Leading up to the sixth season finale of Fear the Walking Dead, there was a lot of speculation that it would set up a lengthy time jump. It followed that the jump might align the spinoff with the timelines of The Walking Dead and The World Beyond as both of those series head into their final seasons (ahead of the eventual Rick Grimes movie). But after watching the season six finale, is that still the case?
The answer is: Maybe. A time jump would only be plausible by bending the rules of logic beyond their breaking point.
In episode 14 of season six, Teddy — a former serial killer turned cult leader hellbent on world destruction — locks Alicia away in a fallout shelter with the expectation that she would ride out a nuclear bomb and resurface years later to lead an effort to rebuild the world. Teddy had at his disposal enough nuclear missiles to blow up a continent, but ultimately, he only manages to get one missile off, although it lands in Texas and successfully wreaks immense destruction.
That would seemingly set up a season seven that begins years into the future after Alicia resurfaces from the fallout shelter. That may still happen, and so yet may a time jump, but the rules of logic make that situation far-fetched, not that Fear the Walking Dead always abides by logic.
In the season six finale, almost everyone survives the immediate nuclear blast, save for Dakota, who is incinerated, and Teddy, who is shot to death by Dakota before the bomb detonates. However, none of the “good guys” die in the finale, which is a problem because, by my count, there are 15 regulars on the show not including Wendell (who has been MIA) or all the kids who vanished in season six (likely due to shooting protocols during a pandemic). On a series that found a new life by centering its stories on a limited number of characters in each episode, this creates a problem, mostly in that a lot of characters are given very little screen time and often go four or five episodes without being seen.
That, however, is beside the point. The point is that they all survive, but aside from Alicia, only John Dorie, Sr. and June survive in a legitimate underground bunker. Given the circumstances, how would a time jump even work?
Daniel, Charlie, Althea, Sarah, Wes, the Rabbi, and Luciana would be fairly easy to situate. They are rescued by Althea and Isabel in a CRM helicopter. They could obviously explain away their seven-year absence by attributing it to the CRM, which would make for an interesting storyline. It might also explain why they have been absent for so much of the season if, perhaps, they were in Virginia shooting episodes for the second (and final) season of The World Beyond, which largely concerns the CRM. Such a situation, however, might be difficult to square with this TikTok video of Colmon Domingo, Alexa Nisenson, and Colby Hollman, presumably in Texas.
They’re all together, and shooting for the seventh season began in April in Texas. Strand is still in Texas, and if Charlie and Wes were with CRM, would this mean they’ve already wrapped up their CRM storyline. (The World Beyond is shot in Virginia).
But putting that aside, we also see in the finale that Sherry and Dwight survive the initial blast by jumping into a regular storm cellar attached to a house, which is obliterated by the bomb. How do they survive under there for the years it would require for a time jump merging the timelines of Fear and The Walking Dead? Likewise, Strand is in a building, which he will presumably have to leave. How does he survive the radiation fallout out in the world? How do Grace, Morgan, and baby Morgan survive since they are apparently immediately exposed to radiation? There is no cure for radiation poisoning. In fact, it’s why Morgan and Grace nearly kill themselves in the finale before the bomb blows up. They want to dodge the lethal and painful effects of the nuclear bomb.
Realistically, how do Morgan, Grace, Dwight, Sherry, and Strand survive a time jump of seven or eight years? A time jump would only make sense if it happened later in the season, and only after the series necessarily killed off three of its most popular characters: Morgan, Strand, and Dwight.
All of which brings us to the most likely and yet most implausible scenario: Showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg will simply ignore the real-world consequences of a nuclear blast. They will dismiss the very radiation Grace warned Morgan about before the bomb detonated. Somehow, Sherry and Dwight will survive in a storm cellar, and while Strand, Morgan, and Grace will continue to live despite clearly being exposed to it. In such a scenario, perhaps they will all quickly find a safe haven underground, reasoning that they were somehow able to find a space before they were exposed to enough radiation to sicken them.
It would not, however, make a lot of sense, but then again, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to start the seventh season where the sixth left off with Alicia simply walking out of the fallout shelter and joining everyone else above ground, as they essentially swim in an amount of radiation similar to what killed the father of Grace’s stillborn baby. How would that even be possible?
In an interview with EW after the finale aired, the showrunners did seemingly address this issue.
We did a lot of research into the reality of it, and spoke to people who are involved in planning for disasters of this nature. It led to a lot of interesting things that we learned. There are actually ways that you could survive in a world like this. It may not be pleasant, and it may not be fun, but it’s not necessarily a death sentence, it’s just a whole new set of challenges on top of the zombie apocalypse.
Interesting, because my research about radiation fallout concluded otherwise: That is basically is a death sentence. It might not be immediate, but as Grace herself says in the finale, there will be a lot of suffering involved. Recall that Grace herself was on death’s door until her stillborn baby absorbed all of the radiation in her body. That’s not going to be a possibility for Morgan, baby Morgan, or Strand. The “new challenges,” therefore, may not be for the characters, but for the writers, who will be left to figure out how to work around deadly radiation poisoning. Then again, Daniel has survived being engulfed in flames and being shot in the face.
We’ll find what happens when the seventh season of Fear the Walking Dead officially kicks off in the fall.