Fear the Walking Dead season 6, episode 16 recap – “The Beginning”

June 13, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 1
Ending Explained, Weekly TV
3.5

Summary

“The Beginning” has some faulty logic and lingering plot holes, but it amounts to a more coherent and purposeful outing than last week’s debacle, fitting for a finale.

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3.5

Summary

“The Beginning” has some faulty logic and lingering plot holes, but it amounts to a more coherent and purposeful outing than last week’s debacle, fitting for a finale.

This recap of Fear the Walking Dead season 6, episode 16, “The Beginning”, contains spoilers.


The most impressive thing about “The Beginning” is that it somehow manages to earn back some goodwill after last week’s bizarre failure of a high-stakes penultimate chapter. Not to say that Fear the Walking Dead’s sixth season finale was perfect, of course, because it was far from that – faulty logic, plot holes you could trip and fall into, and a string of questionable developments all prevented it from earning that distinction. But it at least felt like a finale. It took some daring turns, and perhaps more importantly, it laid the groundwork for another season that would surely feel much different from the post-apocalyptic neo-western vibe of this one.

For the benefit of those viewers like me, who’re getting old and tend to forget things, the cold open of “The Beginning” – I see you, spiffy new opening credits – finds Rachel, the missus of Isaac from way back in the season premiere, seeing the missiles that Teddy launched last week cruising the air and deciding enough is quite enough. Strapping herself and her young child to their dog, she disembowels herself and implores the pooch to drag them to someone who can help, parenting-wise. The fact they eventually wind up with Morgan and Grace just as the two are about to romantically commit suicide together feels like the kind of contrived a*s-pull plotting that this show is prone to at its worst, but after everything Grace has been through I think she deserves a baby to look after.

Of course, looking after a baby will be more challenging than usual since there isn’t a last-minute workaround to help stop Teddy’s missiles – they really do hit, decimating huge swathes of the local area and leaving the rest of it caked in lethal radioactive fallout. Well, I think they do – it’s difficult to tell, in all honesty, since most of the major characters make it to underground shelters and the few who don’t seem unbothered by the debris. I suppose gradual radiation poisoning and death can be saved for next season if there is one, which I assume there will be.

But the launch gives Fear the Walking Dead season 6, episode 16 its structure. The show’s major characters are all separated, coaxed by Morgan’s doom-and-gloom radio broadcast to enjoy what little time remains to them. Strand meets a professor named Howard (Omid Abtahi) and enjoys some fine bourbon while bracing to watch the annihilation from the apartment’s floor-to-ceiling windows. Dwight and Sherry encounter a family whose storm shelter has been hijacked. Luciana, Charlie, Wesley, and Sarah have to decide whether to believe a captured Riley or a potentially senile Daniel, who claims to have been given some coordinates by a mysterious voice on the radio. Teddy, meanwhile, tries to lead Dakota into his new future, while J.D. Senior and June try to lead her anywhere else.

Naturally, it makes little to no sense how any of these characters ended up where they are. “The Beginning” takes a lot of logical leaps to fit its various pieces together, and some viewers are inevitably going to find it all a bit too much to swallow. I’d have been right there with them, but on balance I think the finale’s high points outweighed its lows. Strand introducing himself as Morgan Jones, trying to reinvent himself as a better, braver man in his final hour, was totally on-brand, as was his hilariously madcap rant when he realized he had once again survived by being a total arsehole. Sherry finally stopped acting like a jerk to Dwight, and realized how much time together she had inadvertently wasted, and their discovery of some of Teddy’s goons hiding underground set up a good payoff to the confrontation between Dakota, Teddy, J.D., and June. As it turns out, Teddy’s cult wasn’t as suited with death as they claimed, least of all Teddy, who had led Dakota to an underground bunker without telling her. J.D. proving Teddy a manipulative liar brought about Teddy’s demise at Dakota’s hands, and her own death in the onrushing nuclear blast, though admittedly it seemed like the visual effect that turned her into a charred husk kicked in a bit too early.

So, Dwight and Sherry survive in their bunker, June and J.D. survive in theirs, Strand and Howard get a good view of everything, and Morgan and Grace are caught in the fallout, though alive enough to retrieve Rachel’s baby. What else? Well, Daniel and company are picked up in a CRM helicopter by Isabelle, tying back into Al’s love story and World Beyond, and there’s even a nice visual beat as the camera lifts into the air and reveals that Wesley has spray-painted “This Is Not The End” on the ground, using a dead Riley’s back as his canvas for the final word. There’s also a moment of Daniel-based ownage that calls back to his supreme badassery in the third season, and more of that is always a fine thing.

So, as I say, the good just about outweighs the bad, so long as you’re willing to overlook a great deal of questionable geography, logic, and science, which if you have watched the show this long you probably are. No Alicia is a pretty egregious oversight but is also justifiable since we already know she’s safe. There’s plenty for a seventh season to get stuck into, and for the first time in ages, you have to imagine there’ll be an actual appetite for a continuation, which is more than you could say for the last two seasons. It wasn’t a perfect ending by any means, but Fear the Walking Dead season 6, episode 16 did its job. Just.

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1 thought on “Fear the Walking Dead season 6, episode 16 recap – “The Beginning”

  • June 28, 2021 at 7:25 pm
    Permalink

    You were far more generous than I. I was glad to see Teddy. Riley and Dakota gone but alas, we still have the ahole, Strand. As far as a 7th season? I am good with it ending right here. They all die of the radioactive fallout that even a poorly stocked fallout shelter cannot protect you from . The fact that they probably have several days food and water, maybe a few weeks and will need months if not years to weather the fallout is another overlooked fact. Stick a fork in the show, its done. smh

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