‘Fear the Walking Dead’: A ‘Dead’ Character We Thought Was Dead… Isn’t! (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Fear the Walking Dead Season 6, Episode 11, “The Holding.”]
Let’s address the elephant in the room: No, we don’t see a still-alive Madison (Kim Dickens) in this episode. But in the most recent installment of Fear the Walking Dead, the “no body, no death” rule still holds true — just for a different character.
You might or might not remember that Wes (Colby Hollman) had a brother, whom he talked about in his first episode on the show. His brother, Derek, taught him how to paint and inspired him to paint all those trees with motivational messages way back in Season 5. Well, surprise — Wes didn’t actually see him die, which, by the “no body, no death” rule, means Derek is still around. And he is… but by the end of the episode, Wes probably wishes he wasn’t.
The End is the Beginning
The episode centers around Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), Althea (Maggie Grace), Wes, and Luciana’s (Danay Garcia) mission to infiltrate the The End is the Beginning group to find out why Virginia (Colby Minifie) was so frightened of them. On the surface, the group just seems weird and cultish; they’re living underground and using the dead as fertilizer to grow plants, while making occasional trips to the surface for some odd reason. And all of this is set to the accompaniment of the incessant yammering of a man named Teddy through the bunker’s speakers, who invites his followers to see the world how he sees it.
The bunker has paintings on its walls, which is what clues Wes in to the fact that his brother is still around. When he gets back from a trip to the surface, they embrace and celebrate, but that’s the happiest things get for them. Things just aren’t right with Derek (Chinaza Uche) from the start. He doesn’t seem as happy to see his brother as he should be, and there’s something off about the way he’s talking and emoting. Unsurprisingly, the rest of the group is suspicious, so they make a plan to go through his stuff — and what they find is shocking.
Seeing the World in a New Way
The End is the Beginning is so dedicated to their whole “seeing the dead world as a new way of life” mission that they’re willing to wipe out every other settlement with a nuclear warhead to “start again,” only with those survivors who see how Teddy sees. The deadly attack on Tank Town was part of their plan, and they very much would like to wipe out Morgan’s (Lennie James) settlement, too. Oh, and they’ve had run-ins with CRM, as Althea discovers CRM maps among Derek’s possessions and suggests they warn Isabella (Sydney Lemmon) about the group… and that CRM might be able to help them. (From what we’ve seen on World Beyond? Not likely.)
Everyone but Wes wants to leave after they find out the dirty details, but Wes is convinced his brother can be saved. They hatch a plan to break him out of the underground facility, and they almost succeed, but it turns out Derek has set them up. Everyone ends up trapped in an embalming room with a device that sucks the blood out of you — it’s the worst form of death to these people, because it means you won’t go on to continue the “cycle of life.” Wes goes with his totally brainwashed brother and ends up killing him by accident, which is a bummer; but that means he gets his brother’s gun, which is good. He uses it to help Alicia and her team fight to get out of the embalming room. They succeed and jam the door behind them, but they wind up somewhere much worse: In a room full of tied-up, embalmed walkers with their mouths sewed shut.
Alicia’s In Trouble
In one of the most claustrophobic and gloriously terrifying sequences since Nick (Frank Dillane) dove into a wrecked ship in Season 2, the group walks through the walkers. Of course, some of them tear through the stitching on their jaws right as the group moves through… and behind them, The End is the Beginning baddies are breaking down the door. Seeing no way out for everyone, Alicia volunteers to stay behind and cause a distraction so her friends can make it through. Recognizing that embalming fluid is flammable, she kills a bunch of walkers and then sets the room on fire.
The rest of the team gets back to Morgan’s settlement, where they make plans to rescue Alicia. (There’s also a sweet moment between Dwight (Austin Amelio) and Al, and I truly cannot believe how well their friendship works given how little they interacted before this season.) Back at the compound, Alicia’s being held in the embalming room, where she kills the guy who’s meant to embalm her. This gets her to meet Teddy (John Glover), who seems amused by her attempts to break free and offers her a place among their ranks. Alicia refuses several times… but what does that mean for her future?
- They really could bring Madison back, right? We got several mentions of her in this episode (and even a mention of La Colonia and Nick, what with Alicia talking about her in the recordings and Teddy asking her if she wants to die a sacrificial death like her mother. If she’s really dead, fine, okay. But the door is wide open if they want to write her back in…
- I might’ve missed something, but how did Luci and Wes end up with this group? Al and Alicia were gone last episode, presumably on this mission, while Wes and Luci were still at the settlement. Did Alicia and Al just wait for them?
- I really hope this storyline gives Alicia time to shine. It feels like it’s been a while since we’ve had a good story for her character, and as one of the few remaining “originals” from the Erickson era, she deserves it. I would love to see her take down a cult. I just hope she doesn’t wind up brainwashed and then having to be killed by her best friend over a sketchbook…
- That sequence with the embalmed walkers was incredible. I don’t remember the last time this show genuinely scared me, but that was terrifying.
- Rating: 4/5. While it would’ve been nice to learn a little more about Teddy this episode and spend a little less time spinning the narrative’s wheels on whether or not these people are crazy (we already knew they were), I’m very interested to see where Alicia’s story is heading.
Fear the Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC