This review contains spoilers for episode 616, “The Beginning.”

On the season finale of Fear the Walking Dead, the scattered groups scramble to find shelter against the coming warheads.  Told in separate stories, the episode shows us how each group spends their “final” moments.  Some cozy up to loved ones, some keep fighting, and some think of going out on their own terms.  In what seems like the end of all things, this episode sets us up for the beginning of the next chapter of this world.


The first story the episode focuses on is Rachel and her baby.  Once an inspiration for Morgan’s new community, Rachel is now symbolic of its end.  Rachel’s tire is flat, and desperate to meet up with the group, Rachel ignores the basic principles of car maintenance.  When the jack collapses, Rachel’s leg is cleanly snapped in two.  With a baby to protect, Rachel rigs up a brace and hobbles off on foot with the baby strapped to her chest.  The bloodhound companion sniffs for the scent of another human.  

Points for determination, but Rachel obviously does not get very far.  Rachel moves the baby to her back, ties her body to the dog, gags her mouth to block the teeth, and she stabs herself.  On one hand, it is a very loving act to want to give her child the best chance at survival.  On the other hand, it was hardly a merciful act.  Who knows what dead lie in the dog’s path?  This could set the screaming baby up for a truly gruesome death.  But as the embodiment of the dam village, Rachel’s plan represents her hopes for a better future for her child.


The MRAP crew of Luciana, Daniel, Jacob, and Sarah meet up with Wes and Rollie.  Wes and Rollie have captured Riley, and Riley has told Rollie where to find the bunker with Alicia.  Daniel heard coordinates on the radio, and he wants the group to go there instead.  Unsure of Daniel’s stability after the incident back at the dam, the group decides to go to the resort that Riley named.  The group is desperate to find cover before the warheads blow, and they decide to listen to the cult member instead of Daniel.  In the group’s defense, Daniel definitely undersold his own belief about what he had heard.

Still Daniel is Daniel, and he questions Riley on the way to the resort.  Riley explains that he gave himself up so that he could look at their faces when “everything turns to ash.”  After a minor undead incident, the group has to stop the MRAP to fix the brakes.  While Sarah welds a batch underneath, the rest of the group takes care of the undead nearby.  As the group loads back up, Rollie makes a comment about rising like a Phoenix.  The statement clicks everything into place, and Daniel executes Rollie as an Ender.

Riley explains that Rollie turned on the dam group because he had lost his faith because of the infighting at the dam village.  This heel turn seems a little out of the blue.  We never spent much time with Rollie, so there was no indication that he would betray the group.  On the other hand, it makes sense that a character considered to be reliable but unremarkable would be the perfect one to turn.  It doesn’t makes sense that the fracturing of the group would drive anyone to decide that everyone deserved to die in such a short span of time.

Sherry (Christine Evangelista) and Dwight (Austin Amelio) decide to take on some bad guys in their last moments together in “The Beginning.”
(Photo Credit: Fear the Walking Dead / AMC)


Dwight and Sherry gallop away on their horse, eager to find a place to hide.  Sherry spots a farmhouse, and she suggests that they finally have that meal of beer and pretzels they had never had after their reunion.  Dwight hesitates.  Sherry convinces Dwight to spend their remaining time together.  Overwhelmed, Sherry berates herself for wasting time running away from Dwight and embracing her anger.  

“The bad guys always win.  You and I have seen that.  Every time.  Nothing that I did was gonna change that.  And all it did was cost me time with you,” Sherry says.  Dwight assures Sherry that she has no reason to be sorry.  After grabbing a couple beers, Dwight and Sherry are ready to meet their end.  Fate intervenes when the family that lives in the house, the Larsons, begs them to leave.  After a quick convo, the Larsons explain that two Enders evicted them from their root cellar.  Dwight tells Sherry that their role is to take on the bad guys no matter what, and they flush out the men from the cellar.  


Dakota and Teddy arrive at an overlook, ready for the Beginning of the new world.  Dakota apologizes for having saved Morgan, but Teddy says it meant that he got to meet Dakota.  After an empathetic conversation in which Teddy tells Dakota that she is the only person that gets him, Dakota smiles.  Dakota tells Teddy that he is the first person in her life that embraced her as is instead of asking her to change.

When John Dorie, Sr. arrives on the scene, he makes the same plea as his son once did to Dakota.  John tells Dakota that he forgives her.  “[John] was right what he told you.  You can still make his life, your life, mean something.  You just have to believe that people are better than the way they act at their worst,” John Sr. says.  

Dakota growls that that kind of talk is why she shot John.  When John lays down his gun to prove he is being truthful, Teddy makes a grab for his own weapon.  June shoots the gun out of Teddy’s hand as she reveals herself from hiding.  June tells Dakota that she also forgives her.

“After I lost John, I lost what he believed.  But I found it again.  So can you,” June says.  As John steps forward, he discovers a hatch to an underground bunker.  John calls Teddy out on his lies about being willing to die, but Teddy says he only wanted to use the bunker to survive long enough to finish launching the remaining missiles.  Dakota sees the truth.  John argues that Teddy kept Dakota around only because he needed a second person to launch the missiles.  Though Teddy refuses to admit that was his motive to keep Dakota around, he does remind Dakota that only he wants her to be herself.

With the missiles falling, John and June duck into the bunker.  Their pleas for Dakota to join them and start over fall on deaf ears.  Once John and June are underground, Dakota asks Teddy again if he only kept her around to help with the launch.  When Teddy flashes his best cultish grin, Dakota shoots him dead.


Strand rides a horse as far as he can, and he ends up at a small office building.  Strand fights his way inside.  After a cursory search, Strand stares out the window at the mass of undead in the parking lot.  There is no way out, and every wall has a window.  There is music in the air though, so Strand heads up another flight of stairs.  On the next floor is a room full of paintings, objects, and music.  Also there is an historian named Howard.

Strand tells Howard a small bit about the race to stop the missiles, and he notes that there were two men who failed.  One man had been willing to die and the other had wanted the glory of saving the world and surviving it.  When Howard asks which man Strand is, Strand says he had been willing to die.  Strand then introduces himself as Morgan, and he waits with Howard for the end of the world.  “Maybe this is the ending I deserved,” Strand says.  

Grace (Karen David) asks Morgan (Lennie James) to choose their own ending in “The Beginning.”
(Photo Credit: Fear the Walking Dead / AMC)


Back at the USS Pennsylvania, Grace makes her way to the control room to spend her last moments with Morgan.  Morgan is frantic to find a way to avert disaster, but there is nothing he can do.  Grace is an expert in radiation, and she makes the case that it would be better to end things on their own rather than wait for radiation exposure.  Grace adds that she had never heard her daughter’s cries, and she wants to be reunited with Athena.

“Neither of us was meant to be here,” Grace says.  After Grace and Morgan finally say they love one another, Morgan lines up his head with Grace’s.  Morgan places a gun at his head so that he can kill Grace and himself at the same time.  As Morgan breathes in, a baby cries.  Grace says she hears Athena.  Morgan says he hears her too.  After a moment, Morgan realizes that the cries are real.  Morgan and Grace race outside.  


The bloodhound rounds the corner with undead Rachel stumbling behind.  Morgan takes out Rachel, and he scoops up the baby.  The sky flashes.  Even though there is just as much time to race back into the sub for cover, Morgan and Grace dive for cover underneath a nearby truck behind a sand dune.  That was a fine dose of radiation they both took on.  Alive for now, Morgan and Grace climb to their feet and watch a second warhead explode in the distance.  

At the office building, not only are Howard and Strand safe after a missile explodes nearby, they don’t even lose a window in the building.  With a cackle, Strand marvels that he has survived after everything he “has done.”  Howard picks up on the implication of the words, and Strand confesses that he was the other man in the story.  Strand gives a beautiful speech about who he was and how he is still that person.  Much like Dakota, Strand does not want to change who he is and he is fine with that.  So after multiple seasons of Strand struggling to be a better person, it seems that Strand has decided there is no point to that other than glory.  I’m sure Alicia will be thrilled to hear it.

At the overlook, Dakota takes the full force of a warhead, and her body instantly turns to ash.  Underground, John and June are thrown around by the force of the blast above.

At the MRAP, the crew drives on to the coordinates, but there is nothing there.  A helicopter crests the hill, and the group rejoices that the coordinates did lead to something.  While Luciana, Daniel, Sarah, and Jacob rush to the helicopter, Wes takes a moment to spray paint one last message.  The pilot holds out a walkie talkie, and the voice of Al tells the group not to ask questions and get in the helicopter.

“This isn’t the end,” Jacob paints on the road.  “End” is spray painted across Riley’s back.  As Wes hops in the helicopter and it takes off, Riley’s corpse stumbles into the sunset after them as the last shot of the season.

Daniel, Jacob, Wes, Sarah, and Luciana see salvation on the horizon in “The Beginning.”
(Photo Credit: Fear the Walking Dead / AMC)


Separating the concurrent stories into blocks was a new approach for the show.  I actually liked the structure.  However, the episode was a bit hard to follow.  Between the surprise betrayals and the amount of exposition delivered verbally, this is an episode you end up rewinding during the watch just to keep up.  As corners go, this is a pretty radioactive one that the writers have painted themselves into.  Essentially Texas is uninhabitable.

This was one of the more interesting seasons to date, but the end felt a bit anti-climactic.  We also never learned if there was a purpose to making embalmed walkers.  It could be because Teddy likes that method of murder, but the group seemed to think there was a plan for the dead.  If there was, it never materialized in the show.  Whether that is because Alicia burned all the embalmed walkers or because it was a lie is not something we are likely to learn.

With the helicopter rescue, that could set us up with the Civic Republic Military (CRM) in season 7.  Unless this assistance is a one-off from Al’s friend Isabelle, this could set us on a path toward the storylines of past characters that ended up with CRM.

Overall a solid season for the show, but a mediocre ending for the season.  The idea of Rachel’s death is very interesting and emotional, but it falls apart against the backdrop of a nuclear bomb.  It is one thing to have hope for your child to survive in the undead world, it is quite another to send them out into a likely painful radioactive death.  Still, seeing how everyone is set up to ride out the immediate aftermath of the bombs is a nice way to end the story arc this season.


  • According to the road sign, undead Rachel walked 3 miles before the first bomb went off.
  • Did the doors to the root cellar rattle from the blast or was it the ender begging to get in?
  • How did both John Sr. and June know what John said to Dakota before she shot him? No one else was there.
  • As a radiation expert, why didn’t Grace head for the sub to ride out the initial blast rather than the open air?