Warning: this story contains spoilers for Sunday’s “Divine Providence” episode of Fear the Walking Dead. A half-season after Alicia Clark (Alycia Debnam-Carey) declared war on former friend Victor Strand (Colman Domingo), vowing to take the Tower he rules over in the nuclear-zombie apocalypse, the conflict came to an end in “Divine Providence.” There’s been bloodshed on both sides, the second half of Fear‘s Season 7 killing off Ali (Ashton Arbab), Howard (Omid Abtahi), John Dorie Sr. (Keith Carradine), and sentencing Charlie (Alexa Nisenson) to a slow death by radiation poisoning. The casualties have all happened in the same place: Strand’s Tower.
With Morgan Jones (Lennie James) in a raft at sea searching for someplace safe for Baby Mo and his group of survivors, Alicia’s army arrived at Strand’s Tower under a ruse “to talk.” While Strand planned to use the beacon on the roof to draw a horde of radioactive walkers to the Tower — killing Alicia’s army and trapping her inside with him — Alicia aimed to take Strand hostage and get to the roof with a transmitter, turning off the light before broadcasting a message to the survivors hopelessly searching for PADRE.
Things were complicated when the confused and deluded Daniel Salazar (Ruben Blades) broke into the Tower on a misguided mission to rescue Ofelia, and Wes (Colby Hollman) led a Ranger revolt against Strand to take the Tower for themselves.
Still suffering the side effects of a walker’s bite and amputation, the fever-stricken Alicia agreed to stay in the Tower with Strand if he called a cease-fire and turned off the beacon. But Wes’ mutiny continued, forcing Alicia, Strand, and Daniel to team up to get the roof and power down the light drawing the irradiated walkers escaped from a warhead crater.
The armed conflict continued to the top floors of the Tower, where Wes would have killed Alicia and Strand if Daniel didn’t open fire on the Rangers. Wes shot (but failed to kill) Daniel, opening himself up to a standoff with Alicia.
“I saved your life once. We both did,” Alicia told Wes, who defected to Strand’s side earlier in the half-season. “You believed in us once before. And I’m just asking you to do the same thing-” Before Alicia could convince Wes to call off the Rangers he ordered to kill his former friends, Strand stabbed Wes dead with a sword.
Despite Strand’s admission that he loved Alicia like a daughter, and later helping get Morgan’s group to safety inside, he hesitated to turn off the Tower light. “You’re never gonna forgive me, are you?” Strand asked Alicia. “Even if I turn it off, even if I help you save everyone, the damage is already done. It was never gonna be enough. It was never gonna make you love me.”
It might have, Alicia admitted, but Strand killing Wes was the killing blow to their friendship. Their argument turned into a physical fight, which ended with the beacon extinguished — and the Tower roof aflame, a cliffhanger that will be resolved in Fear the Walking Dead‘s 100th episode, “Amina.”
Fear the Walking Dead Showrunner Explains Wes’ Death
“I think what’s so tragic about that moment is that Alicia did feel like she was getting through to Wes and that she was starting to appeal to his better angels again,” co-showrunner Ian Goldberg said on AMC+’s Fear TWD: Episode Insider. “And if she just had a little more time, maybe she would have been able to do that. Strand saw it completely differently. Strand looked at Wes and saw someone who was never going to stand down and that they were going to have to kill to get to the roof.”
Strand “felt he was doing something good for her,” but for Alicia, Strand killing Wes “was proof that Strand hasn’t changed, and it’s exactly the reason she doesn’t trust him,” Goldberg explained. “So it’s this terrible, tragic moment of conflicting motivations and understandings of each other that ultimately leads to the confrontation we see up on the roof.”
Fueled by his unrequited love for Alicia, Strand “ultimately realizes, ‘If I can’t get her to love me, then I’m not even gonna try,’ and he’s going to double down on his worst instinct, which at the beginning of the episode, was to keep drawing those radioactive walkers here.”
“The beacon breaking is a metaphor for Strand himself. He is broken by everything that’s happened, by Alicia’s lack of faith in him. They are at their worst point yet, and they’ve already been at pretty low points,” Goldberg continued. “The radioactive walkers have arrived, putting everyone else in peril. The Tower is on fire. I think Strand feels this is the end for him. There’s nothing left he can do, and he will die having done the worst possible thing he could and just become the worst version of himself. He’s as broken as that beacon.”
New episodes of Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 air Sundays on AMC.