Fear the Walking Dead: Looking back at USS Pennsylvania 615

Nick Stahl as Riley- Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 16 - Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMC
Nick Stahl as Riley- Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 16 - Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMC /

AMC aired the Fear the Walking Dead episode “USS Pennsylvania” one year ago, on June 6, 2021. This episode was the penultimate episode of the sixth season that saw a focus on Teddy Maddox (John Glover) and his doomsday cult.

The episode was written by Nick Bernardone & Nazrin Choudhury and directed by Heather Cappiello. Bernardone wrote several Fear TWD episodes and wrote the web series Red Machete. Choudhury has written many Fear TWD episodes and also partnered with Bernardone for season 7’s “The Raft.” During her time as a director in TWDU, Cappiello has directed several Fear TWD episodes and two of the spinoff series TWD World Beyond.

“USS Pennsylvania” shined a light on the fact that Riley (Nick Stahl) served as a weapons officer on the submarine. A story that was elaborated on during the spinoff Dead in the Water. Riley was a new father at the time of the outbreak, but he was stationed on the USS Pennsylvania, so he hadn’t laid eyes on his son. The crew of this sub had no idea what had transpired on land and had lost communication. This is how Teddy knew about the nukes on board, and Riley had the knowledge of how to deploy them.

Fear the Walking Dead episode 615

This episode sees Morgan (Lennie James) and some of the other survivors heading to the sub to stop Teddy, and they encounter the reanimated crew aboard the USS Pennsylvania. At the same time, Luciana (Danay Garcia) and the remaining survivors head to a Naval base to seek out any information about the sub that could aid them.

The reanimated crew is on board the sub makes it challenging to get to Teddy. Strand betrays Morgan and shoves him into a horde of walkers, weaponless, as he flees to the control room. Dakota (Zoe Colletti) has sided with Teddy; she is a confused child and doesn’t know which way to turn. She has bought into Teddy’s philosophy, and when she is ready to shoot Strand, Morgan saves him.

Morgan and Strand are too late to stop Teddy and Riley from launching the nukes, only one is deployed, but ten warheads will land all over Texas and cannot be stopped. Morgan allows Teddy and  Riley to leave, angrily blaming Strand for them not being able to stop them.

This episode leads into the season 6 finale, “The Beginning,” which will see everyone preparing for the nuclear blast and what is to come after.

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