Spoilers for Fear the Walking Dead's midseason 3 finale follow! The two-hour episode aired Sunday night on AMC.
During Fear the Walking Dead's midseason 3 finale on Sunday night, the AMC series did something the Dead universe had never come close to touching before. The series not only confirmed the entire world fell to zombie virus but did so by having a man in space reveal his perspective of the world falling.
As Victor Strand appeared to be having some suicidal moments upon discovering the Abigail yachet, popping champagne and having a final celebration with it, he woke up to a gnarly hangover beside the boat's radio which was apparently the only part of the ship which still worked. To his and the audience's surprise, a signal came through and a man was on the other end of the radio waves, ready to quote literature.
The man was a cosmonaut, which is Russia's version of an astronaut, and revealed his name to be Vaschenko. Strand questioned the man, wondering if what he had seen in North America happened to the rest of the world, prompting the cosmonaut to laugh. He claimed Americans always assume big events only happen to them but this virus had affected the entire world and he had to watch the world fall from outside of its atmosphere.
Both characters appeared doomed, as Strand was down on his fate and ready to bow out after being abandoned by Daniel Salazar, and the man in space was likely orbiting with no destination. The world, however, won't ever be seeing or hearing from Cosmonaut Vaschenko again.
Showrunner Dave Erickson was particularly excited for introduction of the cosmonaut in Fear the Walking Dead, with the voice coming from David Agranov, whose best known work includes Just Married, X-Men: First Class, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
"I honestly can't remember who pitched the cosmonaut," Erickson told ComicBook.com. "I'm gonna say it was either Jami O'Brien, who wrote the episode and did a wonderful job... It might have been Mark Richard. It was a couple of things that we got from it. I mean, yes, strictly speaking, can you communicate with space? The answer is yes. If it's in the right orbit. And that falls out of orbit very quickly, so we lose contact with them. But it was our version, to a certain extent, of the CDC episodes from The Walking Dead, season one. And it was putting the apocalypse into context."
The episode in reference is TS-19, in which Rick Grimes and his group discover the world has fallen from Dr. Edwin Jenner, with certain European locations having held out the longest. For the Fear the Walking Dead characters, however, this is big news, as many continue to have hope of finding a sanctuary or corner of the world which hasn't been taken down.
"That's the first time we've had a character who has heard from someone who knows that this is not isolated to North America," Erickson said. "It's not isolated. This is global. The planet has gone dark. I think there is a weight to that. Victor could have taken that one of two ways."
As for whether or not we will see or hear from the cosmonaut again, the showrunner firmly rules out the possibility. "No," Erickson ruled. "You will not. Mr. Vaschenko is not to recur. No."
Effect On Strand
The space encounter, of sorts, had a major impact on Victor Strand. The character suddenly found motivation and trotted right off of the Abigail yacht.
"He could've given up, or he could take the second option, which he does, which is to burn the boats, to really say goodbye, finally finish mourning Thomas and move on, because I think the cosmonaut says the world is still turning," Erickson explained. "And so Victor leaves that with a little bit of an attitude. He's kind of been put through the wringer for most of the first half of the season, and he will continue to suffer in the back half."
Strand might not have many friends right now but he does have a valuable perspective. "He's got more of an objectivity now to the world because he better understands it," Erickson said. "There was just something tragic about the idea of someone being in the apocalypse who's circling the planet and essentially going to fall into the Earth's atmosphere and die. So there's a certain tragedy, and then, of course, the way that scene was structured, there's two men who are really talking about simpler things, and love for literature and champagne and vodka, and it's just a certain kismet that they share in those last moments."
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Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET on AMC. The Walking Dead will return for its eighth season in October with a trailer coming in July at San Diego Comic Con. For complete coverage and insider info all season long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.