In the show’s boldest episode yet, Fear The Walking Dead collapses into an extended dream sequence, placing Grace (Karen David) at its centre. Caught in the veteran survivor’s idyllic vision, we see hopeful images of Grace’s unborn daughter, lush pink trees and old man Morgan (Lennie James) leading the thriving community he’d always hoped for. As is the way with the apocalypse though, any brief moment of respite is cut short – this time by one of the franchise’s most shocking twists ever. Here’s everything that happened in Fear The Walking Dead season six, episode 12…
— FearTWD (@FearTWD) May 7, 2021
The shock ending: Grace gives birth to a stillborn child
When Grace woke up surrounded by blossoming pink trees and faced with an unknown teenage survivor, it was clear that this wouldn’t be an ordinary episode of Fear The Walking Dead. We follow Grace as she wanders through a dream vision of their fortified homestead, meeting her unborn daughter Athena, a greying, bearded Morgan, and even stumbling upon her own grave.
What we’re actually seeing is Grace trapped in a coma, while real-world Morgan fends off walkers in a facility that’s close to being overrun. The setup is visually striking and admirably bizarre for a conventional zombie show, but its execution isn’t quite right. It feels like a cool single-sequence idea stretched across 45 minutes, unravelling obvious answers at a snail’s pace with filler interactions between the aged cast.
It’s unfortunate because the finale packs the biggest emotional punch of the season. After waking up, Grace is adamant her daughter is the key to making these dreams a reality. As she gives birth with Morgan by her side, the deafening silence flips their hopeful optimism into the unthinkable. By saying goodbye to Athena inside her coma, Grace isn’t leaving behind her own life as expected, but the hopeful dream they’ve all been striving for.
Operation doom: Morgan gives the key to the cult
Along with a horde of angry walkers, Morgan is pursued by members of underground cult ‘The Holding’ (led by mysterious figure Teddy). They want the key he stole from dead bounty hunter Emile, but it’s still unclear what this key is exactly for, though all signs point to the washed-up submarine seen at the beginning of the season.
After Grace argues the key is meaningless in comparison to her baby’s safety, hesitant Morgan hands it over. Now, Teddy seemingly has everything he needs to put his final plan into action – but what exactly is that?
Discussion point: Fear is getting bolder and weirder, it just needs better writing
This is arguably Fear The Walking Dead’s most experimental episode, but showrunners Ian Goldberg and Andrew Chambliss have history with injecting strange ideas into the show. The interview footage motif became a growing irritation throughout season four, while season five’s beer bottle-shaped hot air balloon became infamous for all the wrong reasons.
The ideas are smarter in season six, like Daniel’s (Rubén Blades) self-induced memory loss as well as underground doomsday cult ‘The Holding’, but the writing doesn’t always feel smart enough to match. There are plenty of silly moments within Grace’s coma, like the Inception-style parallel action sequences and walkie-talkie communication between worlds, which could have ruined the episode but for the excellent final twist.
This week’s biggest question: is Teddy the group’s final challenge?
While Grace’s dream was crushed by the end of this episode, her vision depicted life after taking down Teddy’s gang — paving the way for Morgan’s flourishing community and stable existence without outside interference. It’s an idyllic version of events, of course, yet it definitely feels like Morgan’s growing homestead must be the beginning of the endgame.
So, could Teddy be Fear The Walking Dead’s final antagonist? If the keys (like Morgan’s) are connected to nuclear weapons as many fan theories would have you believe, it’s hard to see the show having anywhere to go. The nuclear theme makes sense too, considering season five debuted zombies infused with nuclear radiation with relatively little explanation.
With the death of Grace’s baby however, Fear isn’t exactly setting itself up for a happy ending. Will the survivors be able to find hope again, now they’re faced with one of the worst tragedies any human can go through?