On the premiere of Fear the Walking Dead season 7, “The Beacon” picks up with a man named Will.  In a time somewhere between 50 days and a year after the nuclear bombs fell,  Will is roaming the orange, radiated countryside with a map.  What is Will looking for?  That is what Victor Strand would like to know.

Gus Halper as Will – Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 1, The Beacon – Photo Credit: Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC


Will is holed up in a van under a highway overpass, shielded from the rain.  The windows are layered with plastic to provide a modicum of protection from the radiation.  Accompanied by his trusty radiation protection guide manual and a map, Will is on the hunt for something.  Everywhere Will goes are dead animals and rapidly liquifying walkers.  At a moment of weakness, Will almost lets one of the undead make a meal of him.  Instead masked men rescue him, and they whisk him off to a safe area.

After a serious decontamination shower, the men dress Will and present him to our favorite complicated mess of a man, Victor Strand.  Strand has continued to parlay his good luck from the end of last season.  As Strand managed to be in the one place that the weather currents protected from fallout, he has built up a community.  Unlike Morgan or Madison, Victor’s community is only for people that can offer something to the team.  Additionally, unless you pass Victor’s gut check instinct test, it is back into the apocalyptic hellscape for you!


Strand questions Will in exchange for the shower and food.  Will tells Strand that he had been a Senator’s aide and holed up in a bunker with some Senators.  Unfortunately, Will and Senator Vasquez had been kicked out of paradise onto the street.  Will confirms he had been on his own for about 50 days.  Will tells Strand about the masked people he called Stalkers that strip the dead.  These are apparently not Strand’s people.  Strand’s people instead take pictures of all the dead for their collage.  Strand says the photo wall is an effort to bring closure to the residents of the community who are missing their loved ones still.

After the Great Destruction, Strand says he built up the community in the only area that had been spared from the harmful radiation.  Strand’s trusty friend Howard is still with him, as are all the art pieces Howard rescued before Strand found him.  Though Howard’s drive has always been to preserve the artifacts of humanity, Strand’s drive is still all about survival.

When Will fails Strand’s instinct test, Strand orders the men to dump Will back in the wilds.  Desperate to save himself, Will offers Strand a medallion that he had found on his journey.  Strand immediately recognizes the medallion as the one he had given to Alicia.  Strand demands to know where Will found it.  Will makes a deal to take Strand to the source in exchange for a place in the community.

Strand stares at a newcomer.
Colman Domingo as Victor Strand – Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 1, The Beacon – Photo Credit: Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC


Though Will rode out the initial blast in a bunker, he claims he does not know Alicia.  Further, Will insists that he found the medallion on the road.  On a side note, I continue to be distracted by how casually all these people treat their horses.  While everyone is wearing protective gear, there is nothing on the horses.  Also, the men seem pretty cavalier about letting the dead get close.  In an environment like this, losing your horse can be a death sentence.  I cannot understand this lax attitude.

Along the journey, Strand asks Will why he was forced out of the bunker.  Will is cagey, but he says he wants to prove that the people in the bunker were wrong about him.  When the rain starts to come down, Will leads the group back to the underpass and his van.  Will explains that the rain is heavily radioactive.  Strand smells a trap by Alicia, and sure enough, his men come under fire.  Someone shoots Will. With an army of undead advancing from the opposite side, Strand pulls the injured Will into the van to question him.  Meanwhile, Strand’s men outside appear to be fully oblivious to the very loud moans coming up behind them.  How did these men survive the undead this long with that kind of spatial awareness?

There is a medicine chest from The Franklin in the van.  Elated, Strand questions Will about Alicia.  Will admits that he does know Alicia, and she did tell Will all about Strand.  When Will asks Strand why he is so driven to find Alicia, Strand says it is to tell her that she was wrong about him.  “That’s how I win!” Strand says triumphantly.  If it sounds like Strand is protesting a bit too much, it is because he definitely is.  And Will is picking up on it.


Strand leaves Will in the dust, and he holes up in a lighthouse.  In the lighthouse is a map of the Franklin.  Downstairs is a limping Will at the door.  As Will notes, there are not a lot of places to safely ride out the elements for a break so it was easy to find Strand.  Will confronts Strand about his motivations, and Will correctly points out that one does not sacrifice all their men just to tell Alicia that he is a winner.  It seems that Will’s ruse was to test Strand to see if he was still someone worth saving.

Strand argues that he is a leader, but Will notes that Strand’s people do not love him.  The people stay out of fear.  Will tells Strand that Alicia is an actual leader and that he had planned to use Strand as a way to win back her trust.  But Will says his plan is a failure because Alicia will not recognize Strand anymore.  Strand agrees.  When Will opens the door to the lighthouse, a group of droopy-skinned walkers amble their way.  Will is frozen.  It appears that the dead in question are people that Will recognizes from the bunker.  Something isn’t right.

Will dumps fuel in the generator and turns on the lighthouse beacon so that Strand can see well enough to dispatch the walkers outside.  During the fighting, Strand saves Will’s life, and vice versa.  Confused, Strand asks Will why he bothered.  Will says that despite what Strand says, it is clear that Strand cares for Alicia.  Why else would Strand fight through all the walkers to see if any of them were Alicia?

A horse waits for Strand to return as the undead advance from the rear
Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 1, The Beacon – Photo Credit: Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC


When Strand and Will arrive at the bunker, it is empty.  None of the 128 residents are there.  The crops are dying.  Whatever happened here, it did not happen recently.  In the meeting room, there is a mural of what looks to be Alicia staring after a walker.  On the podium is a note for Will.  It reads, “Padre.”  Will says he knows that Padre is a place, but he does not know where it is.  “You loved her,” Strand says.  Will admits that he does love Alicia, but that it does not matter if she is gone.

Strand admits that he had been trying to prove that he did not need Alicia, but he knew he needed her just as much as Will.  With a sad smile, Strand notes that maybe Alicia will find them if they can’t find her.  On the way back to Strand’s community, he and Will take the beacon lantern from the top of the lighthouse.  With the beacon strapped to a wagon pulled by a team of walkers, the journey home.  Strand has the beacon installed on the top of his building.  Strand claims the light is to draw in Alicia.  When walkers start ambling over by the dozens, it is clear that Alicia is not the only thing the light will attract.

Strand confesses to Will that Alicia is the closest thing he has to a family, and he wishes he had told her that he loved her before the bombs fell.  Will tells Strand that Strand can still be the man that Alicia told Strand he could be.  When Strand notes that the other communities he had been in that had fallen apart because of love and attachment, your stomach drops.  Strand says that attachment is a weakness, but the light will keep everyone away.

“She’ll get through to you,” Will says.  Not wanting to be tempted in even the littlest way, Strand shuts the door on that possibility.  Strand pushes Will across the rooftop and over the side.  Will falls to the pavement below.  “She won’t have anything to do with me after this,” Strand says as he watches the dead nibble on Will.  Howard asks if Strand is worried about Morgan or the others.  With a smirk, Strand says he is not worried because people would have to make their way through a sea of the dead summoned by the beacon.


For any Victor Strand fans, any episodes with him in it is worth watching.  Colman Domingo continues to be as charming as ever.  Good or bad, you always want to watch him.  This heel turn is not unexpected after every good-intentioned effort to turn over a new leaf has yielded poor results.  Whenever Strand acts on his baser instincts, they save him.  It is no wonder that when Strand is repeatedly rewarded for bad behavior that he turns to that survival mode in a nuclear holocaust.  Cowardice sent Strand to the one spot unaffected by the fallout.  Selfishness kept him alive and made his safe zone flourish.  Alicia is a reminder of any perceived weakness. Strand is going to keep Alicia as far away from him as possible. 

Now in its seventh season, Fear the Walking Dead continues to make a show that is really striking to lookout for.  It also has some of the most complicated and interesting characters of the universe.  A large part of that is the actors, but the writing plays a sizable part in that too.  It will be interesting to see if they attempt to rehab Strand once again.  On one hand, you know he is acting out of fear and is not a total villain.  On the other hand, most villains are rarely all evil.  And the best villains make you feel an emotional attachment to them despite the poor choices they make.  Strand wanted to be a good guy, but circumstance has told him time and again not to do that.  Will Alicia bring him around again?  Or does Victor’s path lie only in opposition to his old friends?


  • Apparently yoga instructors are a must have position in Strand’s community.
  • The tree in the Franklin bunker is reminiscent of Teddy’s community but without a walker.
  • How quickly could Alicia’s group have fallen if she had time to paint a mural of her looking wistfully at a walker in swirls of blue?
  • The Stalkers are not Strand’s people and do not appear to be with Alicia either.  Stripping the dead for materials sounds like CRM scientist business though.