cheesy.
- Not including Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) in this episode was a weird choice. We did see the blast from where she is, but we didn’t see her. Not even a glimpse. Well, here’s hoping she doesn’t turn to cannibalism and start a fighting pit in her bunker over the inevitable time jump between seasons (yes, this is a The 100 reference).
- I’ll be curious to see whether Fear explores CRM in earnest next season, or if having a whole group go away via helicopter was really an excuse to write off a bunch of characters without killing them. Or maybe they all go to World Beyond? Hard to say.
- Rating: 2/5. After a season of solid episodes, Fear’s finale relied too heavily on convenience and played it too safe with a large cast of characters. With that said, it did also set up some interesting stories for Season 7 — it’s worth coming back for villain-Strand alone.
Fear The Walking Dead, Returns 2022, AMC