Fear the Walking Dead is back and has delivered perhaps one of its most intriguing episodes yet with Season 6 Episode 11. I say this almost reluctantly, because what I wanted more than anything was to stay very angry at this show. They killed off John Dorie, my favorite character, after killing off Nick, who was also my favorite character. But despite Dorie’s departure, the show is still creating compelling episodes. So despite that undercurrent of anger I’ll likely always feel, I have to acknowledge that this lastest episode was really, really good.
This is a review and recap of Fear the Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 11, “The Holding,” viewed early on AMC+. There will be spoilers in this article.
If you want to view the episodes early too, you can subscribe to AMC+ on Amazon here, starting with a 7-day free trial. (This is an affiliate link.)
There’s Always Something Dark Hiding Beneath Every Idyllic Group
The episode begins with a look into the cult-with-a-long-name (The End is the Beginning.) It shows an almost idyllic underground society with plentiful gardens, food, and resources. But a creepy voice is speaking over a radio (whom we later learn is Teddy), giving them instructions on the true meaning of their existence.
Some viewers have pointed out that this reminds them a lot of Far Cry, which is an interesting comparison.
The introduction ends with Wes, Alicia, Al, and Luciana being introduced to the cult. We know they’re in the group to spy and bring word back to Morgan about what’s really happening. And as is the case with almost every outwardly idyllic group in The Walking Dead universe, this one will have a dark underbelly to expose.
There were quite a few twists in this episode that I hadn’t expected. I never could quite guess what their dark plans were going to end up being. I had no idea who Teddy was going to be, and kept thinking it would be a character we’d seen before. I’ll admit, I’ve seen so many theories about Madison that I even wanted to believe Teddy was just a cover name for Madison. 😅
In fact, when I first saw the drawings, I was positive this pointed to Wes being the mole. But the truth was just a little stranger than that. Despite all my suspicions, I didn’t predict that Wes’s brother would be alive and so intimately involved in the group, or that he would be the source of the idea for those drawings the group was leaving behind. It explains why Wes’s drawings were so similar, since he was trying to continue his brother’s legacy. Both the cult’s drawings and Wes’s drawings had evolved from the same source.
What Were They Supposed to See in the Flower Zombie?
Throughout the episode, we’re told there’s something in that “garden zombie” figure that they’re supposed to “see” and once they do, they’ll be ready to know the true purpose of this cult. The closest we get to a revelation on that is when Wes is talking to his brother, Derek, and comments about how he’s alive on the outside but dead on the inside. Derek excitedly tells Wes that this is what he finally saw too, but Wes corrects him and shares that this is what DEREK is, not Wes.
My best guess is that this concept is what they’re supposed to see in the flowery zombie, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me why it would be so groundbreaking. At this point, everyone knows that they’re already infected and will all turn into walkers in the end. The idea that they are already “undead walking” isn’t a foreign concept. But maybe the point is that they’re supposed to believe none of them are “good” or any better than the walkers, and they need to be torn down completely (to “die”) before they can become something new.
This is also why those who weren’t deemed “worthy” would be embalmed into zombies that couldn’t break down and rejoin the circle of life. It certainly opened the door to a very creepy scene where they threatened to embalm our protagonists, and I found myself wondering if one of them might actually die. Dorie’s death has left me a little “gun shy” (pun intended) about the plot armor around our other characters.
The Cult’s Ultimate Plan Was a Bit Confusing
We eventually learn that this cult has a dark plan to destroy everything on the surface and then lock themselves in their underground bunker for a long period of time. They believe the world can only be renewed if it is destroyed. But to me, this plan has some holes in it. First, there’s no pragmatic way that they’re going to destroy everything on Earth. At best, they’ll get their immediate Texas vicinity. Which still leaves a lot of tainted people who can come in and contaminate their new world years down the line, right? Are they hoping everyone will have just died out or forgotten about them by then?
It seems they might have larger plans than just Texas, though, since they’re also staking out the Commonwealth and wanting to destroy them. My best guess is that they’re going to use that nuclear sub we saw in Season 6 Episode 1. But even those nukes would only be enough to contaminate a small part of the world, right? I mean, do they have access to nuclear arsenals in other places? This plan still doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
Despite these gaps in the plot, this was still a powerful (and disturbing) episode. Wes had to face his own family member, who was brainwashed beyond saving. Alicia walked in her mom’s footsteps, willing to give up her own life in a fire for her friends, just like Madison did for her and Nick. The cult’s plans are still partially cloaked in mystery, but they’re definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with.
And we’re left with some interesting threads as the episode concludes. Ali needs to find Isabelle and warn her about the danger to the Commonwealth. Alicia has been captured by Teddy and they’re about to try some intense brainwashing on her. (And how great was John Glover in that role, by the way? In case you don’t recall, he was Lex Luthor’s dad on Smallville, which is where I remember him. Of course, he was in a lot of other shows too!)
Morgan is being hunted by this group, likely because of the key to the nuclear submarine that he still has. I think he’ll be able to take them on, but it won’t be easy.
And with all of this going on, we still have Daniel and Strand’s story as they head back to Lawton, Dakota trying to be accepted again (can she just GO AWAY), and June off somewhere on her own as a Carol-type of survivor. There’s a lot happening in the Fear the Walking Dead universe, and I’m truly looking forward to seeing what’s next.