Pilot cover

Director: Adam Davidson — Writer(s): Robert Kirkman, Dave Erickson — Aired: August 23, 2015 — Icon-image   next

"Pilot" is the first episode of the first season of Fear the Walking Dead. It aired on August 23, 2015 on AMC.

No one’s going to college. No one’s doing anything they think they are.
Tobias, "Pilot"

"Pilot" is the first episode of the first season of Fear the Walking Dead. It aired on August 23, 2015 on AMC.


A highly dysfunctional blended family is forced together when they realize a reported virus is actually the onset of the undead apocalypse.

In the first episode we see Madison Clark and Travis Manawa struggle to cope with Maddy's son, Nick, and his addiction - which they believe is the real cause of the things he thinks he's seen. Most people don't notice there's a wider problem developing at first; Madison and Travis certainly don't believe Nick to begin with, but we see the first worrying indications that things are going badly wrong. Some characters are brought face to face with this fact. 


First 3 mins-1

Nick looking out from the balcony at the main body of the church.

We see Nick Clark wake up in an Abandoned church, he opens his eyes, reaches out and looks around. He calls out "Gloria", obviously expecting to see her there when he wakes. A small, metallic sound prompts him to get up and we see where he's been sleeping, belongings and rubbish are everywhere. We see that Nick was sleeping on the choir loft at the back of the church. Sunlight is pouring through the stained glass windows and filling the interior with oranges, reds and browns.

First 3 mins-2

Nick, looking for Gloria.

As Nick is looking out at the main part of the church there's a louder noise that startles him and he makes his way down the stairs, past other rooms covered in graffiti. He calls out to Gloria again with no reply and then hears someone calling out, it sounds like it's halfway between a shout and a scream. He pauses by an old piano on the stairs. It looks as if there's blood on it.

First 3 mins-3

The body of the "Bearded Man", the first body of the series.

On the ground floor he walks down a corridor lit by a bulb that flickers on and off. Partway down the corridor Nick is shocked to find a body. It's the body of a young bearded man with an earring in his right ear. The throat has been ripped open and the body is lying on its back in a small alcove on the left of the hall Nick is in.

Nick pulls back at first, scared to look but then makes himself go past the body, looking for Gloria. He picks up something to use as a weapon as he moves into the main body of the church.

First 3 mins-4

Nick, cautiously moving forward and looking for Gloria.

He calls out for Gloria again more quietly now, obviously scared. He edges past an oil drum and sees her, kneeling on the floor. Nick rushes forward and reaches out for her saying "We gotta go!"

First 3 mins -6

Gloria, turning to look at Nick when he speaks

Gloria turns her head at the sound of his voice and Nick sees that her face and mouth are covered in blood, that her eyes are milky white, and that she's been tearing at the face of another dead body, eating it. Gloria looks 'unhappy' to see him.[2]

Screenshot from 2015-08-25 00-10-11

Gloria stands and walks towards Nick, who scrambles backwards to get away from her.

Gloria slowly stands and faces Nick, starting to walk towards him, her eyes are cloudy, and there's a knife stuck between her ribs on the left side of her chest, some blood (not much) around the wound. Nick doesn't take his eyes off her as he works his way backwards and away from her. Then he's up and escaping from the church.

Screenshot from 2015-08-25 00-12-43

Running down the alleyway

Nick goes through a window, down an alley, through the fence into the street and sprints away. He has to stop to catch his breath, panting, and a small motorbike whirs past just behind him, just before he's hit by a car and bounces off the windshield. He rolls off and onto the ground where people rush to help him.

Screenshot from 2015-08-25 00-15-17

On the ground after being hit by the car (see the Trivia section, below).

(Check out the director's initial storyboard drawings to see how the shots were planned up to this point.)

Our first look at the Clark Home on a work day morning and life seems normal. Madison is hurrying her daughter out of the bathroom. Her daughter (Alicia) is taking her time... Madison's boyfriend/partner Travis is fixing the sink.

Travis, sink fixed, stands up and kisses Madison. The phone on the table next to him rings and they both stop and just look at it. Alicia comes out of the bathroom to check. They all look as if they've been expecting, and dreading, a call.

Screenshot from 2015-08-25 10-22-56

Travis takes the call from the hospital and Maddy and Alicia watch.

The call is from the hospital to tell them that Nick is there after a car accident.

Screenshot from 2015-08-25 11-15-08

The police questioning Nick at Temple Hospital.

In the hospital, Nick is being questioned by two uniformed police men about his injuries who are trying to get information about drug dealers. Madison comes in and throws the police out straight-away. Madison wants Nick to go back to rehab, Nick doesn't,
Screenshot from 2015-08-25 11-17-44

That is not a friendly look from Alicia.

Travis wades in, Nick and Alicia attack Travis for getting involved. Travis backs off almost immediately and defuses the situation quite nicely by telling everyone to take a breath. Travis' phone rings and he takes his own advice and he and Alicia leave Madison to talk to Nick. As they leave Alicia asks if he regrets moving in yet?
Screenshot from 2015-08-25 11-19-25

Chris on the phone to Travis, he doesn't look happy either.

Travis' call is from Liza Ortiz, Travis' ex-wife who is ringing from the Ortiz home to ask him if plans for the weekend are still on. The plans were for Christopher Manawa, Liza and Travis' son, to spend the weekend with Travis and the Clarks. Travis asks to speak with Chris - who isn't keen and the call just doesn't go well. After trying to persuade his teenage son to spend the weekend with his father's new family (can't think why that doesn't go well) Travis loses patience and speaks again to Liza saying "Keep him." before hanging up on her with no goodbyes.

Screenshot from 2015-08-25 13-33-42

Tobias, after Madison has rescued him from being expelled.

Madison arrives at work, she's a Guidance Counselor at Paul R. Williams High School. One of the students she knows there is Tobias who she and the Principal, Art Costa, see setting off the metal detector as he enters school. Art stops him from disappearing off into the school and Madison quickly goes through his jacket pockets, right and then left. From the left pocket she pulls some change and holds it up - she's saying that the coins set off the detector but we have seen and heard her put the coins into his jacket pocket, to provide a reason why the detector would have gone off. Madison shepherds the resentful looking Tobias into her office. Once safely in the office Madison asks for the knife that she's already found in his right-hand jacket pocket. She has covered for him. He would have been expelled if Art or the security staff had found it.

Screenshot from 2015-08-25 13-35-39

"The government would tell us!"

Madison probes a little, to find out what's happening that's made him want to carry a knife. When Madison warns he could be expelled and risk his future at college Tobias replies “No one’s going to college. No one’s doing anything they think they are.” Madison asks what he’s talking about and Tobias tells about the news reports of a virus (or something) spreading in five other states, of people killing. Madison tells him to spend less time online; he doesn't get his knife back and leaves the change Madison planted in his pocket on the table as he goes.

Screenshot from 2015-08-25 15-46-11

Alicia finds Matt at school.

On the school sport's field Alicia is looking for Matt Sale, her boyfriend. Matt is helping to paint a mural and moaning about painting by numbers. They tease each other, with Matt reminding her that she should be in Spanish now. But they both know that Alicia's Spanish is good enough to teach the class, so it won't do any harm for her to miss a lesson. She asks him if he wants to "take off", to skip classes, but he says no. So she tells him to have fun and leaves him to his painting by numbers mural.

Screenshot from 2015-08-25 15-54-55

Back in the hospital: Nick wakes from a nightmare to find Travis by his bed. Nick is telling Travis, “I really don’t want to be insane.” He tells Travis what he remembers seeing, including that Gloria "was eating them". Travis is convinced, or concerned, enough to go to the Abandoned Church later that day with a torch. He finds his way in through what looks like the window we saw Nick escape through.

Screenshot from 2015-08-25 16-00-06

The scared junkie that Travis finds at the church.

In the church Travis finds quite a lot of blood and a very scared junkie hiding in a room. The junkie begs Travis not to kill him and runs away. Travis looks through the rest of the church, there are no bodies. He finds blood though, lots of blood.

Screenshot from 2015-08-28 15-13-11

Nick and his mother, asleep on his bed at the hospital.

The next morning, Travis and Alicia walk into the hospital room to discover Madison sleeping next to Nick on his bed. Travis wakes her and, before walking her out to the car, touches Nick on the shoulder and tells him he'll be right back. Alicia sees this and teases Nick about it when her mother and Travis have gone. She's obviously pleased to see him and feeds him some of
Screenshot from 2015-08-28 15-16-44

Alicia and Nick sharing breakfast at the hospital.

his breakfast. Nick tells her he's changing and giving up drugs. Alicia looks as though she's heard that before, more than once.
Screenshot from 2015-08-28 15-18-18

Travis walks Madison and Alicia out to the car at the hospital.

Outside, Travis tells Madison what he found at the church, to be met with “Travis, you cannot enable him.” Madison appreciates Travis caring but thinks he's mistaken putting any faith in the things Nick says. Madison leaves for work and Travis goes back inside the hospital room, he apologizes to Nick. Nick says again that he's going to quit heroin and when Travis asks if he means it he answers: "I always mean it."

Screenshot from 2015-08-28 15-19-31

Alicia and Matt on the roof of the school.

At school Alicia and Matt are sitting together on the roof of the school, she's saying "One year, one more year and I'm gone." They're talking about what they will do when Alicia goes to Berkley while Matt draws a design on her wrist. They arrange to meet after school at the beach.
Screenshot from 2015-08-28 15-20-42

The design that Matt draws on Alicia's forearm.

Madison watches Travis' class for a couple of minutes then goes to see Arty, Arty is listening in on lessons in his office. He's not sorry to be disturbed. He switched to Travis' lesson just in time to hear Travis say "Nature always wins."

Nick is listening to the man in the bed next to him as he breathes. The older man is obviously not doing well. A nurse comes in and Nick convinces her to release one hand so that he can use the bedpan more easily and asks for some privacy. Immediately the nurse leaves the room Nick gets free of his restraints. The man in the next bed stops breathing, goes into arrest and the alarms sound. The nurse rushes back in and call the crash team who decide to move the man "downstairs", presumably to somewhere better equipped to look after him. Nick gets dressed and leaves, stealing the old man's clothes.
Screenshot from 2015-08-28 15-26-51

Nick, sneaking out of the hospital in the clothes he's stolen.

He makes his way out of the hospital, limping slightly and looking unwell, without being challenged by anyone. Later, Madison and Travis arrive at the hospital and are panicked by Nick's absence. The nurse (the same nurse who undid Nick's restraints and let him get away) says,
Screenshot from 2015-08-28 15-29-22
“I’m sorry, he’s gone, you need to call the police.” Madison tells Travis to to take her to the church. She's blaming herself for the mess. “It’s in the genes,” she explains as Travis tries to persuade her otherwise. Madison insists on going in with Travis and breaks down in tears when she finds a heroin needle hidden in a book in Nick's bedding.
Screenshot from 2015-08-28 15-33-07

Nick's book, with his "makings" inside it.

They go to see Nick’s friend Calvin, a very clean cut young man who's cleaning out his parent's car when they arrive; he says he hasn't seen Nick in a while - but looks a bit shifty as he says it.
Screenshot from 2015-08-28 15-35-35

Madison and Travis arrive at Calvin's house looking for Nick.

Nick has found shelter under a bridge and Alicia is at Venice Beach, waiting for her boyfriend Matt, who doesn't turn up and doesn't answer her texts.
Screenshot from 2015-08-28 15-39-27

Venice Beach

That night on their way home, Travis and Madison get stuck in traffic on a highway exit ramp and hear helicopters, police sirens, and gunshots. After a while Travis decides that it's too dangerous to stay put and finds a way back onto the highway.

The next morning, incoming school buses are mostly empty because everyone in the city is scared and Art asks one of the drivers if they've missed a few stops. Inside members of the teaching staff gather around watching a video of the problems on the highway the night before. A man, initially apparently dead, is attacking paramedics and police,and one of the staff mentions an air-born toxin/virus.
Chem Class on Phones

Alicia and her friends watch the incident on the highway from the night before.

Later as Alicia and her friends also watch the video, Alicia says it can't be real. They see the man cornered by police, get shot, and then get up again. The man doesn't stay down until he's been shot in the head.

The school closes early for the day. As Madison files out, she catches Tobias’s eye on the bus and gets an “I told you so” look from him.

Screenshot from 2015-08-28 15-37-23

Nick, calling his drug dealer, who turns out to be Calvin.

Nick meanwhile, buys a pay-as-you-go 'phone and calls his dealer repeatedly. His dealer turns out to be Calvin, who his mother and Travis had gone to see earlier. Nick eventually meets with Calvin at a diner. Calvin questions Nick about why Madison and Travis had come to see him and Nick swears he's said nothing about Calvin's drug business. Calvin appears to comfort Nick and asks him "how long it's been", meaning since Nick last had any heroin.
Screenshot from 2015-08-28 15-52-21

Calvin, dead after being accidentally shot by Nick.

He says he'll take care of him, implying that he'll give him some heroin, and takes Nick to an abandoned part of the city by the LA river. He stops the car and gets a handgun from the trunk of the car. When Nick sees this, he tackles Calvin, the gun goes off and Calvin is shot in the centre of the chest. He is obviously dead. Travis and Madison arrive by the river, having been called by Nick who'd made Travis promise not to bring Madison. Nick confesses to Travis that he's killed Calvin by accident.
Screenshot from 2015-08-28 15-55-01

Madison and Travis arrive to help Nick.

 All three head down the access tunnel in Travis' pickup and stop at the top of the ramp where they can see Calvin's car. They get out and go to the car, there's the gun on the ground but no Calvin. Nick is very distressed that the body isn't there and has to to comforted by Madison.
Screenshot from 2015-08-28 15-57-43

Calvin's body has disappeared.

They get back in the pickup and Travis starts to reverse through the tunnel to the road. As he looks over his shoulder to steer he can see Calvin shambling towards them down the tunnel and both Travis and Madison get out to help him.

Nick becomes agitated and shouts that Calvin will kill them, climbing into the driver's seat as he does so.

Screenshot from 2015-08-28 16-01-15

Calvin, walking towards the pickup as Nick prepares to run him down for the second time.

Calvin attacks both Madison and Travis repeatedly, trying to bite them. Nick takes the first opportunity he sees and reverses the pickup at Calvin, knocking him to the ground and running him over. Calvin lies on the tunnel floor in front of the pickup now, very obviously badly injured from the collision.

Screenshot from 2015-08-28 16-02-59

They look at Calvin's body where it's landed at the bottom of the ramp.

As Madison and Travis look on from the side of the tunnel Calvin gets up and walks towards the pickup; Nick accelerates the pickup towards him and Calvin is caught on the hood until Nick suddenly stops at the top of the ramp and Calvin flies though the air, about 25 yards. His body lands at the bottom of the ramp on the concrete, twisted and broken now.

Screenshot from 2015-08-28 16-03-55

Calvin's body turns its head towards them.

The three of them stand at the top of the ramp in shock and stare at Calvin's body - in disbelief as Calvin turns his head towards them. His lower jaw is missing and we can see that his eyes are completely clouded over. The family members stare at Calvin's body as it turns its head towards them. Madison asks "What the hell is happening?" and, after a moment Travis answers and says: "I have no idea."

Deaths Edit

Cast Edit

Main Cast Edit

Guest Cast Edit

Co-Cast Edit

Uncredited Edit


These images from this Pilot and the TWD Pilot are almost mirror images.
The image of Nick lying on the floor appears to be a reference to a very similar shot of Rick Grimes from the TWD pilot. And in both pilots the next shot of Nick or Rick is in a hospital bed.

References Edit

  1. Based in part on the recap article from
  2. Plot up to this point taken from the first 3 minutes clip, released on Facebook by AMC three days before the premiere.

Galleries Edit

Video Edit

Navigation Edit

First Season Episodes
First Season Episodes PilotSo Close, Yet So FarThe DogCobaltNot Fade AwayThe Good Man
Seasons Season 1Season 2aSeason 3Season 2bSeason 4Season 5Season 6
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.