Fear the Walking Dead: “The Beginning” (S6, E16 review) #SeasonFinale

What the Zombie Apocalypse Running Club lacked it fitness, it made up for with enthusiasm (Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMC)

SPOILERS AHEAD … AND A WHOLE LOT OF IRRADIATED EXISTENTIAL ANGST …

Sooooo … what do you do when ten nuclear warheads are about to rain down at points unknown around you and you may have only minutes to find shelter or die in the attempt?

Do you …

(a) Go hell for leather to find somewhere really good to hide?
(b) Make your peace with the maker of your choosing and make what you can of your last moments?
(c) Scream at the world, people and anything else within earshot about “let me be me, dammit!”; OR
(d) Fight for every last moment you can as hard as you can even if the odds seem mightily against you?

How about all four because that’s what the characters in Fear the Walking Dead‘s season 6 finale do, as it becomes grotesquely apparent that the very thing they tried to prevent has come to pass.

What stands out in the pell-mell rush for safety, whether immediately temporal or eternally assured (assuming you believe in an afterlife) is how differently people react to the same dire set of circumstances.

Dakota (Zoe Colletti) keeps on with her sociopathic campaign for love and acceptance for who she really is which is a stone cold killer with no humanity and no heart.

At just about every point, she screams “Love me dammit for ME!” but only Teddy (John Glover) seems to take her seriously and only, it is pointed out by John Dorie Sr (Keith Carradine) and June (Jenna Elfman), becasue he needs another set of hands to turn the keys that will launch the other 9 missiles with 90 missiles onboard.

Yep, Teddy is still dreaming of a cataclysmic end of the world – apparently zombies, zombies everywhere and ten warheads are enough for cult leader – and plans to wait out the big kaboom before heading back to the USS Pennsylvania to finish what he kind of sort of started.

Delusional much? Delusional a lot, thank you and what’s skin-crawlingly fascinating is how even at the end when he meets a well-deserved at Dakota’s sociopathic hand, he is still preaching that the end is the beginning.

Turns out not so much if your Teddy or Dakota, the latter of whom turns to nuclear-wrought ashes even as she demands to be taken seriously as a nutjob, thank you!

“Wait, it is called a horse. You were right, I was wrong” (Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMC)

They, of course, weren’t the only ones still keeping the delusional faith.

Good old Riley (Nick Stahl) and Colie (Corey Hart) gang up together to play one last “Gotcha!” play on Luciana (Dania Gurira), Charlie (Alexa Nisenson), Wes (Colby Hollman), Daniel (Rubén Blades) and Jacob (Peter Jacobson) who think they are being taken to where Teddy’s cult members stashed Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Clark).

No, no, they are not; where they are being taken is way into the open, something Daniel finally twigs to in just enough time to send Rollie off to that great big Kool-Aid stand in the sky, and shoot Riley who ends up rather zombified by the end (ironically with the word “end” spray painted on his jacket) while everyone else is spirited away in a helicopter piloted by Isabelle, all rather happily organised by Al (Maggie Grace) who gets everyone in the SWAT van group out of harm’s way just in time.

Phew!

So, what of Victor (Colman Domingo), that great cockroach of survivors, how does he fare?

Why he ends up in a building far from trouble, well semi-far from trouble, full of artwork and fine spirits and an historian named Howard (Omid Abtahi) who welcomes everyone’s favourite, or not-so-favourite grifter in to watch the end of the world mark II.

They both expect it to be a brief and pleasant friendship but lo and behold, Victor once again evades fate and is still standing as a mushroom cloud rises in the distance, chuckling to himself that he is not the selfless hero Morgan Jones (Lennie James) as he told Howard but rather good old freaking Victor Strand who has much to atone for but has once again cheated everyone and everything to stay alive!

Granted it’s not his finest moment but really how many of those has he had? Not that many and that is why Victor is so compelling to watch; no what befalls him, he stays the course which is protecting himself at all costs.

The art gallery curator went all out to make sure people appreciated the paintings properly (Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMC)

While Victor is pledging undying love to himself once again, Dwight (Austin Amelio) and Sherry (Christine Evangelista) decide to go out together, come what may, a late found, or re-found devotion to each other that Sherry fears has come too late.

Nut happily it has not, and as the minutes count down to Armageddon, they manage to be all the more selflessness by kicking out some slimy cult members from a storm cellar and making it available again for the actual owners of the home. (Fortunately they get invited in too, so win-win, karmic energy restored!)

It’s a touching moment that rings true, more true it must be said than that between Morgan and Grace (Karen David) who FINALLY admit their undying love for each other and who are prepared to kill themselves with a shared bullet to the their brains when they hear a baby cry.

No, not Athena people; c’mon she is resident in another timeline altogether!

What they do hear is Rachel’s (Brigitte Kali Canales) baby crying, led by Rufus who is hauling a zombified Rachel who knew her faithful hound would find living people and someone who could take her of her precious child.

It’s all kinds of overblown twee and is the least emotionally authentic part of the episode; cute, yes and neatly cyclical but still, poor old Rachel had to die so Morgan and Grace could get their parental happy-ever-after.

When the dust had literally settled, it turns out only Teddy and Dakota had met their delusional maker with everyone of the main cast relatively safely ensconced in bunkers and storm shelters or being spirited away in helicopters.

What will be interesting is seeing what Fear does in season 7 when radiation will be everywhere, life is threatened on two fronts – thank you nuclear reside and zombies! – and everyone has to start all over again.

Will the show do another time jump? Will it end up enmeshed with CRM? Will everyone survive their survival of the nuclear blasts?

Season 7 has the capacity to go in so many very col directions but one thing is for certain – Fear will likely continue to keep humanity and authentic emotional experiences at the very heart of its storytelling, something which has stood it in good stead throughout season 6 and likely will keep things ticking over compellingly when next we meet our Texan survivors, now with extra nuclear glow …

Oh, you want a cast teaser on what lies ahead? try this on for size …

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