"Pilot" is the first episode of the first season of AMC's Fear The Walking Dead. It is the first episode of the series overall. It premiered on August 23, 2015. It was written by Dave Erickson & Robert Kirkman and directed by Adam Davidson.
A highly dysfunctional blended family is forced together when they realize a reported virus is actually the onset of the undead apocalypse.
Drug addict Nicholas "Nick" Clark awakes in an abandoned church, where he has been sleeping after getting high on drugs. Nick searches for his girlfriend Gloria in the church, which seems abandoned. Ahead, he hears strange noises, and as he makes his way down through the halls, he hears a man scream. Unnerved by blood splattered on walls, Nick finds a deceased man with his neck torn open. The wound looks to be a bite. Alarmed Nick creeps away and grabs a pole for defense. He then finds Gloria, who is eating a deceased person. Gloria spots Nick and approaches him, and he falls back, terrified at what he sees. As Gloria stumbled towards him, he gets to his feet and sprints out of the church, and onto a road. Clearly shocked by what he just witnessed, he is oblivious to everything else, and gets hit by a car. Dazed and injured, he is tended to by pedestrians who witnessed the incident. The camera pans to reveal Los Angeles, bustling with everyday activity in a pre-apocalyptic world.
Madison Clark is picking up laundry in her house. She opens the bathroom door and asks her daughter, Alicia Clark, if she's ready. Alicia replies "Did I say come in? Jesus Mom!". Madison then enters the kitchen and asks how Travis Manawa, her fiancé, is doing fixing the pipes. He is clearly frustrated. He does however fix the leak in the pipes, which Madison declares "hot". The phone rings and Travis answers it.
Madison, Travis and Alicia arrive at the hospital to see Nick. Madison asks what drug Nick took, to which the doctor replies "I can't tell you anymore than I could tell the police." Two police officers are interviewing Nick at the hospital. A man is wheeled up in a bed in the section next to Nick. The officers ask Nick why was he running, and says that when he was found, Nick was raving about "blood and viscera". Madison enters the room and tells the officers to leave, and they comply. Madison asks why Nick is restrained, to which he shrugs. Madison says she's calling a bed for Nick, to which he says "No no, I can't go back there." Madison argues that she can help Nick, but Nick brushes away the statement saying "You can't do shit." The family argue, and Travis asks everyone to take a breath. Travis gets a phone call from Liza, when he goes out to answers it, Alicia says to Travis "Glad you moved in?" When he answers it Liza asks how Nick is doing. He replies "He'll recover." She then asks him if he's okay to take his son Chris on the weekend, and Chris shouts "I don't wanna go!" Liza insists that he goes, and they argue about the subject. Travis finally demands she hand the phone to Chris. Chris takes the phone and says he doesn't want to come, to which Travis says it's his weekend. Chris challenges Travis to force him to come, Travis asks Chris to come and support Nick. Chris replies "He's not my friend and he's not my brother," and Travis challenges that Nick would be there for Chris. Chris says "He wouldn't have to be there for me; not like that. No." and he gives the phone to Liza. Travis says "keep him" to Liza. He hangs up.
Travis goes back inside and meets Madison. She says she has to find a rehabilitation facility where Nick isn't known, and that she has college counselling today. Travis says to leave Nick with him and that Madison should go. Madison says Travis didn't sign up for this, which he puts aside. Madison and Travis hug.
In the car with Alicia, Madison assures her that Nick will be okay. When Alicia doesn't respond, she asks her to remove her earphones. Alicia obeys and says sarcastically "he's going to be okay". She then adds "Well, while he's restrained." Madison asks her to be helpful, but Alicia says she should listen to Travis and cut Nick off. Madison says she won't, and that he just needs to get the junk out of his system. They arrive at the school and Madison is greeted by the principal, Art Costa. He informs her that a lot of students are out sick, to which he replies "I got my flu-shot." She tells him about Nick, and that he'll be okay. He notes that she must be relieved, and she nods. A student, Tobias, enters through the doors and an alarm sounds. He ups his pace and begins to walk away, but Art stops him. Madison checks his pockets, placing seventy-seven cents into his left pocket to cover for him. She asks Tobias how things are at home, and then brings him with her to have a "chat". In her office, she tells him to hand it over, and he gives her a knife in his right pocket. She tells him to sit down, and asks him what's going on, and that she could expel him for bringing a knife into the school. He says "No please.. We're safer in numbers." She asks "Safer from what?" When Tobias doesn't reply, she tells him not to screw himself up, and that he was on track to go to college. He replies "Yeah" which a small chuckle, "Nobody's going to college. No one's doing anything they think they are." Madison is bewildered by his words. He requests his knife back, which Madison denies. Exasperated, Tobias claims that "They says it's not connected, but I don't believe them. It-I- It is. From reports in five states, they don't know if it's a virus, or-or, or a microbe. They don't know, but it's spreading! People are killing!" Madison interrupts, telling him that he needs to spend less time online. She says if there was a problem, they would know about it. Tobias replies "Yeah.. Sure." Madison dismisses him.
Meanwhile, Alicia sneaks out of school and meets her boyfriend, Matt, in a park. They kiss. He says that "unlike you, I'm not smart enough to teach classes". She leaves and tells him to have fun.
At the hospital, Nick awakes from a nightmare. Travis tells him that maybe what he saw at the church was a nightmare or hallucination, to which he says he really wants to write it off like that, but nothing like this has ever happened to him before. Nick muses that maybe he's losing his mind. Nick asks Travis to untie him, but Travis denies his request. Nick asks if Travis thinks he's dangerous, to which Travis replies "Docs are worried". Nick asks if Travis is worried, and Travis replies that Nick was running into traffic. Nick replies he was running from what he saw, and tells Travis about what happened at the church, noting that Gloria was eating them. Travis is skeptical, believing that Nick saw what the drugs saw, but Nick is unconvinced. Nick states his view that if it wasn't the drugs, then he is insane.
That evening, Travis goes to the church to investigate Nick's claims. The building seems abandoned, with signs of earlier habitation by drug addicts. While he is investigating a room, a man jumps out at Travis, yelling in fear and begging not to be killed, before running away. Travis shouts out to him and attempts to follow. When he arrives at the main room, he slips and falls to the floor, discovering a pool of blood and bits of flesh. Startled, he immediately leaves the building.
The next morning, Travis and Alicia arrive back at the hospital, where Madison spent the night with beside Nick. Travis informs her that school is starting soon, and hands her some fresh clothes. When they leave, Alicia feeds Nick his breakfast. Nick says to Alicia that he intends to get clean, for good. Outside, Travis informs Madison about what he saw at the church the previous night. Madison dismisses his concerns, concluding that it's a drug den and that bad things happen there. Travis declares that he wishes to help Nick. Madison replies he can't use Nick to fix things with Chris. Madison and Alicia get into her car and leave for school. Later on, above a football pitch, Alicia and her boyfriend are cuddling. Alicia tells him that she just needs to "not be here". Her boyfriend asks if it's her brother, to which she nods. They then arrange to meet at the beach later; to watch the sunset, and to later come to his place. In the distance, emergency service sirens can be heard.
Meanwhile at the hospital, Nick raises his concerns for the elderly patient in the bed next to him, but the nurse visiting Nick assures him that the man is okay, and presents Nick with a bedpan. He asks her to untie at least one strap, which is restraining him, to which she complies. Once she leaves to give him some privacy, Nick attempts to free himself, but as he does so, the elderly man begins making heaving noises, and an alarm goes off. The nurse arrives back with other staff and a doctor, who informs them that if they can't get a regular heart rhythm back within 60 seconds, they need to take the man "downstairs". Defibrillation fails to resuscitate the patient, and under the doctors strict orders, he is whisked away, and the staff leave. Nick unties his other strap and falls out of bed. He finds the old man's bag of clothes and puts them on. He proceeds to sneak out of the hospital, as sirens wail in the distance and an ambulance pulls up at the hospital. Later on, Madison and Travis arrive at the hospital and ask the nurse where Nick is. Staff are running around in a hurry, and the telephones are overloaded with calls. The nurse says she doesn't know where Nick is. She says that his room mate coded and there was a second death on the floor. Madison demands that she find Nick, but the nurse insists that they should call the police. Travis then brings Madison to the church where Nick was sleeping. She is in shock, and begins to cry. Later on, Madison and Travis visit Nick's friend Calvin. They ask him if he knows where Nick is. He doesn't, but offers to make some calls to see if anyone else knows where Nick might be.
Later at the beach, Alicia's boyfriend fails to arrive, and she leaves, disappointed. As they drive home on the highway, Madison and Travis get stuck in a traffic jam. They witness helicopters overhead and police vehicles arriving at the scene of what Travis assumes is a high speed accident. Up ahead, they see smoke billowing from a wrecked car, and an ambulance and several police cars. They hear multiple gunshots, and Travis insists that they leave immediately, and they take another route home.
The next day at school, even more students are absent. Art jokes with the police officers nearby that he hopes they got their flu-shots. In the staff lounge, staff including Travis and Madison, are crowding around a tablet computer, where leaked footage is being played of the incident on the freeway the previous night. The footage is from one of the helicopters, and shows an apparently deceased man biting an emergency responder tending to him on the gurney. Police batter the man with batons when he fails to stand down, and the staff watching the video speculate on an explanation, with rumours of poison water and viruses. Art notes that the video is what caused even fewer students to arrive for school this morning. In the video, officers proceed to shoot the man multiple times in the chest, and he falls to his knees - only to get back up. Travis and Madison leave the room, and she tells him to phone the police for help locating Nick. In class, Alicia and two friends watch the video on their smartphones, and they see that the man is only brought down when he is shot in the head. They debate whether or not the footage is real. Principal Costa makes an announcement that it will be a half day, and that students can leave. Madison collects Alicia, informing her that people are worried about the shooting. She tells Alicia to get the bus home. Outside, Madison spots Tobias on the bus. She smiles at him, but Tobias, a glum expression on his face, looks away.
Meanwhile, Nick meets up with his dealer Calvin, whom he head previously called, wanting to know if the drugs he bought from him were laced with anything as a potential explanation for what he saw at the church. Nick breaks down, and Calvin is offended at his accusations, but offers to help him. They later drive to the river, and Calvin exits the car and retrieves something from the trunk. He opens the door for Nick, and Nick sees a gun in Calvin's pocket. He attempts to grab Calvin's gun and they fight. After a brief struggle, Nick manages to turn the gun on Calvin, and shoots him.
Madison and Travis find Nick after he called Travis. In a state of shock, he stutters that he did a bad thing and killed Calvin, but when they go back to the scene, Calvin is gone, with only his gun on the floor. Nick breaks down in his mother's arms, and the three get back in Travis' car to leave However, as they reverse back out through the tunnel, Travis and Madison see the figure of Calvin behind them, now zombified, his clothes laced with blood from his fatal wound. Travis and Madison exit the car and approach Calvin, concerned for his well being. Madison reaches out to him, and he lurches forward, biting her sleeved arm. She gets away in time, and Travis, grabs hold of Calvin, confused at his actions. Calvin relentlessly tried to attack him, and Nick takes control of the car, reversing it back and running over Calvin. To their surprise, Calvin is apparently still alive, and gets to his feet, his face bloodied and bone potruding from his arm. Nick proceeds to hit Calvin again, ramming him onto the hood of the car, before slamming on the brakes, sending him flying onto the concrete of the river bottom. Madison, Travis and Nick look on in shock at the sight before them.
Incredibly, and to their utter astonishment, the profoundly mutilated Calvin stirs, turning his head towards them. Shocked, Madison asks, "What the hell is happening?"
"I have no idea." replies Travis.
- Donald Agnelli as Driver
- Carlos E. Campos as Faculty Member
- B. J. Clinkscales as LAPD Uni
- Jack Donner as Old Man
- Micah Fitzgerald as Pale Face Junkie
- Gavrielle Harris as Student #1
- Lexi Johnson as Gloria
- Angelyna Martinez as Physics Teacher
- Andrew Patrick Ralston as Lab Coat
- Lak Rana as ICU Doctor
- Gloria (Alive, Off-Screen)
- Older Man
- Car Crash Victim (Alive and Zombified)
- Patrick Sutherland (Confirmed Fate)
- Calvin Jasper (Alive)
- At least 2 unnamed junkies
- 1 cat (Confirmed Fate)
- Numerous counts of civilians, patients, and medics
- First appearance of Nicholas Clark.
- First appearance of Madison Clark.
- First appearance of Alicia Clark.
- First appearance of Travis Manawa.
- First appearance of Elizabeth Ortiz.
- First appearance of Christopher Manawa.
- First appearance of Art Costa.
- First appearance of Tobias.
- First appearance of Matt Sale.
- First appearance of Gloria. (Zombified)
- First (and last) appearance of Adam Gould. (Unknown)
- First (and last) appearance of Russell. (Unknown)
- First (and last) appearance of Brandon. (Unknown)
- First (and last) appearance of Henderson. (Unknown)
- First (and last) appearance of Lane. (Unknown)
- First (and last) appearance of Finley. (Unknown)
- First (and last) appearance of Richards. (Unknown)
- First (and last) appearance of Calvin Jasper.
- This became the most-watched series premiere in basic cable television history, receiving a total of 10.13 million viewers during its initial broadcast.
- The diner where Nick meets Calvin is featured in movies such as: Nightcrawler (2014), Drive (2011), and Twilight (2008).
- The novel Nick used to hold the drug paraphernalia in the church is titled, Watership Down. In the novel, the main character has a supernatural inkling that something horrible is happening and everybody thinks he's crazy, much like Nick in this episode.
- The songs featured in this episode are the following:
- "Pilot" Receives 10.13 Million Viewers - Zap2it (Aug 25, 2015)
- FTWD Becomes Most-Watched Series Premiere in Cable History - Zap2it (Aug 24, 2015)