Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 / Episode 8 - "PADRE"- Mid-season finale The Flashback: Teddy leaves Alicia locked in the bunker; no matter how much she screams and pounds on the door, no one returns. She explores several rooms--one set up for anti-contamination, and an empty armory. Its not long before she's confronted by an armed man who escorts her to the meeting room (explored by Strand and Will earlier in the season), where some of Teddy's followers set up another vine covered tree with a walker tied to it. The man tries to push Alicia's face into the walker for obvious reasons, but he's stopped by Arno, who expected Alicia as she has been pegged to lead the community by Teddy. Alicia elbows her guard's face, and disarms him while shoving his face into the walker who bites the man. Holding everyone at gunpoint, Alicia runs off, with Arno simply pointing out that she's not going anywhere. Back at the bunker door, Alicia hacks at it with an axe, but is startled by the appearance of Will, who explains that he--and senator Vasquez's group had lived in the bunker not long after the walker outbreak as a measure to insure continuity of government throughout the ZA. It had been years since the senator's party saw another living being, so he was swept up in a charitable moment when he spotted a group of allegedly starving people were outside of the bunker. Unfortunately, as the survivors were admitted, they immediately murdered the senator and his party--except Will, who was performing maintenance in a duct. Realizing what was happening, he hid in lower levels leading to the building's plumbing systems. The bunker is time-locked, but Will promises to find another way out while Alicia plays along with Arno and the other Teddy-devotees. Arno takes Alicia to a converted office / bedroom--her room. She notices a thick government-stamped book titled P.A.D.R.E. - Rebuilding Our Country's Future, which is dismissed by Arno. Will is caught and is about to be "returned to the earth" (i.e., fed to the tree-mounted walker), when Alicia intervenes, ordering Will to be set free. Through his tears, Will identifies the walker as senator Elias Vasquez, and P.A.D.R.E. as a classified relocation / rebuilding area he sent his family to as they could not make the trip to the bunker. Alicia demands Will find a way out, which he agrees to do--only he will no go with her, despite the face Arno and the others will kill him if he remains. To calm his nerves, she gives him the medallion Strand gave her.. In the underground drainage system, Will believes following the rats will lead them to a way out (since the rats did not enter the bunker from any entrance above ground). Alicia sends senator-walker into one of the drain pipes, believing he can lead them to P.A.D.R.E., but as they move forward, Teddy's missiles find their mark, causing a cave-in separating Will from Alicia., with senator-walker turning to go after her. Despite Alicia's best efforts first use the cave-in debris to block the walker, then bludgeon it, her left forearm is bitten. The horrified woman cannot believe her fate, but decides to amputate her own arm...and screaming through it all (naturally), she hacks it off, then passes out from pain and blood loss. Alicia--after being unconscious for a week--finds herself back in her room--on an IV with her dripping stump wound sutured. She can hardly believe it when Will confirms that the missiles detonated--her friends failing to stop it because Strand stood in the way. Alicia panics--thinking she's going to turn and endanger everyone else there, but Will tries to assure her that her fever broke, so she likely amputated the arm in time (SEE NOTES). Alicia argues that the failure to stop the missiles means she really is responsible for everyone in the bunker (Teddy's plan all along). Present day - Alicia: Alicia's group runs from the nuclear cloud, eventually regrouping in a relatively safe area of the woods; Morgan explains the Strand situation (holding Grace & babyt Mo hostage / becoming more of a sworn enemy to Morgan than ever before, etc.), and despite Morgan relating Strand's offer for Alicia and her people, she does not want to see him at all. Above all else, Alicia is concerned with protecting a walker (called "the senator") in a business suit; Morgan is perplexed by all of the attention Alicia's group is giving this walker, and asks--time and again--what's going on--and what does she need from him, but Alicia is not particularly forthcoming with details, despite noticing Morgan's growing frustration. Dwight spots Strand's rangers approaching on horseback, so he (and Sherry) plan to lead them on a wild goose chase while Morgan takes the rest to the sub. Alicia sort of nervously claims the senator-walker will lead them to a place where everyone can rebuilt, adding Morgan would not understand...but he still trusts her. Morgan notices Alicia is sweating (among other things),which she brushes off as being dressed in walker-guts camouflage in 100 degree weather. The duo take cover as Strand's rangers fire on them, being quite open about wanting to kill Morgan...because he tried to kill Strand. Alicia risks her own life to prevent senator-walker from being put down, and with Morgan's help, they guide the creature on, but find themselves trapped on a cliff overlooking a lake; one of the rangers reveals himself to be Strand, but Alicia wants nothing to do with him, so she--and the senator dive into the lake, with Morgan not far behind (narrowly avoiding Strand's shot). Later, Morgan says he needs Alicia, as he was--as he put it--"wish a world into existence" that was not going to happen, thus he needs another way--but he cannot see that in her dragging a walker around. Alicia believes the senator-walker retains some sense of being a living person, and that he might lead them to P.A.D.R.E., but Morgan counters with the painful recollection of once believing the same thing (about his wife) and Duane ended up being killed by her. The two are found by Strand and his rangers, and after some hostile back and forth, Strand admits he could not build his world alone and needs Alicia--the only person he trusts. Alicia's refusal triggers Strand, who orders his men to kill Morgan by letting the walker bite him; Alicia steps in to prevent the would-be revenge-killing, but in the struggle, her left forearm is bitten. She's not worried about that at all, instead, yelling at Strand to leave. That night, Alicia removes the covering from her left arm, showing Morgan the stump....and a prosthetic weapon (metal blades acting as "fingers") framing the skeleton of her amputated forearm. No longer debating with Alicia, Morgan accompanies her as she follows senator-walker, who was attracted by a lighthouse spotlight....the one mounted on the Tower. Sitting outside of the Tower, Alicia cries, laying it all out to Morgan that she believes she's going to die from the walker virus; her constant fever--even after antibiotics--convinced her that the amputation did not happen fast enough to save her. The heartbroken Morgan still offers to take her to the sub--but she refuses to go (initially), fearing she will turn and kill her companions. Strand and his rangers ride up, with Strand trying to convince Alicia that senator-walker brought her to the Tower--where she belongs. Alicia gets Strand to promise her people can stay at the Tower--even if she's not there. Knowing the implications of that last part of her statement, Strand believes June can help her. Exchanging glances with Morgan and Strand, Alicia is ready to accept Strand's invitation...until she sees walker-Will crawling nearby. Believing it is Will, his identity is confirmed when she sees her medallion hanging from his neck. Alicia demands to know why Strand murdered him; Strand replies he did it to keep her away while he built the Tower (meaning, Will wanted to find her), and because Will loved her, so he wanted to hurt Alicia. Alicia decides to go to the sub after all, then accuses Strand of taking so much from her life, but now she is going to take something from him--the one thing he cares about the most...the Tower. Although Strand calmly says he does not want to fight Alicia, she declares war on Strand and the Tower.... NOTES: So that's it: unless Alicia amputating her forearm was just on the "border" of stopping her from dying from the walker virus, this season will mean the end of the Clark family's presence on FTWD, and it effectively becomes a different series. Alicia is now a more sympathetic figure than at any time in the series' run; it was disturbing to see her cling so desperately to the walker-senator as a guide to Padre, only for the walker to head in the direction of the Tower. At that moment, between the defeated expression on Morgan's face (on Alicia's behalf) to Alicia's hope sinking quickly, she seemed like her journey was coming to its end on the spot. How the walker virus spreads has never been consistent across every series, particularly where stopping death from the virus was concerned. To this point, Alicia suffered a bite and immediately amputated her arm, with most of her trauma coming from that act, yet she believes she's dying. Last season, June amputated Virginia's hand just as quickly as Alicia's timing, but Virginia made a full recovery (IOW the virus never spread in her system). Hershel Greene suffered from a deep bite to his calf, and did not receive his amputation as quickly as Alicia, yet he lived, so there's two examples serving as successful "treatment" poles with Alicia sitting somewhere closer to Virginia, so, based on what was established in TV-WD-land, she should survive. I'm guessing the only way Strand can prevent engaging in a fight with Alicia will come from pulling Morgan's strings--specifically threatening to kill Grace and/or baby Mo if he does not stop or possibly kill Alicia. Perhaps he works on Sarah in the same way (by threatening to toss her brother from the Tower's roof). With the exception of Dorie in S6, the series has managed to avoid housecleaning major characters, but the war plot cannot have the principals coming away injury free--or all alive. The Covid-influenced scripting / episode arrangement allowed this season to let individuals take their characters to wonderful places the standard "group" episodes did not handle well--at least in earlier seasons. GRADE: A++.