The Walking Dead Theory: Chicago

Nick Stahl as Riley- Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 12 - Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMC
Nick Stahl as Riley- Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 12 - Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMC /

In the newest Fear The Walking Dead webisode, Dead in the Water, the U.S. government specifically called for Chicago to be nuked. I think I know why.

Last night, I was writing another of my Walking Dead theories about the nuclear destruction of Chicago ordered in the newest Fear The Walking Dead webisode series, Dead In The Water (great name, by the way).

That theory is more about the fact the government ordered a nuclear attack on Chicago. But, as I was writing it, another thought came into my head, which became not “Why was a nuclear attack ordered on Chicago?” but rather, “Why was a nuclear attack ordered on Chicago?”

I think part of that question is easy to answer: The government must have ordered people in the midwest to evacuate to Chicago, much as people in the southeast were sent to Atlanta, and, owing to the far larger population of just Chicago alone, never mind the surrounding areas, the situation broke down even worse, and the government thought a nuke was the only solution.

Fear the Walking Dead
Nick Stahl as Riley- Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 11 – Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMC /

However, I was still stumped by the fact that nukes were ordered at all, as this is not what we’ve seen of the destruction of cities thus far in The Walking Dead universe. To the best of our knowledge, were never used, despite most of the cities being firebombed (and, therefore, ordered destroyed). It made me wonder whether or not every nuclear-armed vessel in the U.S. Navy was given similar orders and, if so, why it seems none of them followed those orders.

I found myself questioning the timetable of events. When was this method of destruction ordered as opposed to another? Why might the other vessels have refused the order? Did they all have the same level of devotion to their country? Were they worried it might set off a full-blown nuclear holocaust? You mean to say there wasn’t at least one sailor who believed the orders were the “right thing to do”?

I don’t know. There is one possible answer that I did come upon, though: Only Chicago was ordered to be nuked. If so, once Riley refused the order, the rest of the nation (and possibly, the entire world) was spared nuclear annihilation.

But that brought be back around again. If only Chicago was ordered to be nuked: Why? Surely Los Angeles would have had a bigger walker population, yet, it was, hypothetically, not ordered nuked.

But then, it hit me.

The Walking Dead Theory

Chicago was ordered nuked to protect P.A.D.R.E..

Fear the Walking Dead
Alycia Debnam-Carey as Alicia Clark, Jared Gibson as Senator Walker – Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 8 – Photo Credit: Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC /

If Senator Vasquez is anything to go off of, the government intended to send as many members of Congress and other high-ranking government officials to the bunker beneath the Franklin Hotel and then, onto P.A.D.R.E., their would-be Noah’s Ark for the country in the event of a massive disaster.

Presumably, P.A.D.R.E.’s location is somewhere in the western half of the U.S. (If not Texas, specifically); otherwise, moving anyone to the Franklin would have been a waste of precious time and resources as they made the arduous trek back east.

This is important to our discussion about Chicago because, back in the first season of The Walking Dead World Beyond, we learned that the government had ordered the destruction of every bridge crossing the Mississippi River, which splits the country in half.

Gus Halper as Will, Alycia Debnam-Carey as Alicia Clark – Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 8 – Photo Credit: Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC
Gus Halper as Will, Alycia Debnam-Carey as Alicia Clark – Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 8 – Photo Credit: Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC /

This is where everything ties together. After checking the comparative populations between Chicago, Atlanta, the states they’re part of, and at least one state bordering those states, I learned the numbers don’t even compare: Chicago’s population alone dwarfs that of Atlanta; all the additions only compound that further. We’re talking potential walker numbers in the tens of millions, with no natural barriers (save the Mississippi) between them and Texas. If the government was going to nuke a place to get rid of all of its walkers, Chicago, by the numbers, would be that place.

I think that the government did order people to gather in Chicago and that it did get out of hand. Once that happened, the government ordered the city obliterated, but as the Pennsylvania and/or other nuclear-armed ships refused to obey, they did the only thing they could: Destroy the bridges that would have allowed the millions of walkers in the city to cross into the west, and then, destroy the major cities of the west coast. This way, wherever P.A.D.R.E. is, it could be protected from the hordes of walkers in the metropolises of the west coast and allowed to try to rebuild in relative safety as any would-be invaders from the east got swept away in the Mississippi.

The only questions I have left is: If the nuclear option was the government’s first plan, how long ago did they set it in motion? How long into the outbreak did they decide to save themselves and nuke Chicago, or possibly, every major city in the U.S.?

Next. The Walking Dead Theory: The Nuclear Option. dark

But, what do you think? Do you think the government was trying to protect P.A.D.R.E. (and, by extension, themselves) by ordering the nuking of Chicago? Do you think Chicago was the only place they planned to do that to? Let me know! I’m curious! And, if you enjoyed this and want to learn how to stay alive in a zombie apocalypse, why not pick up a copy of my book, The Rules: A Guide To Surviving The Zombie Apocalypse!  You can also get it at Amazon here, on iTunes here!