AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
6×16: “The Beginning”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Ian Goldberg & Andrew Chambliss
* For a recap & review of 6×15, click here.
The missile’s headed into the sky with “multiple warheads” attached, so everyone out there has to figure out how to come to terms with the end that’s coming. Not everyone is willing to concede it’s the end. Like Rachel, who has an accident trying to fix a truck and breaks her leg. Yet she keeps on going down the road with her baby in tow. She falls eventually, unable to keep going. She watches the missile above, then she ties herself to her dog, and she ties her mouth to prevent any biting. Rachel kills herself with a brutal wound in the gut, believing this is the only way she’ll help her child survive. Amazingly brutal. One of the most shockingly tragic moments on Fear the Walking Dead, in my opinion.
Morgan is calling out to people over the radio. Meanwhile, Daniel and the others are trying to find someplace to ride out the next nuclear apocalypse. Riley’s given up info to Rollie about the bunker where Alicia is being kept, where they could be safe from everything that’s coming. So off they go with the SWAT truck. Sarah calls to the others on the radio, trying to get everybody on the same page. Eventually the truck’s breaks go to shit, meaning a little elbow grease is needed to get the thing going again. Luckily they have Sarah, but they’ve got to keep zombies off their asses to get the breaks fixed. Daniel spends his time asking Riley why the latter’s bothered to stick around and he’s not just going to “die for [his] cause.” Riley says he wants to watch it happen, to watch them all lose everything.
Then everything goes sideways. Daniel shoots Rollie. He says that Rollie was one of them, that’s why everything went wrong at the sub. Then Riley’s shot from a distance. He reveals that Rollie was, indeed, one of them, he “lost his faith” after things went sour behind their new community’s wall. Daniel remembers the coordinates to the bunker, hopefully, so they head off on the road again.
Elsewhere, Dwight and Sherry are on horseback. They stop at a cabin where Sherry hopes there might be “beer” and “pretzels.” Since it’s the end they might as well do what they said they would when they were together again. Fuck it, right? Nuclear apocalypse is about to rain down upon them. Do something fun, in case this truly is the end. There’s no pretzels but there are beers. Sherry laments the lost time in their relationship, blaming herself. Dwight tries to assure her she shouldn’t be sorry for anything she’s done; it was all to survive, or to get back to her husband. They get surprised by the married couple who live in the cabin. They warn the married couple about the missile and the couple tells them of a storm cellar, as well as some people who forced them out. Dwight offers to retake the cellar for them. He ties rope to the horse, sending the animal running and pulling the cellar doors free. Out come some of the cult members, whom Dwight and Sherry gun down. They leave one guy alive but wounded, so he can witness the apocalypse. Then they head for the cellar.
Teddy and Dakota are on the road together. She’s blaming herself for saving Morgan, though Teddy says it happened for a reason, because now they’ve met one another. The old man likes Dakota and says she gets him, his whole plan. What a weird relationship. Two psychos in the wasteland, like a spiritual father-daughter pair. It’s actually more creepy than weirdly sweet. The two get interrupted by John Dorie Sr., who’s come for the girl. But Dakota pulls a gun out, too. John Sr. tries to appeal to the girl’s better nature, admitting to his own mistakes. He also forgives Dakota for killing his son. She wants the forgiveness, despite Teddy’s protestations. John Sr. puts down his gun, and when Teddy goes for his he gets a bullet in the hand from June nearby. Both John Sr. and June are willing to forgive Dakota, they want her to be a different person.
They also come upon another underground bunker. So Dakota sees Teddy is a liar. But she’s still very confused when confronted with all the truths and lies. Simultaneously, they hear the missile popping off in the sky.
We see Strand on horseback, coming upon a building where he heads inside. He fights and runs his way past endless zombies in the halls. He makes it into an area where there are supplies and sleeping bags left lying around, among several corpses here and there. Outside it’s nothing but walkers swarming the parking lot. Victor screams to himself. What, or who, is he looking for here? He soon hears music playing somewhere. He heads upstairs until he comes to a floor where the music becomes clearer. He heads through to where there are antique guns and many big paintings, as well as a few nice couches, and a bunch of other high class stuff. Then someone with a gun comes up behind Victor, asking questions. Strand tells the guy the truth about the coming missile fallout. The man’s name is Howard (Omid Abtahi), he was a historian before the fall of civilisation. He knows lots about music history and other general histories; he’s been trying to preserve history there. Howard asks Victor about his journey there, the latter telling the story of his personal faults but never quite admitting to his mistakes, going so far as to pretend his name is Morgan Jones. Then they hear the missile out there exploding.
“… but the bad guys always win.”
At the sub, Grace lies atop the ship and she hears Morgan on the radio, offering what little comfort he can to anyone out there listening. She tosses the walkie away, frustrated. Then she heads back down inside the sub. She finds him at the control room desperately attempting to stop the warheads. But it’s too late now, and Grace tries convincing him to leave, to try and get somewhere safe while they’re able to go. She tells him it’ll be worse than even Hiroshima and Nagasaki. She refuses to let Morgan stay there and die by himself. Part of it is that Morgan now has to let go of all the things he thought would be; the future he hoped for once.
Then Morgan prepares to shoot them both in the head.
Except they stop when they hear a child crying.
Rachel’s dog has led her corpse all the way there, and her baby’s still alive. A strange hope for the future.
The SWAT truck stops in the middle of nowhere at the supposed coordinates. Daniel thinks he’s been mistaken, apologising to his friends. In the truck, Riley laughs at them before bleeding out. Then in the sky the group sees a helicopter about to touch down. It’s the Civic Republic Military, but Al is also on the radio; has she reunited with her hopeful lover? (Yay!) At the same time, John Sr. and June head down below ground while Dakota puts a couple bullets in Teddy for all his lies.
Everyone across the area is ready to see the new end of their world. A blast goes off. Dakota gets turned into a pillar of ash. Dwight, Sherry, and the family in the cellar remain unharmed. Daniel and the others manage to get into the helicopter and lift off out of the area as a mushroom cloud lifts into the sky. Morgan and Grace, along with the baby, have to take cover under a truck so they’re not blown away. Victor and Howard also remain untouched in the building, watching the smoke clear above ground. Strand admits who he is to Howard, and he’s probably becoming even worse now that he survived, even after everything he’s done to others. What will he be like after this? Scary to think, really. What will the rest of the apocalypse wasteland be like after all this?
Only a few months before Season 7. It’ll be curious to see where the series moves from here. Very excited.