"The Beginning" is the sixteenth and final episode of the sixth season of AMC's Fear the Walking Dead. It is the eighty-fifth episode of the series overall. It premiered on June 13, 2021. It was written by Andrew Chambliss & Ian Goldberg and directed by Michael Satrazemis.
Everyone desperately scrambles to live out the coming destruction on their own terms.
PROMISE ME YOU'LL FIND SOMEONE.
Rachel is attempting to fix a tire on her truck. She tries to radio the group for help, but receives no reply. Then, she sees the missile being launched into the air, This is followed by Morgan's broadcast, in which he says that they will still try to stop the missile, but he isn't sure that will even be possible. He, thus, advises those listening to use the time they have left to give themselves the ending they want. Rachel gets back out of the truck and continues trying to fix her tire, when suddenly her car jack comes loose, and the wheel falls onto her leg. Rachel looks at her leg in horror, the bone having been broken completely, and now sticking out of the leg. She acts fast, and makes herself a splint to just barely walk on it. She collects her baby and Rufus, and starts shuffling down the road, in an attempt to get them to safety.
Rachel is able to make it a short distance, but ends up falling down on her back. Knowing that she can't go any farther, Rachel straps Morgan to her back, and starts tying a rope to her torso, and the other end to Rufus' collar. She puts a gag on herself, then takes out her knife. She apologizes, and then stabs herself in the gut, cutting into her stomach. After a few seconds, Rachel slowly succumbs and dies in the middle of the road.
¡DAME EL ARMA!
At the naval base, Daniel hears someone's transmission over the SWAT van's radio, just as the others rush outside. The basement is infested with walkers, so they have to find another place to shelter at. Just then, Rollie and Wes rush to the scene, having captured Riley. Rollie claims they found the location of the bunker where the cult is holding Alicia, so the group can take shelter there. Luciana is surprised Riley would divulge this information, but Rollie nonchalantly comments that it's easy to get a true believer to talk when you separate them from their leader. Daniel doesn't trust this information, and suggest they instead go to the coordinates he wrote down after hearing a voice broadcast them over the radio. Although Daniel doesn't know who was broadcasting, he is certain that he recognizes the voice. Rollie asks Daniel if he is sure he isn't "confused" again, with Luciana firmly asking him if he is sure what he heard was real. Daniel can't say that he is, so Luciana decides they will go to the place Rollie wants.
On the road, Sarah desperately tries to get in contact with Wendell, while Daniel questions why Riley would reveal the location of the bunker now so close to the end. Before Riley can answer, the van comes to a screeching stop when the breaks malfunction. Sarah and Jacob go outside to fix it, while the rest of the group protects them from walkers, save for Daniel and Charlie who stay to watch over Riley. Sarah is worried about Wendell, but Jacob assures her that they will reunite, one way or another. Continuing his interrogation, Daniel wonders why Riley would stay alive if destruction is the whole point, to which the latter replies that it's only to see their faces when everything turns to ash. He goes on to state that he is aware that Daniel's group thinks the cult is insane, but assures him that it's only the beginning, as the phoenix will rise quicker than he thinks. Right then, Sarah finishes her repairs. As the group prepares to leave, Rollie comments that they will get out of this yet, "like a phoenix." Hearing this, Daniel suddenly realizes something, and asks Luciana for her gun in Spanish. When she hesitates, he asks if she thinks the traitors in Tank Town should die. When Luciana finally hands him the gun, Daniel executes Rollie without hesitation. Daniel explains that Rollie was a cult member, and that this was how the cult found out that they were coming to the sub. Riley suddenly reaches for the gun, but is shot in the back by Charlie. Luciana asks Riley if Rollie was really a traitor, and the latter confirms, stating the Rollie lost his faith when he saw them turn on each other at the dam. He adds that they were driving them someplace they'd have a prime view of the destruction to come. Their conversation is interrupted by a loud bang. In the sky, they see that a warhead has dethatched from the missile. Daniel thinks they can still make it to the coordinates. Sarah is hesitant, but Luciana points out Daniel was right about Rollie, so he must have really heard the coordinates on the radio as well. With that, they drive off towards the marked destination.
ENJOY THE VIEW, ASSHOLE.
After hearing Morgan's transmission, Dwight and Sherry desperately search for shelter on horseback. Finally, they come across a house. Sherry thinks they should search the house for some beer and pretzels, this being the one thing they promised they would do once they found each other. If it is indeed the end, Sherry says, then this is how she wants to go out, to which Dwight agrees. They find the house empty, but Dwight manages to find some beer. As they sip in on the porch, Sherry wonders why they didn't do this sooner. She tearfully laments how they could have had a life together after miraculously finding each other, but she couldn't get over the past, and instead wasted time being angry and trying to fight the bad guys, who always win anyway. All it did, Sherry realizes, was cost her time with Dwight. Dwight comforts her, telling her she has nothing to be sorry for and that they can still have a life together, even if it's just for a couple of minutes. The pair are suddenly confronted by a couple of survivors who'd been hiding in the house, as Dwight and Sherry hold them at gunpoint. Dwight tries to deescalate the situation, assuring the couple that they thought the house was empty, with Sherry advising them to evacuate to a safe place. The man, Kevin, says that they have a place, but that "they" took it. He explains that they have a storm cellar which they were planning on hiding in after they saw the missile, when some "jackasses" showed up and forced them out. The woman, Kim, doesn't know who they were, just that they were ranting about how "the end is the beginning." Kevin bitterly says that they put a gun to his daughter's face, who then makes her presence known as well. Once they lower their guns, Kim asks Dwight and Sherry to leave them alone. Dwight, instead, volunteers to get the cellar back for them. When Kim asks how, Dwight asks if they have any rope.
Dwight and Sherry tie the cellar door to Dwight's horse. Dwight then slaps the horse so that it would gallop away. A few seconds later, the doors are pulled off their hinges. Two cult members emerge, guns blazing, but both are shot by Dwight and Sherry. While one is killed, the other tries to run away, only to be shot in the leg by Dwight. Once confronted, the cult member begs to be finished off, but Dwight denies him his wish, opting to instead do for him what he tried to do for the family in the house. Sherry sarcastically tells the cult member to enjoy the view, before shooting him in the other leg. As they walk away, Sherry is surprised by Dwight's conduct, as she hasn't seen that side of him in a long time. Dwight supposes they were both right about making sure the bad guys don't win, and says that maybe they should have been doing that the whole time. As another warhead detaches above, the pair scurry inside the storm shelter.
YOU HAVE NOTHING TO BE SORRY ABOUT.
Driving down the road with Dakota, Teddy angrily turns off the radio after hearing Morgan's broadcast. Dakota apologizes for saving Morgan's life, as if she hadn't, he wouldn't be in a position to stop the missiles. In contrast, Teddy says that he is glad things happened the way they did, or he might have never met Dakota. Delighted, Dakota asks if he really means it, and Teddy maintains that while everyone else hangs on to his every word, Dakota is the only one who truly understands what he is trying to do. They drive out to a clearing overlooking a valley where a warhead is supposed to detonate. Dakota confides in Teddy that he is the first person to look at her like there wasn't something wrong with her and didn't try to get her to change. Teddy embraces her in response and wonders what it would be like if they'd met sooner. They are interrupted by John Sr., who hold Teddy at gunpoint and orders him to step away from Dakota. Teddy is amused that John would spend his last moments trying to bring him down, but John responds that he isn't here for Teddy, but for Dakota. John assures Dakota that he doesn't want to hurt her, but just wants to say something that she will hopefully listen to. Dakota raises her gun at John and thinks that he is just trying to get her to change her mind like his son did, but John Sr. replies that he was right, as Dakota can still make her life mean something, if only she believed that people are better than the way they act at their worst. Unconvinced, Dakota comments that this was how his son ended up with a bullet in him, but John Sr. assures her that people will surprise her if she gives them a chance. He recounts how he caused John great pain by walking out on him, and yet John still found it in his heart to forgive him years later. When Dakota asks what this has to do with her, John Sr. replies that he forgives her for killing his son. Teddy tells Dakota not to listen to John, assuring her she has nothing to be sorry about, but Dakota asks John if he really means it, which he confirms, and disarms to show that he is serious. In response Teddy raises his own gun at John, only to have it shot out of his hand by June, who'd been lying in ambush this entire time. June tells Dakota she forgives her as well, and that her husband was right; it's not too late, even if she only believes it for however long they have left. Dakota doesn't believe June thinks people can change, as she killed Virginia in revenge. June acknowledges that she lost what John believed when she lost him, but found it again, as can Dakota. John Sr. kicks Teddy's gun away and notices a metallic scrape. He asks Teddy what's underneath them and, when he gets no reply, sweeps away the dirt and opens a trap door, revealing an entrance to a secret bunker. John remembers how Teddy preached he was the end, but it seems to him he plans on "sticking around for the beginning," unless all of it were just lies to get Teddy's followers to die for him. June tells Dakota that they are there doing what they believe, and aren't lying to her. Feeling betrayed, Dakota asks Teddy about the bunker. He explains that they didn't fire all of the missiles, so they need to go back and finish what they started. Upset, Dakota asks if Teddy even meant what he said about understanding her. He assures her that he did, but she in turn asks him why he didn't tell her about the bunker, if that's the case. Teddy claims that he couldn't risk anyone else finding out about the bunker, and wanted this to be only about the two of them. Why else, Teddy asks, would he have brought her. John deduces that it's because he needs two people to turn the keys. He postulates that Teddy doesn't really care about Dakota, and that he just needs her to launch the missiles. Dakota is in denial, and Teddy tries to convince her not to listen to John. John warns Dakota that Teddy will kill her when he doesn't need her anymore, while June offers her a second chance inside the bunker. The loud bang of a warhead detaching overhead interrupts their argument. Teddy offers Dakota the choice between dying by his side bringing about the end while staying true to herself, or going with June and John and pretending she is somebody she's not.
WHICH MAN ARE YOU?
Victor rides alone through an abandoned city. He decides to investigate a nearby building. Victor finds the lobby infested with walkers and just barely manages to fight his way to the stairwell. Upstairs, he yells for any survivors. While the floor was clearly occupied before, as evidenced by walkers corpses and camping equipment, it seems to be empathy now. Victor looks out the window for a possible escape route, but finds the building is now surrounded by the dead. He yells in frustration and collapses on the floor. After a few moments, however, Victor hears faint music coming from upstairs. He climbs one floor and carefully enters a room full of historic artifacts such as paintings and antique guns. Suddenly, he is held at gunpoint by a survivor named Howard, who asks how Victor got past the dead he let in. After disarming, Victor asks Howard if he saw the missile, which the latter confirms and asks if it is going to hit where they are. Victor replies that it's going to hit anywhere, and reveals that he was there. Victor says that unless Howard has a place undergrounds they can shelter in, there is nothing more they can do. Howard seems resigned to hear this, and offers Victor some bourbon and asks that he turn over the record so it can continue playing. Howard also reveals that he was a historian who used to teach at UT. Victor asks if this is where he got the artifacts, but Howard says he scavenged most from museums and art galleries. He did this in an effort to preserve history. Noticing his neckless, Victor asks if Howard is a religious man. The latter denies this, but says that his wife was, and thought the neckless would protect him. Victor recounts how he gave the neckless to a dear friend once, but doesn't elaborate when Howard inquires further. Howard, however, insists Victor tell his story, so Victor obliges him. He says how they were trying to build a future, but another group was trying to end it all. They were nearly successful at stopping this group, but ultimately failed. When Howard asks why, Victor says that it came down to two men, who had to give their lives to save everyone, but when push came to shove one of them couldn't do it. When Howard asks why not, Victor chuckles and says that the man simply wanted to survive and take the glory for himself and, in doing so, co-signed everyone to the destruction he was hoping to circumvent. When Howard asks which man Victor is, he claims he was the one who was ready to die. Howard questions why Victor is there and not with his group, but Victor simply replies that something led him there. Amused, Victor supposes this is the ending he deserved, or thought he did. The men then hear a loud bang, signaling that a warhead has dethatched. Howard wishes that he met Victor sooner, and goes on to introduce himself. Victor, on the other hand, introduces himself as "Morgan Jones."
I CAN HEAR HER.
Grace lies on top of the submarine staring at the launched missile. She asks her dead daughter if the reason she isn't here is because she knew this was coming. After hearing Morgan's transmission, she tosses the walkie in frustration. Grace screams in despair, but then calms down, says that she knows the ending she wants, and heads down into the sub. At the bottom of the ladder, she picks up a dead sailor's service weapon. In the control room, Morgan desperately tries to get the controls to respond to his inputs, to no avail. Arriving to the scene, Grace tries to get him to stop, as she sees it as pointless, but Morgan stubbornly refuses to give up. Grace tells Morgan that, although they don't know where the warheads are going to hit, it will be close enough, and that, even if they survive the initial blast, they won't want to live in a world covered in fallout and radiation. She has seen what radiation poisoning does to people, and says that the plant was at least contained, while the nuclear detonations won't be, and will be a lot worse than Hiroshima, Nagasaki, or Chernobyl. She recounts how she watched Athena's father die from radiation exposure, and how long and painful it was. Grace asserts that she won't watch that happen to someone else she loves, finally confessing her feelings to Morgan and musing that she never tells anyone how she feels until it's too late. Morgan jokes that he has the same problem and kisses Grace. Reciprocating her feelings, Morgan tells Grace that he loves her. With that, Grace takes out her gun and begs Morgan to not make her watch it happen again. Morgan confesses that he thought he was going to die at the Gulch, but Grace was his one reason to stay alive, since he wanted to take care of her and build something for Athena. Grace is sorry that won't happen, and says that she is alive because her daughter isn't. Neither of them, Grace claims, were meant to be here. Morgan says that he's sorry for everything, and admits that he fooled himself into thinking he could have a family with Grace. Grace tells him that he can, just not here. She remembers how when Athena was born, she waited so long to hear her cry, and that she still needs to. A loud bang is heard, which Grace immediately realizes means that the warheads are separating, meaning they don't have much time. Picking up the gun, Morgan says he is sorry it has to end this way, but Grace believes it's for the best. The couple prepare to commit suicide with a joint headshot. Grace smiles and says that she can hear a baby crying, which she interprets as her hearing Athena. Morgan pauses when he realizes he can hear the crying too, determining that it's coming from the sub's PA system.
Outside, the pair find Rufus dragging an undead Rachel behind him. Sorrowfully, Morgan puts Rachel down with his staff, and quickly discovers baby Morgan in her backpack. Delighted, Morgan says that it feels like a gift from Athena.
I KNOW HOW TO SURVIVE.
Finally arriving at the coordinates, Daniel and the rest of the group exit the S.W.A.T. van, but find no one there. Daniel meekly apologizes to the others, as Riley chuckles that he told them that there was no escaping from it. Angered, Daniel grabs the wounded Riley and drags him out of the van, but Riley is dead by the time he hits the ground. Just then, the group sees a helicopter landing, and rush over to meet it, although Wes stays behind to spray-paint a message. At the helicopter, the pilot doesn't speak but holds a walkie, from which Al speaks to the group. Al tells the group that she would have come herself, but they're low on fuel. She also tells them not to ask the pilot any questions, but assures them that she's there to help.
Outside of Teddy's bunker, Dakota begins to have a mental breakdown, and says that she will stay up top. Out of options, John Sr. preforms a "Saint Louis Barn Raiser" by firing his gun into the air. Although Dakota wounds John, his shot acts as a distraction for June to shoot the gun out of her hand. No longer held at gunpoint, June and John rush into the bunker, although Dakota still opts to stay outside to see the end. Once John shuts the door, Dakota picks the gun back up and trains it on Teddy, much to his shock. Tearfully, Dakota asks if Teddy ever really gave a shit about her or if he just needed her to turn the key. Keeping his cool, Teddy chuckles to this question, but this only prompts Dakota to shoot him dead, as it confirms her suspicions. Dakota remembers how Teddy told her that she shouldn't change, so she takes his advice. She tells the now-deceased Teddy that now he won't get to see his ending.
As the warheads begin to land, Victor and Howard gaze out the window and await their fate. Dakota welcomes her death and is incinerated by nuclear fire, while the bunker underneath violently shakes. While the Larson family home is annihilated, Dwight, Sherry, and the family desperately hold on to the storm shelter door. As the winds die down, the couple are relieved at their survival. At the CRM pickup site, Riley reanimates, while the others prepare to take off. Daniel thanks Luciana for believing in him, and she replies that he just needs a little help, and that they'll be fine if they stick together. Finally, Wes joins them, and the group takes off for parts unknown. From the sky, the message Wes painted on the pavement and Riley's back reads "This isn't the end." As they fly away, an undead Riley wanders off. Soon, a nuke detonates nearby and chars the local vegetation. The cult's hotel is destroyed, while the bunker underneath is shaken but survives. At the submarine, a nuke detonates very close to Morgan and Grace's location. With no time left, they duck underneath a nearby tanker truck to shield themselves from the blast.
Meanwhile, the warhead that had detonated near Victor and Howard's location shakes their building, but ultimately leaves it intact. Relieved, Victor starts laughing, and when Howard asks why, he replies that it is because he is still alive after everything he did. Victor goes on to admit he lied about his identity, as he was the other man. His name, Victor says, is not Morgan Jones, but Victor Strand, a man who's thrown men to the wolves when necessary, and has not been afraid to cut the cord when he had to. He describes himself as a backroom dealer, a grifter, a shark, and someone who has cheated again and again without fail, if the opportunity presented itself. When Howard asks why, Victor simply replies that it is for survival, something he's done all his life. He cites this behavior as the reason why he is still here. Victor emotionally exclaims that he comes from nothing, and he had to rebuild himself from the ground up, over and over again, like a civilization. Continuing, Victor notes that they have a great future behind them, which they can use to rebuild, "with art, and books, and music, and good bourbon." It feels like a dawning of a new day to Victor.
Having survived the explosion, Morgan and Grace crawl up from underneath the truck. Right after Morgan kills a charred walker, two more warheads detonate in the distance. Morgan and Grace look at each other, uncertain of the future.
- Cory Hart as Rollie
- Julia Barnett as Kim Larson
- Aaron Spivey-Sorrells as Kevin Larson
- Ella McCain as Briga Larson
- Austin Alexander as Acolyte
- Rachel (Alive and Zombified)
- Jason Riley (Alive)
- Theodore Maddox
- Dakota (Alive)
- Acolyte (Off-Screen)
- 1 unnamed cultist
- Many unnamed Texas settlement survivors
- First appearance of Kim Larson.
- First appearance of Kevin Larson.
- First appearance of Briga Larson.
- First appearance of Howard.
- First appearance of the Larson Family Home.
- First appearance of Strand's Tower.
- First appearance of Teddy's Secret Bunker.
- Last appearance of Rollie.
- With Rollie's death, there are no known members of Logan's Crew left alive.
- Last appearance of Rachel.
- With Rachel's death, Morgan is the only surviving member of her family.
- Last appearance of Jason Riley. (Alive)
- Last appearance of Theodore Maddox. (Alive)
- Last appearance of Dakota. (Alive)
- Last appearance of Garza. (Corpse)
- The title of the episode, "The Beginning", refers to Riley's statement that "this is only just the beginning", derived from Teddy's teachings.
- This episode was made available for streaming to subscribers of AMC Premiere on June 10, 2021.
- This is the first season finale of Fear the Walking Dead in which Alicia Clark doesn't appear.
- This episode marks the return of Isabelle, who has been absent since "Alaska". However, she is played by Kevin Knotts, since Sydney Lemmon was unavailable for filming.
- The episode's format breaks it down into several different sections occurring simultaneously and each following the different groups of characters.
- Rollie is executed by Daniel Salazar after Daniel realizes that Rollie is a spy for the cult. Riley reveals that Rollie had lost his faith after the events of "Handle With Care" and switched sides.
- Daniel, Wes, Sarah, Charlie, Luciana, and Jacob are rescued by a CRM helicopter sent by Al and piloted by Isabelle.
- It's revealed that Teddy secretly intended to hide out in a hidden bunker and once the dust settled, return to the sub and launch the remaining nuclear missiles. Teddy kept Dakota alive as he needed a second person to turn both launch keys.
- The way in which Rachel dies, and then while zombified carries her child with her while her mouth is restrained and she is guided by an ulterior force may be a reference to the 2017 movie Cargo, in which the main character Andy does the same thing once he succumbs to his infection.
- When John Dorie Sr. and June disarm Dakota with a trick shot, John Sr. asks if his son ever told June about the St. Louis Barn Raiser. In "Humbug's Gulch", June asked John about a number of different trick shots, including one called the St. Louis Barn Raiser, but he refused to answer her.
- This episode marks the first time in Fear the Walking Dead continuity that Dwight has killed a living person either directly or indirectly.
- Following its breaking in the last episode, Morgan appears to have abandoned all use of his battle axe, taking with him only his old staff when he exits the sub.
- There is a deleted scene of June and Dorie Sr. traveling by horse on the way to the overlook, as depicted in several promo photos from the episode.
- This episode was accidentally published early in Germany on June 7, 2021.