Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 1 Review: The Beacon

Television

Victor Strand, what are we going to do with you?

Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 1 was all about the character who has played in the gray area since the show debuted in 2015.

If you watch Fear the Walking Dead online, you know he’s always had the makings of a villain, and “The Beacon” elevated him to full-fledged villain territory.

Thanks to the second apocalypse, there is a new world order, and Strand wants to be a ruthless leader with a thriving community.

His motives are legit. When you think about it, love and connection are weaknesses when you need to make these big decisions, but if anyone can get through to him, it’s Alicia.

Alicia looked up to him after the Clark family’s erasure, and he knows fine well she’s his weakness, so he had to kill Will for her not to stop him on this path to madness.

Strand is smart, and Colman Domingo played every single beat of this iteration of the character to perfection. Give this man awards for this show because, damn.

Would Strand kill Alicia if he was in the same room as her? That’s the question on my mind and something that will be there until these two inevitably cross paths again.

Wouldn’t now be the right time to, you know, reintroduce Kim Dickens as Madison? Yes, the show supposedly killed her off, but the countless teases from the creatives has got to lead somewhere, right?

The show lost a lot of fans amid a creative overhaul on Fear the Walking Dead Season 4, so bringing Madison back into the mix would probably get back a lot of the fans who bailed.

Then again, Dickens was hardly treated the best by the creative team. You don’t have that much character development and squander it without a second thought.

Will was one of my favorite characters in some time, and from a storytelling standpoint, following his induction into Strand’s house of horrors worked very well.

If we’re to believe Will, there was a strong connection between him and Alicia, but for some reason, he was ousted from this community, and the cryptic “Padre” note only makes me theorize more.

I was shocked we took a trip to the hotel so soon, but it was a shame Alicia was already gone with her group of people. Let’s hope they don’t turn Alicia into another Morgan who believes even the most wicked killers deserve a second chance.

It was different to have a Strand-centric outing opening the season, but it showed that he would be this big overarching villain throughout Fear the Walking Dead Season 7.

The promotional material ahead of the premiere has broadly put him against Morgan, which I’m sure will lead to some exciting developments.

There’s something more personal and exciting about having a character you’ve followed for so many years become the central villain on the show.

When you consider Strand’s arc, this is a very good direction. He’s always straddled that fine line between good and evil and loves to throw people to the wolves, so to speak.

Hurling Will off the building was cold as ice, but Will was stupid enough to trust Strand after he tried to kill him twice. The betrayal was well-played by Strand, but if WIll had been coached so much by Alicia, why didn’t he pick up on it beforehand?

Using the beacon as a light to keep walkers down below and humans away is nice and all, but we just witnessed cities be decimated on The Walking Dead World Beyond by hordes, so hopefully, the same logic applies here.

Alicia being missing is intriguing because the hotel was said to be well-stocked and safe from the perils of the nuclear wasteland outside, so something big must have happened to take her away from it.

Is it possible she got a distress call from someone she loved? Many people she knew and loved were strewn across the area, possibly making her want to find them.

But the people from the bunker being walkers was mildly concerning. The show hasn’t known what to do with Alicia for a while now, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we were given a half-baked death plot to continue the Clark family erasure.

Throwing a second apocalypse into the mix in the nuclear aftermath can elevate the spinoff above the main series, but it will all come down to its execution.

Fear the Walking Dead Season 6 was a massive return to form for the series, and if this first episode is any indication, we’re in for a stellar season ahead.

The anthology approach to storytelling is set to continue, and it allowed “The Beacon” to be an exposition-heavy but nuanced episode of the series.

I guess we’ll be picking up with the other characters in the episodes to come, and I doubt many of them will be surviving the season.

What did you think of Will?

Are you surprised he died so soon?

How about Strand? Do you think he is suitable to be a villain?

Hit the comments below.

Catch Fear the Walking Dead Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC, and one week earlier on AMC+.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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