Fear the Walking Dead comes to a perplexing midseason 6 finale. Episode seven, "Damage from the Inside", has Dakota (Zoe Margaret Colletti) missing after an attack on a ranger convoy. Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) recruits a peeved Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Charlie (Alexa Nisenson) to find her. He needs to get her back before Ginny (Colby Minifie) realizes she's gone. Alicia tracks Dakota to a mysterious hunting lodge, whose resident has his own plan for the girl.
"Damage from the Inside" begins with a ranger convoy escorting Dakota to a safe house. Rangers on horseback clear walkers in the road. Victor and Dakota drive behind in an SUV. Dakota tells Victor all the security is to ensure she doesn't run away. Also, Ginny doesn't "fully trust" Victor. Dakota wants to know when he's planning the insurrection. Tank Town is gone, multiple rangers are dead, and "Dorie's been missing for a week." She feels now is the time to strike. Victor disagrees.
The rangers ahead stop. A horse comes back with a man missing. Victor and Ranger Samuels (Bobbie Grace) ride ahead to scout the road. They find a tree has been cut down to block them. Suddenly, all of the ranger horses run by them. They race back to find the car missing and every ranger dead. Victor and Samuels kill the turned rangers.
Alicia and Charlie are stationed at a remote lookout. Victor radios Alicia, but she refuses to pick up. She has a detailed map of the area. Victor begs her to answer the radio. Charlie comments they've been there for six weeks. They've heard nothing from him. Alicia finally relents. He wants to talk in person.
They ride on horses to meet Victor and Samuels. Victor found the car, but Dakota is missing. He updates Alicia that the convoy was attacked. He also tells her about Tank Town. Victor believes Dakota drove to escape, but crashed the car. They have "half a day to find her before heads roll." Victor believes that Dakota "looks up to Alicia." She begrudgingly accepts the mission.
Charlie is stunned Alicia would help Victor. She explains they cannot escape from Ginny's rangers. Maybe they can get help from whoever attacked the convoy. They find shoe prints in the mud. They kill two walkers, but are then attacked by a hideously altered walker. Someone attached frightening skin grafts and gouged its eyeballs. They come to an old hunting lodge deep in the woods. Alicia tells Charlie to stay put while she investigates.
Alicia breaks into the main house at "Buck's Landing". The entrances are boarded up. She walks by a radio and receiver. The house is filled with creepy stuffed animals. Jazz music is playing from somewhere. She goes upstairs as "You Belong to Me" wafts up. She looks down to see a man putting horns on a restrained walker. He walks away, then shows up behind her. The bearded man stabs her in the neck with a syringe.
Alicia wakes up restrained on the taxidermy table. She uses deer antlers to cut her taped wrists. She grabs the antlers as a weapon. Someone is opening a door to the room. She grabs the person and is shocked to find Dakota. They need to get out of here. Ed (Raphael Sbarge) walks into the room, "What's your rush?"
Alicia is furious, "You tranquilized me!" Dakota defends Ed. He thought Alicia attacked the convoy. Dakota saw nothing but a herd of walkers during the attack. Ed found her in the woods after she crashed the car. He asks if Alicia's also from Ginny's communities. Ed augments the walkers for security.
Ed and Dakota play chess while more jazz music plays. He had a daughter, Emily. Dakota reminds him of her. He and his family fled to his father's lodge. His wife and child did not survive. Alicia looks around warily. Dakota tells Ed that Virginia killed her parents. Ed thinks the lodge is the safest place for them. Alicia asks Ed to start the fire. He sends her to get blankets.
Alicia searches the house and finds Charlie. She secretly followed Alicia, and then hid from Ed. The entire house is boarded up. The windows are nailed shut. Alicia goes back to the taxidermy room for a weapon, but is caught by Ed and Dakota. Alicia informs her that they're trapped inside. Ed claims he wants to keep them safe. Alicia tells him Dakota is Virginia's sister. She will come looking for her.
Ed relents, they can leave at dawn. Dakota is furious at Alicia. This is her only chance to escape. Ginny did really kill their parents. Alicia promises her "they will find someplace to go." Later that night, Alicia contacts Ginny on the radio. Ginny is having her stump wrapped by Hill (Craig Nigh). Alicia updates her on the situation. Alicia will return Dakota, but only if she and Charlie can go free. Alicia knows a place they can go to be safe. Ginny agrees to Alicia's terms.
Lights turn on in the woods. Music starts blaring from speakers. Alicia and Dakota wake up on the couch. Ed has a remote control. He's "bringing back all of his creations." The augmented walkers surround the house. Ed explains how he at first hated taxidermy, but came to embrace it. He wanted to "hold on to things." Ed explains that his wife and Emily were killed by rangers when he was on a supply run. He can keep them safe. Ed takes out a gun.
He locks Alicia and Dakota upstairs in a bedroom. They are rescued by Charlie. She tranquilized Ed and stole his keys. They turn off the music. The walkers begin to dissipate. Ed surprises them by the front door. Charlie didn't inject him in the vein. He orders them to drop their weapons. Ed tells Dakota that Alicia used his radio to call Ginny.
Alicia leaps on Ed. They tussle on the ground until she kicks him off her. He's impaled by antlers. Dakota tries to reassure him. The noise turns the walkers back to the house. Ed starts to bleed out. The walkers crowd at the door. Ed tells them to escape upstairs. He will hold them off. Ed grabs Alicia. He begs her not to follow her plan, "It will only make things worse." Ed admits that his family died because of him. They were killed by his creations.
Alicia races upstairs. Ed embraces his twisted monsters. They tear him apart. Meanwhile, Charlie breaks down boards at a window. The walkers then mysteriously turn around. Alicia goes down to fight them. Suddenly Morgan appears with his axe. He and Alicia make quick work of the freaky walkers.
Alicia embraces Morgan, "How are you here?" He heard the music from the speakers. Charlie is also amazed. He explains how someone saved him. They bury Ed the next morning. Dakota notices he's wearing Ginny's bounty hunter's clothes. Morgan killed him. He has a safe place for them all to go. Al and Dwight are already there.
Alicia and Charlie have an honest talk. Alicia admits to calling Ginny about Dakota. She wanted to return to the baseball stadium. It's not that far away. She was "holding on to something gone." Charlie doesn't want her to betray Dakota.
Alicia asks Morgan if he's bringing Dakota with them. Morgan wants to trade the girl for their people, "use her as leverage." He was tracking her all along. He attacked the convoy. Morgan needs to get their people back and find Grace (Karen David). However, he did not destroy Tank Town. Alicia disagrees with his plan.
Charlie and Dakota walk into the room. Alicia tells Charlie they're leaving. Morgan steps in front of them, but he backs down. He will do whatever it takes to get "us all there...including Dakota." Victor arrives at the lodge. He radios Samuels for back up. He's confronted by Alicia and the girls. Morgan emerges, "They're coming with me."
Morgan asks Victor to come with them. He refuses. Victor moves toward Dakota, but is blocked by Morgan and Alicia. Everyone draws their weapons. "Do you really want to do this?" Victor asks. He relents, but "they're putting everyone in danger." Alicia leads Morgan, Charlie, and Dakota away from the lodge.
Back in Lawton, Victor and Samuels meet Ginny. He tells her that Morgan has Dakota and the others. Ginny approaches Victor, "Which side are you on?" He calmly replies, "Yours." An enraged Ginny takes Victor to a wooden shed. She pulls away a part of the wall to reveal a hidden doorway. Inside is a heavily pregnant Grace. Victor is astonished to see her. Ginny orders him to collect "every single person they took from that damn gulch."
"Damage from the Inside" was a lazy midseason finale with too many coincidences. The idea that a hunting lodge with freaky walkers, blaring speakers and lights, appears out of nowhere to unite the primary characters is ludicrous. Ed's character was a cheap, utterly random plot device. He's dumb enough to not catch Charlie sneaking around, but able to capture Alicia. Then somehow allows Alicia to use his radio?
Isn't it convenient that Morgan shows up in the nick of time, followed inexplicably by Victor. Who is now rounding up their friends for Ginny, a villain that could have easily been killed in the previous episode. Could Alicia's stadium reference mean that Madison is not dead? We didn't see her actually die. Could she be the stranger that saved Morgan? At this point, anything is possible. Fear the Walking Dead concludes its sixth season next year on AMC.