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"The Beacon" is the first episode of the seventh season of AMC's Fear The Walking Dead. It is the eighty-sixth episode of the series overall. It premiered on October 17, 2021, the same night as "Exit Wounds", the third episode of the second season of The Walking Dead: World Beyond. It was written by Andrew Chambliss & Ian Goldberg and directed by Michael Satrazemis.

Plot

While most of the landscape is destroyed by nuclear warheads, Strand thrives in one of the few inhabitable places left. Strand's search for survivors uncovers a stranger with an unexpected connection to his past.

Synopsis

A walker crosses an empty wasteland in the aftermath of Teddy's nuclear blast. A man in a gas mask stabs the walker and searches its backpack for food. He sees a dead possum on the ground.

The man, whose name is Will, walks through a burning forest at night. He returns to his van and looks at a map marked with X's. He adds a tally mark to the wall and goes to sleep.

The next day, Will exits the van. He looks at his map and marks another X.

Will traverses a barren landscape. A walker approaches. He whips out a gun.

Will returns to his van and sees a group of people called the Stalkers fighting walkers outside. He aims his gun at the van door until the fighting dies down.

Will gets out of the van. Walkers come at him. He readies his knife.

Will walks through the woods and finds a lighthouse. He kills a walker and searches for food, but finds nothing.

Will goes back for the dead possum. He later cries while roasting it over a fire. A walker comes at him, but this time he does not brandish a weapon. Three riders show up and kill the walker. A rider takes a photo of the dead walker. Will flees and trips, knocking himself unconscious.

Masked figures remove Will's clothes and scrub him down in an outdoor shower.

Two men guard Will in an elevator. As soon as the doors open, Will flees. Strand stops him at gunpoint.

Strand and Howard interrogate Will as he devours a plate of spaghetti. Will says he was a senator's aide before the fall, and that he used to belong to a settlement. He says the only people he has seen have been the Stalkers who kill and strip the dead.

Strand takes Will on a tour of his tower, which he has developed into a community. Will sees a wall of dead walker photos. Strand says some tower residents have lost loved ones, and that his rangers track them down and photograph them to give his residents closure.

Strand shows Will the rooftop garden, and says he built the community using his instincts. Will comments on Strand's brazen confidence. Strand decides not to admit Will into his community, because he does not share Strand's vision. Will gives Strand a medallion as a parting gift. Strand recognizes it as the medallion he gave to Alicia, and offers to let Will stay at the tower if he shows Strand where he found the medallion.

Strand, Will, and a posse of rangers head out to find Alicia.

Strand asks why Will hasn't returned to his settlement. Will says he was kicked out, but that he's been trying to find a way to make it up to his people. It starts to rain. Will tells everyone to put their masks back on, since rain pulls contaminants out of the air.

Will takes the posse to his van, which is under a sheltered overpass. Will asks Strand why he left his safe tower to look for her. Strand says he never mentioned the medallion's owner was a woman, and realizes Will has been lying to him. Stalkers attack the posse. Strand and Will hide in the van.

Strand asks Will where Alicia is, but Will insists he doesn't know Alicia. Strand sees a business card for the Franklin Hotel, and guesses that's where Teddy took Alicia. Will finally admits that he knows Alicia. Strand says he wants to find Alicia to show her that she was wrong. He jumps out of the van and rides off on his horse.

Strand reaches the lighthouse. Inside he finds a map to the Franklin Hotel.

Will corners Strand at the lighthouse. Strand says he wants to find Alicia to show her that his instincts can be right. Will observes that the tower residents fear Strand, and that he can't lead a community on his own. Strand tackles Will, but Will escapes and goes outside. He finds the lighthouse surrounded by walkers, and recognizes the walkers as residents of Alicia's bunker.

Strand grabs an axe to kill the walkers. Will pours fuel into a generator to power the lighthouse beacon, providing light to fight the walkers.

Strand starts killing walkers. The generator loses power, leaving Strand to fight in the darkness. Will joins Strand and helps slaughter all the walkers. Strand says Alicia was not among the walkers.

Strand and Will ride to the Franklin and find a pile of rubble.

They enter the bunker, but it's long deserted. Will guesses the bunker was not destroyed by Stalkers, since the place has not been looted. He reads a note that Alicia left for him. "Padre," it says.

Will tells Strand that "padre" represents the possibility of something better. He says he'd hoped he would find it first, so that Alicia would not have to. Strand realizes that Will loved Alicia and says that maybe Alicia will find her way to them.

Strand and Will bring the lighthouse beacon to the tower.

A walker sees the beacon and heads toward it.

Strand, Howard, and Will stand on the tower roof, where the beacon is shining. Walkers gather in the parking lot below, attracted to the light. Will predicts Alicia will follow the light and find them. Strand remarks that leaders fail when they are too attached to people. Will realizes the beacon is not meant to draw Alicia, but rather to keep everyone away. Strand shoves Will off the roof. Howard asks if he should send a ranger to photograph Will, but Strand says no one is looking for him. Howard says the light may draw Strand's old friends. Strand says they will have to get through the walkers.

Will turns on the ground below.

Other Cast

Uncredited

Deaths

Trivia

  • First appearance of the Stalkers.
  • First (and last) appearance of Will. (Alive)
  • First (and last) appearance of Toby. (Unknown)
  • The title of the episode, "The Beacon", refers to the lighthouse beacon Will and Strand salvage and mount on top of Strand's Tower.
  • This episode was made available for streaming to subscribers of AMC Premiere on October 10, 2021.
  • The third episode of Season 2 of The Walking Dead: World Beyond is played directly after this episode.
  • As of this episode, Maggie Grace (Althea Szewczyk-Przygocki) and Zoe Colletti (Dakota) have been removed from the opening credits.
  • This is the third episode to feature only one main cast member, after "Close Your Eyes" and "The End Is the Beginning".
  • The medallion that Will shows to Strand is the same one that Strand had given to Alicia at the end of "Welcome to the Club".
  • While talking to Will, Strand briefly references his experiences with the radioactive walkers in the first half of Season 5.
  • Inside of the bunker, a tree like the one that had held the walker in "The Holding" can be seen in the background as Will and Strand find Alicia's note.
  • This is the second time a walker is seen eating another walker, in this case, a walker eating a zombified Will.
    • That being said, the walker stops eating Will shortly after he reanimated.
  • This is the first season premiere of Fear The Walking Dead that does not list a new main cast.

Episode Highlights

  • It's mentioned that the weather patterns sent the fallout away from the Tower, making it the only inhabitable place for miles.
  • According to Will, the walkers killed or affected by the nuclear blasts are not dangerous. Only those who had died of the radiation afterwards are.
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