"She won't have anything to do with me after this," Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) says of the unforgivable kill ending his connection with Alicia Clark (Alycia Debnam-Carey) on Fear the Walking Dead. Spoiler warning for Season 7 Episode 1, "The Beacon." When Strand shoves Will (Gus Halper) from the roof of The Tower thriving in the fallout of the nuclear zombie apocalypse, the death destroys the bond between Victor and Alicia — the closest thing he has to family. But it's a new dawn for the cunning conman turned crowned community leader, who has been pushing Alicia away since Season 6.
"I think Alicia and Strand's relationship has a lot to do with their history together. They've both known each other since the first season of the show. They've both been through a lot and lost a lot of people," co-showrunner Andrew Chambliss told AMC.com. "In many ways, Strand really views Alicia as the closest thing he has to family, and I don't think he likes the fact that he has this soft spot for her. As we see in Episode 1, he views that as a weakness, and he tries to engineer things so Alicia will never come back and get in his way with what he's trying to do in the Tower."
"The Beacon" reveals a history between Alicia and the cast-out Will, who searches for a way back into the underground bunker where madman Teddy Maddox (John Glover) locked Alicia away to lead his "new beginning" brought about by nuclear warheads. But Alicia and Teddy's followers have disappeared from the bunker beneath The Franklin Hotel, apparently headed for somewhere — or someone — called "Padre."
Before killing Will, Strand tells him: "Attachments don't make you strong. They destroy you." He illuminates a beacon atop his Tower to draw walkers in and keep everyone else out. Especially Alicia.
"As Strand learns over the course of the first half of the season, it's not as easy as he thinks," Chambliss teased, "and his connection to Alicia runs deeper than I think he would have imagined."
On the latest episode of Fear TWD Episode Insider, co-showrunner Ian Goldberg explained it was a moment where Strand risks his life in walker-filled fog that he decides to do away with Will and surround himself with an army of the undead.
"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," Goldberg said. "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."
Strand has "become what he always wanted to be," but is left atop The Tower "wondering just what it cost him," added 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."
Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD and stay tuned to ComicBook for coverage all season long. New episodes of Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 premiere Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.