Fear the Walking Dead's Victor Strand Shocker: An Unforgivable Kill

"She won't have anything to do with me after this," hisses an unapologetic Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) of Alicia Clark (Alycia Debnam-Carey) after another shocking Strand move to start Season 7 of Fear the Walking DeadSpoiler warning for Season 7 Episode 1, "The Beacon." Season 6 saw Strand's dirty deed of sacrificing Sanjay (Satya Nikhil Polisetti) to save Alicia from walkers and his attempted sacrifice of ally Morgan Jones (Lennie James) aboard a nuclear submarine — Strand's way of proving himself to Alicia by being the hero who stopped Teddy's (John Glover) arsenal of warheads from firing. But the bombs went off, turning Strand and Alicia into sheltered survivors of the nuclear zombie apocalypse.

Strand and Alicia

After Virginia (Colby Minifie) promotes Strand to Ranger in Season 6 Episode 2, "Welcome to the Club," Strand hands Alicia the Saint Christopher medallion that a seemingly amnesiac Daniel Salazar (Rubén Blades) gave him to help "bear heavy burdens." Sanjay's death happened because Strand didn't trust his instincts — a mistake he'll never make again.

Strand reassigns Alicia somewhere far from him, telling her: "You make me remember the person that I am. And to do all the things that I need to do now — for you, for me, for all of us — I have to forget that person. And I can't do it with you by my side."

"I don't want to drag you down with me, Alicia. I need to forget who I am," says Strand. "But you don't. Whatever happens, don't you ever forget." 

When Teddy reveals his plans to bring about the end and the beginning by firing nuclear missiles in Season 6 Episode 14, "Mother," a captured Alicia radios Strand and asks him: "Can I trust you?" Alicia tells Strand to get to Morgan and find a beached submarine near Galveston, Texas, to stop the bombs. Teddy locks Alicia away in a fallout shelter beneath The Franklin Hotel to survive and "rebuild the world" after its destruction. 

Inside the walker-filled nuclear submarine in Season 6 Episode 15, "USS Pennsylvania," Strand tells Morgan he's acting selflessly to save everyone — and he needs Alicia to know it. With time running out to stop the launch, Strand realizes why Alicia asked for Morgan: "She didn't send a message to me. She meant it for you. And now I know why. Because you'll do things that I won't."

Strand kicks Morgan into a pack of walkers and leaves him behind to die, wasting just enough time for Teddy and Riley (Nick Stahl) to fire off ten warheads. But Morgan survives, calling out Strand's selfishness he defends as a way of saving lives: "Don't you say you did this for anybody but yourself. You did it so you could tell Alicia what a big hero you were here today." 

Strand and Will

Months later, in Season 7 Episode 1, "The Beacon," Strand encounters lone survivor Will (Gus Halper) at a high-rise building spared from the fallout of the blasts. The Tower is a thriving community and "laying the foundations of a new civilization," says Strand's right-hand Howard (Omid Abtahi), and it's all thanks to Strand's instincts.

Will gives Strand the Saint Christopher medallion he says he found on the dead. If Will shows Strand where he found the necklace and helps him find its owner, he'll give Will shelter in The Tower. 

When Will slips up and asks Strand why he's out in this unforgiving wasteland looking "for her," it's revealed Will knows Alicia — and she told him Strand is not exactly trustworthy. "She'll never forgive you if you do this," he says when Strand attempts to leave an injured Will behind, but Strand counters an accusation he wants to make things right with Alicia: "I want to show her how wrong she was — about everything. That's how I win." 

Will was testing Strand to see if he was worth saving. He has a history with Alicia and reveals she's selflessly leading Teddy's followers. Or she was: she's missing, headed for someone or somewhere known only as "Padre." 

Strand gave Alicia the medallion "so she could remember who she was. Because I feared I wouldn't be able to do the same for myself," he says. "I guess we both held up our end of the bargain." 

When Will recognizes attacking zombies as people from the bunker, Strand fears for Alicia and risks his life in walker-filled fog outside a lighthouse with a working beacon. "You still care about her," Will tells Strand. "You don't run into the fog like that because you want to prove a point to someone. You do it because you want to save them." 

The Beacon

Finding the bunker at The Franklin Hotel without any signs of life, Strand and Will take the beacon back to The Tower. If Alicia sees it, she'll follow the light and find them. Strand confesses Alicia is "the closest thing I have left to family," telling Will Alicia might still remind him "of the man I once tried to be."

Will tells him Alicia can help him be that person. But Strand went against his instincts and nearly died leaving The Tower, something he can't let happen again. Strand realizes other communities fell for the same reason: Love. Like the love Strand and Will have for Alicia. 

"Attachments don't make you strong, Will," Strand says. "They destroy you." Looking down at walkers attracted by the light, Will realizes the beacon isn't for Alicia. "It's to keep her and everyone else as far away as possible."

Will has faith Alicia will find The Tower and get through to Strand, but she won't: Strand shoves Will off the roof to his death below. "She won't have anything to do with me after this." 

Will's Death Explained

"From Strand's point of view, I think he's wondering what it is that Alicia told [Will] because I think, in many ways, that will signal how Alicia feels about him when he finally does meet her," showrunner Andrew Chambliss said on Fear the Walking Dead Episode Insider. "And when he thinks that Alicia might be in danger when all the walkers show up at the lighthouse, he steps out into the fog to fight the walkers. He risks his own life, and that's ultimately the thing that makes him realize just how much he actually cares about Alicia and just how much her validation means to him." 

Added showrunner Ian Goldberg, "Ultimately, that's why he makes the decision not to bring Alicia to the tower. And in fact, to do something, to take this terrible action of killing Will, that will ensure that Alicia wants nothing to do with him. That's sort of Strand's Darth Vader moment, where he chooses to cut off this connection in his heart for the sake of his power and for the sake of protecting what he's built." 

Will's broken body reanimates and joins Strand's walker horde, part of the dead keeping the living away.

"He's kind of become what he always wanted to be, but he's really left on the roof of that tower wondering just what it cost him," said Chambliss. "It may, in fact, have cost him the person he cares about most and, as we see him standing up there kind of having all the dead walkers come towards the tower, it's kind of a metaphor for who he is — someone who's driven all the living people away from him and is now just kind of surrounded by death and destruction." 

New episodes of Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 premiere Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD and stay tuned to ComicBook for coverage all season long.