Spoiler and trigger warning for Fear the Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 12, "In Dreams." You're not dreaming: an episode about an expecting mother's complicated pregnancy ends in tragedy on Mother's Day. Since it was revealed that former power plant worker Grace (Karen David) was pregnant in the Season 5 finale, "End of the Line," there have been concerns about how Grace's prolonged radiation exposure might affect her unborn child. When Grace and Morgan (Lennie James) are attacked on the road, an unconscious Grace experiences visions of a possible future when her psyche creates a 16-year-old Athena (Sahana Srinivasan) to help her wake up and give birth to her daughter.
"There's a drive to what's happening for Grace, which is that she needs to wake up so that Athena can be born. It was important to us to construct it that way so that it wasn't just a dream that Grace was a passive participant in," co-showrunner Ian Goldberg explains on Fear the Walking Dead: Episode Insider. "There is this real ticking clock of Grace needing to wake up so that this possible future can happen. I think Grace believes Athena's going to be the hope that people need because Morgan essentially tells her that."
Grace and her baby are in distress when Riley (Nick Stahl) and four other End is the Beginners ambush Morgan for the key around his neck. In her dream, mom and daughter battle "living" walkers as the unconscious Grace fights to wake up so Athena can be born and bring the splintered survivors back together.
"Grace now has seen firsthand what an amazing person Athena is, and she's hopeful and knows that this birth is gonna be the thing that changes everything," Goldberg says. "I think the beautiful thing of the episode is she has to work together with her daughter so that Grace can give birth to the young woman she's fighting alongside in the dream."
It's only after Grace says goodbye to her dream daughter that she wakes up and encourages Morgan to surrender the key, telling Riley: "That key is not the future. She is. This baby, she's gonna create a future where people like you will never win."
But when Morgan delivers Grace's baby, Athena is stillborn. Goldberg confirms Athena's cause of death as the baby absorbing the radiation from her mother.
It's the latest shocker to shake Season 6 following the back-to-back deaths of John Dorie (Garret Dillahunt) and then Ginny (Colby Minifie), both gunned down in the first two episodes of the half-season. Here's what Fear fans are saying about "In Dreams":
You gonna do this on Mother's Day...? #FearTWD— Hana🐉🐼 (@hangirl6) May 10, 2021
"Why Isn't She Crying?"
Lennie James.May 10, 2021
Just a Dream
#FearTWD did this have to air on Mothers Day? So heartbreaking— Anna Allred Haney (@mrsannahaney) May 10, 2021
Only in Dreams, in Beautiful Dreams
Knowing now what Grace's dream sequence entails, makes this reveal all the more heartbreaking. She fought as hard as she could to wake up and deliver the future, while unknowingly spending her last moments with her daughter. This hurts 💔#FearTWD pic.twitter.com/ik61mrM6gH— Elias (@EliasnjTWD) May 10, 2021
That was depressing as heck #FearTWD— Fear the Walking Chris (@chrismiron79) May 10, 2021
My heart aches 😢 did not expect that. #FearTWD— 🌙 (@ABeawitching) May 10, 2021
God damn, that was heart breaking. This season is brutal. #FearTWD— My Tweets Suck: The Return (@FunnyMalaise) May 10, 2021
#FearTWD “What I saw, they weren’t my last moments. They were hers. I thought it was going to be different. It was just a dream.” Oh god. This is truly the most tragic ending of this show. @KarenDavid— Brendon Smith🏳️🌈 (@bigdogXVI) May 10, 2021