Warning: The following contains spoilers for Sunday’s explosive Season 6 finale of Fear the Walking Dead. If you’d rather watch first, read later, off you go.
No one can say that Season 6 of Fear the Walking Dead didn’t go out with a bang — several of them, as a matter of fact, as one warhead after another went off The Day After style. But were all the fireworks ultimately much ado about nothing? Read on, we’ll go over everything that happened in the season-ending “The Beginning,” then you can debate it out in the comments.
‘PROMISE ME YOU’LL FIND SOMEONE’ | As the episode got underway, we found Rachel trying to change a flat while daughter Morgan wailed and dear Rufus… Well, I’m sure he would’ve helped if he could, but he’d never been much of a mechanic, now had he? All the while, Morgan — the adult, not the baby — warned over the walkie-talkie that “this may be all the time that we have left.” As such, he wanted everyone to “give yourself the end that you wanted, even if it’s not the one we all imagined.” Oh, Morgan. WTH does that even mean? Trying desperately to save herself and her precious cargo, Rachel wound up breaking her leg when her jack dropped the car on it. You or me? I think we would’ve passed out cold at the sight of bone sticking out like it wanted to wave, “Hey, sup?” Not Rachel, though. She made herself a splint, strapped on Morgan — the baby, not the adult — and started crabwalking down the road. When, as you might expect she would, she stumbled, she threw in the towel. “This is the end for me,” she told her infant, “not for you.” With that, she moved Morgan — the baby, not the adult — from her front to her back, tied a kerchief around her mouth, bound herself to Rufus with a rope and plunged a knife into her abdomen. Her plan (kinda brilliant, actually): Once she reanimated, Rufus would lead her to survivors, thus allowing her baby to be found and spared. Well, unless Zombie Rachel couldn’t walk on a broken leg any better than Non-Zombie Rachel had been able to. Honestly, she didn’t have a lot of options.
‘DAME EL ARMA!’ | In segment No. 2, Daniel swore to Sarah, Rollie, Wes, Lucy, Jacob and Charlie that he’d heard a familiar voice over the walkie-talkie giving him coordinates to a safe spot. In light of the barber’s recent mental lapses, his assertion was understandably greeted with some skepticism. Besides, Rollie had apprehended Riley, who had blabbed that the safest place to be was in the old hotel bunker in which Teddy had imprisoned Alicia. For some reason taking the cultist’s word for it, the group headed there in the SWAT van, Riley blathering on the whole way about rising like a phoenix and blah, blah, blah. After Rollie blew out the brakes running over a walker, Sarah and Jacob set to work repairing them and reminding us that there is still a character named Wendell on the show. (Has he been on at all this season?) Just as they were about to hit the road again, Rollie said something about making it after all and rising like a phoenix and… Oh! Oh! Daniel recognized that BS as being Riley and the cult’s, so he grabbed a gun and shot Rollie. In a flash, Charlie had also shot Riley, who admitted that Rollie had been one of Teddy’s acolytes, too, and had been driving them someplace where they could have a nice view of the end of the world. New plan, the group decided. They’d follow Daniel’s coordinates. Luckily, as he started rattling off numbers, Sarah knew exactly what he meant, because sure, everyone speaks coordinates, right?
’ENJOY THE VIEW, A—HOLE’ | In our third vignette, Dwight and Sherry spotted an abandoned house in which to seek shelter. That, or… “Maybe they have some beer, maybe some pretzels… ” offered Honey. “It’s the one thing we said we were gonna do when we found each other.” No dice on the pretzels, but there was at least some warm beer. As they chug-a-lugged, Sherry wallowed in regret. “I wasted so much time just being pissed off trying to fight the bad guys,” she said. “But the bad guys always win.” Dwight wouldn’t let her be a Debbie Downer, though. C’mon, he said. “We can still have this life, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes.” OK, also kind of a downer, Dwight. To the lovebirds’ surprise, the house turned out not to be as deserted as they’d thought. The couple who lived there with their daughter had a storm shelter out back, but some cultists had kicked them out. Rude. And dumb — they hadn’t taken the beer. Anyway, in no time, Dwight had used a horse to rip the door off the shelter, and he and Sherry had picked off the baddies. The one of them who wasn’t fatally shot, he got the worst of it. Dwight decided to give him what he’d tried to give that nice family: a front-row seat to armageddon. And to ensure that he wouldn’t go anywhere, he shot out both of his knees. Damn. “I haven’t seen that side of you in a long time,” remarked Sherry. “Yeah, well, just wait till Season 7,” he replied. OK, not really. “Maybe we should’ve been doing more of that the whole time” is what he actually said. Fighting badness with badness, fire with fire, all that jazz.
‘YOU HAVE NOTHING TO BE SORRY ABOUT’ | In Chapter 4 of the episode, Teddy and Dakota arrived at the spot from which they were going to watch the fireworks. For some reason, she wasn’t nearly as creeped out as I was by the way that he kissed her hand and stroked her face and held her uncomfortably close. Thankfully — for me, anyway — the moment was broken by John Sr.’s arrival. He repeated what his ill-fated son had told Dakota, prompting her to note that “this is how he ended up with a bullet in him.” John Sr., undeterred, forgave Junior’s murderess. Unwilling to lose his accomplice, Teddy moved to shoot John, only to have June, outta nowhere, fire the pistol right out of his hand. June forgave Dakota, too. (Seriously?) Um, then why had she killed Virginia? “After I lost John, I lost what he believed,” June said, “but I found it again.” With that, John, June and Dakota melted into a tearful group hug. Ha — kidding. At that point, John discovered that right beneath their feet was the door to a shelter. WTH? Dakota wanted to know. She thought that she and Teddy were supposed to die and let the end be the beginning and all that malarkey. Thinking fast, Teddy insisted that they had to survive this missile launch so that they could go back and launch all the rest of the warheads. Completion issues, that kinda thing. Actually, interjected John, Teddy needed a second person to turn the second key. “He doesn’t care about you, he needs you.” Faced with a choice, to stand by the serial killer who was way too handsy or rejoin the Super Friends, Dakota… dang it. We didn’t see what she chose. Not yet, anyway.
‘WHICH MAN ARE YOU?’ | Part 5 followed Strand into a walker-filled office building that led him to… what had we here? A fairly glorious apartment sorta set-up full of artwork and Blind Lemon Jefferson on the stereo. Quickly, Victor filled in its scholarly occupant on the fate that awaited them. “Well, I guess that’s the ballgame,” said the man, taking it awfully well. “You like bourbon?” Strand responded, “Almost as much as I like changing my motivation twice in any given episode.” (Well, he might as well have.) After Strand recapped a bit of Season 6, he said that it had all come down to two fellows, one of whom hadn’t been able to hold up his end of the bargain and save everybody. Why was that? “He wanted to survive and take the glory for himself.” Which chap was Strand? “I’m the one that was ready to die,” he said. And once the man had introduced himself as Howard, Victor replied that “I’m Morgan… Morgan Jones.” Post-apocalyptic identity crisis? Sure. At this point, why not?
’I CAN HEAR HER’ | Our sixth segment returned us to the submarine, where Grace refused to watch Morgan — the actual Morgan, not the baby or Strand — die of radiation poisoning the way that Athena’s father had. Watching one person she’d loved go that way had been more than enough. Finally, they kissed. “That’s the problem with me,” she joked. “I never tell anyone how I feel until it’s too late.” There was only one way out now, it appeared, and that way was… wowza… grim. Morgan had actually begun to think that he could have a family again… be a father. “And you can be,” Grace assured him. “Just not here.” (In the afterlife? Trippy.) After she said that she needed to hear Athena’s cry, Morgan positioned a gun to shoot through the back of his head clear through the front of hers. Luckily, before he pulled the trigger, they heard Athena cry. Wait, they really did hear a baby over the communications system. Going topside, they discovered that Zombie Rachel had been able to walk just fine on a totally shattered leg — no crawling for her! — and had been led back to the sub by Rufus. After dispatching Rachel and retrieving Morgan — the baby this time — Morgan — the actual Morgan — marveled, “She feels like a gift from Athena.” Uh, and all the while no one told Rufus what a good boy he was; he and Dog from The Walking Dead need to unionize.
‘I KNOW HOW TO SURVIVE’ | As the episode and the season drew to a close, Daniel & Co. discovered that his coordinates had led them to the middle of nowhere. Riley, who still hadn’t died, gave a Nelson from The Simpsons laugh, which so ticked off Daniel that he dragged him out of the SWAT van, killing him in the process. But wait… Daniel had been lucid when he wrote down the coordinates: They’d come from Al, who swooped down in a CRM chopper to rescue everybody. Just “don’t ask the pilot any questions,” she said. Because apparently, the show didn’t pop for Sydney Lemmon to cameo as Isabelle. Back at the standoff between Dakota, Teddy, John and June, the good guys pulled off a gun trick called the St. Louis barn raiser to get themselves out of the crosshairs, then invited Junior’s killer to join them in the shelter. Taking a pass, she remained where she was and shot Teddy in cold blood. “You said that I should never change,” she reminded him, “and I’m not.” Actually, she was soon changed — to ashes when a warhead went off. Before Wes skedaddled with his pals, he — because this was surely the most sensible thing to do when every second counted — stopped to spray-paint “This isn’t the end” on the highway, leaving the “end” on Riley, who just walked away with the word once his corpse was reanimated. D’oh! Surviving the blast nearest Howard’s building, Strand laughed and revealed that muahaha, he wasn’t Morgan at all, he was the other guy. “And despite the critics, I’m still here.” Now he was stoked about the prospect of rebuilding the world with art and music and bourbon. As for Morgan, baby Morgan and Grace, they survived by hiding under a truck as the explosion went off. But what about Rufus, dang it? What. About. Rufus.
OK, so there’s no pretending that the second half of Season 6 didn’t try my patience. And this finale — no Alicia? Argh! What did you think of it? Grade away below, then hit the comments with your critiques.