[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Fear the Walking Dead Season 7, Episode 14, “Divine Providence.”]
At last, the long-awaited Tower War is here… but it wasn’t as deadly as you might’ve imagined.
Rather than committing to a full-scale battle, most of the episode is dedicated to exploring Alicia Clark (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Victor Strand’s (Colman Domingo) fractured relationship — you know, with explosions and stuff going on in the background. Strand still very much cares about her, at one point referring to her as the “closest thing [he has] to a daughter” and outright telling her that he loves her. Alicia, on the other hand, is willing to negotiate for peace but not forgive Strand’s many lethal transgressions. In the end, they’re too far apart ideologically to be the friends they once were; Alicia now believes in protecting life at any cost while Strand’s more pragmatic approach saves his family even if the cost is the lives of others.
As the episode opens, Strand invites her into the Tower ahead of the battle, seemingly to, Alicia puts it, “wave the white flag.” (Daniel Salazar [Rubén Blades] is also there, having “pushed through the barrier” so that he can find his daughter Ofelia [Mercedes Mason], who he believes is still alive.) The plan, as Strand helpfully explains to Alicia, is to turn on the beacon to draw all the radioactive walkers that were once in the crater — they’ll take care of Alicia’s army, and she’ll be trapped in the tower with him. Of course, that’s not quite how it goes down. While they’re both stuck in an elevator, Alicia faints and Strand discovers she’s ill. This softens his heart to the point where he’s willing to turn off the beacon and save her friends as long as she stays with him for what she believes will be her final days. She agrees, but Wes (Colby Hollman), Strand’s new right-hand man, doesn’t. Rather than turning off the beacon as Strand asks, he and the rest of the rangers mutiny.
Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC
The team, at that point, is Strand and Alicia vs. all of Strand’s people. Daniel eventually joins the fight, too, after breaking out of the tower’s basement and showing his badass side is still alive and well. They take a detour to show him that Ofelia really isn’t there, but Charlie (Alexa Nisenson) is, which gives Daniel a chance to be there for her in a way he wasn’t able to for Ofelia. His mind clears and he remembers his biological daughter is dead. While they’re in the infirmary, Strand gives Alicia epinephrine to dull her symptoms to the point where she can keep fighting.
Daniel chooses to stay with Charlie rather than fight to get to the roof, leaving Strand and Alicia to carry out the mission. (He eventually shows up to take out a few rangers, and Wes non-fatally shoots him.) It all leads to a confrontation with Wes, during which he points a gun at Alicia with the clear intent of killing her. Before he can pull the trigger, Strand uses the fancy sword he’s been carrying all season to stab him in the heart, killing him. Alicia’s sickened. “Why would you do that?” she asks. “The same reason I built the tower the way I did,” Strand answers. “So you wouldn’t have to.”
Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC
While an injured Daniel leaves to gather Alicia’s army inside the Tower before the radioactive walkers arrive, Alicia and Strand go up to the roof. They take out some of the rangers that are still shooting at her friends, but while the walkers descend, Strand, with his hand on the lever to snuff out the beacon, hesitates. “You’re never going to forgive me, are you?” he asks. “Even if I help you save everyone, the damage is already done.” She tries to lunge for the lever and they fight — she’s enraged about Wes, which makes dubious logical sense — and as they fight, they spill gasoline all over the roof.
Eventually they stop, and Alicia uses Strand’s rooftop radio broadcasting system to get a message out to the surrounding area. She tells survivors her name, that PADRE is the Tower, and she gives them the exact coordinates. That seems like a great way for her mom Madison (Kim Dickens) to swoop in and save her daughter from the radioactive walkers. Except… remember that spilled gasoline? As Alicia faints, the whole roof goes up in flames and Strand declares it’ll “spread through the whole building.” So much for the tower as a safe haven…
Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC
- This was a decent episode, but I don’t understand Alicia’s anger over Wes. For one thing, she and Wes weren’t close. If they’d ever actually had the romantic relationship that seemed like it was teased in earlier seasons, I might see why she was hurt — but as it is, the guy was obviously going to kill her. Strand saved her life. There is such a thing as someone being “too far gone,” and at the point Strand used that sword, Wes was. Alicia should be able to see that.
- Daniel and Charlie’s scene was good, though. And Blades is always excellent. Even better was Daniel’s “it’s never too late to learn something new” before he killed that ranger in the tower basement. Season 3 Daniel returned this episode, and it was awesome.
- Speaking of Daniel, where is Skidmark? The showrunners confirmed the cat was alive back at the end of Season 6, but we haven’t seen the cute little tabby since. Is he showing back up with Madison?
- Any theories about Alicia’s mystery illness? I’m guessing it’ll be resolved before the season ends. Whether or not it’s fatal and Madison shows up just in time for Alicia’s final moments might depend on whether Debnam-Carey wanted to stay with the show.
- The next episode is titled “Amina.” In Season 4, that was the name of the tape that Althea (Maggie Grace) made from footage of Madison. “Amina” is also Fear’s 100th episode. Might we welcome back Madison in Episode 15?
- Rating: 2.5/5. Flip-flopping character motivations and some awkward decision-making bogged down “Divine Providence.” It’s too bad the long-hyped tower war wasn’t so much of a war after all. That said, the scenes with Daniel, and certain scenes with Alicia and Strand, were good.
Fear the Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC