‘Fear TWD’s Showrunners Break Down That Explosive Finale, Plus Where Was [Spoiler]?

jenna elfman keith carradine fear the walking dead
Spoiler Alert
Ryan Green/AMC

[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 16, “The Beginning.”]

And just like that, another apocalypse has been unleashed on Fear The Walking Dead — and this one might be even more difficult to survive than the first. (After all, the worst thing walkers can do to the air is make it stink.)

As the nuclear dust settles on Fear’s sixth season, we chatted with series showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg about Dakota’s (Zoe Colletti) shocking end, whether we’ll be seeing the characters on the helicopter again in Season 7, what’s going on with Strand (Colman Domingo) and, most importantly, whether Skidmark survived the explosions.

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Dakota’s death is one of the most gruesome we’ve seen in this franchise. Talk to me about how that came about.

Andrew Chambliss: At the end of the day, I think what [Dakota] was really hungry for was acceptance. We saw her look for that in many different people, and ultimately, she thought she found it with Teddy (John Glover). We always knew she wasn’t going to survive the season, and when we were thinking about her last moments, we thought there would be something poetic to her finally finding this philosophy she could believe in, but in her last moments, finding that the man who created it had contradictions and wasn’t planning on being destroyed with everyone else.

So instead of going into that bunker with June (Jenna Elfman) and Dorie (Keith Carradine), she chooses to stay true to who she is and goes out in a blaze of glory as the bomb goes off. We thought that was the fitting end for her: dying for what she believed in, as twisted as it was. And if we had all these warheads detonating, we needed to see at least one person incinerated by it.

fear the walking dead season 6 episode 14 mother alycia debnam carey alicia clark

Ryan Green/AMC

We didn’t see Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) at all this episode, which I’m sure will leave fans with questions. Why didn’t she show up here — and can you preview what’s to come for her next season?

Ian Goldberg: If we go back to Alicia’s final episode this season, Teddy locked her in that bunker with a very specific goal in mind, which is that he believed when the world was destroyed, he wanted someone like Alicia to rebuild it. We saw that she was very resistant to doing anything Teddy asked her to do and that she is not going to remake the world the way he wants it. What actually transpires in that bunker is going to be a mystery that we will see in Season 7. It is going to be an open question of, what path is Alicia going to take going forward, and how does this destroyed world change who she is and what she wants?

All season, Strand was grappling with being a better person. But in this episode, he seems like he’s truly broken bad. Does he now see himself as past the point of redemption?

Chambliss: That’s a very good question, and I think the question behind it is whether Strand is a person who even cares about redemption anymore. We did see him struggle all season, and we did see him make some underhanded choices and betray people he is close to — throwing Morgan (Lennie James) to the walkers so he could tell Alicia, “Everything I did was worth it, I stopped Teddy.”

But when Strand finds himself in that tower and he realizes the tower was spared the destruction, he puts together that all these decisions he’s been questioning this season and throughout the series have led to this moment. He sees it as the universe saying to him, “You’re still here, you’re still standing, so these decisions you’re making must be the reason. They must be the right decisions.” He kind of says he doesn’t care anymore. He’s doubling down on being Strand, and that’s something we’re going to continue to see him do. Whether or not that will ever come to a head, and whether or not he’ll care what the people he spent all these seasons with think about him, is a question we will see him grapple with.

luciana danay garcia fear the walking dead

Ryan Green/AMC

With a significant number of characters now on a helicopter, I have to ask: Will we be seeing those characters again in Season 7? And will CRM be more of a presence on the show, going forward?

Chambliss: To answer the first question, we most definitely will be seeing the group that got on that helicopter. In terms of CRM, all we can really say about that is that there is obviously a lot of story behind that helicopter’s appearance at the end of the finale, how Al (Maggie Grace) convinced someone like Isabelle (Sydney Lemmon), knowing all the repercussions that come with even seeing the CRM, to save her friends and whether or not all those people who got on the helicopter and now know of the CRM’s existence are going to be in danger.

Speaking of the helicopter, I didn’t see Skidmark on it. Can you confirm whether he’s okay?

Goldberg: Skidmark is okay. We can confirm that. [Laughs] There were enough bleak things that happened in this finale, we weren’t going to let anything bad happen to that cat.

colman domingo omid abtahi fear the walking dead

Ryan Green/AMC

In Season 7, will you still be following the two-or-three-characters-per-episode format? Or will we start seeing larger groups again?

Goldberg: We will continue the anthology format. We’ve been very excited about how that played out in Season 6, getting to see concentrated character stories. As we talked about, these characters kind of had their own little movies that they get to star in, week to week. But that also means there will be larger ensemble episodes, too, that these anthology episodes build to at various points. But we’ve been really happy, and the cast has as well, with doing these more concentrated stories. So, that is one thing that will remain consistent.

Fear The Walking Dead, Season 7, Premieres 2021, AMC