It might be the end of the road for Rachel (Brigitte Kali Canales) in the opening minutes from Fear the Walking Dead's season finale. Stranded on the side of the road with her baby daughter, Morgan, and Rufus, the bounty-sniffing dog that once belonged to Emile (Demetrius Grosse), Rachel radios for help as the nuclear warhead-carrying missile launched by Teddy (John Glover) rockets into the sky. When Morgan (Lennie James) radios with a message telling everyone to give themselves the ending they want, she looks at her baby girl — born after the death of her father Isaac (Michael Abbott Jr.) in the season premiere — and says, "He's wrong. This isn't the end."
"We did our best. I'm still gonna try and stop what Teddy started, but I'm not at all sure that that's going to be possible," Morgan tells his group of scattered survivors from aboard the USS Pennsylvania. "The missile's going to re-enter the atmosphere and it's got multiple warheads. So this... this might be all the time that we have left. So you should use it. You should make it mean something. You should give yourselves the end that you wanted. Even if it's not the one we all imagined."
Just three miles from the Texas coast, the desperate mom tries to repair a flat tire. But the car jack gives out, crushing Rachel's leg beneath the weight of her truck. Fashioning a makeshift leg splint out of a stick and duct tape, Rachel bundles up baby Morgan and tries to make it the rest of the way on foot.
"I'm sorry," she says crumpled on the ground, the missile breaking off overhead. "I can't do it."
In "The Beginning," that time left is split between vignettes featuring Morgan and Grace (Karen David), Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) and Howard (Omid Abtahi), Dwight (Austin Amelio) and Sherry (Christine Evangelista), June (Jenna Elfman) and John Dorie Sr. (Keith Carradine), and the shelter-seeking group of survivors made up of Daniel (Ruben Blades), Luciana (Danay Garcia), Sarah (Mo Collins), Wes (Colby Hollman), Charlie (Alexa Nisenson), Jacob (Peter Jacobson), and Rollie (Cory Hart).
"Putting the characters in a place where, 'If you knew you only had 20 minutes left to live, what would you do with them?' That was the concept for the episode," showrunner Ian Goldberg said on Fear the Walking Dead: Episode Insider. Added showrunner Andrew Chambliss, "In kind of asking ourselves that question, we realized we could tell these little focused stories that were all for the most part completed in one act. And then we see the very kind of tail end at the end of the episode."
"It's very telling as the episode goes on what these characters choose to do when they believe they're facing an ending," Goldberg teased about "The Beginning," now streaming on AMC+.
Season 6 of Fear the Walking Dead comes to an end Sunday, June 13, at 9/8c on the AMC network. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things The Walking Dead Universe.