Fear The Walking Dead season 7 retroactively makes an old adversary even more evil thanks to Teddy’s bunker of horrors. In stark contrast to its parent series, Fear The Walking Dead’s early seasons struggled to create a worthy main villain that viewers loved to hate. That all changed in Fear The Walking Dead season 5 when Ginny surfaced as the self-righteous leader of the Pioneers, and season 7 continued that trend via John Glover’southern-fried serial killer, Teddy. Leading his doomsday cult with the charisma of a self-styled country gentleman, Teddy waltzed through Fear The Walking Dead season 6 before ultimately meeting his demise in the finale.
Though Fear The Walking Dead’s Teddy makes way for fresh meat in season 7, “Cindy Hawkins” proves his specter still lingers over the post-apocalyptic wasteland. June and John Dorie Sr. make their season debut while hiding in Teddy’s bunker – the one he hoped would protect him from nuclear fallout. Aside from delving into the serial killer’s twisted psyche, “Cindy Hawkins” also forces John to revisit Teddy’s unsolved crimes in stark, disturbing detail, and though the man himself only appears in flashbacks, Fear The Walking Dead’s bunker episode makes Teddy an even darker villain through the unforgiving lens of hindsight.
For starters, the titular Cindy Hawkins provides a terrifying examination of Teddy’s historic crimes. Previously in Fear The Walking Dead, Teddy’s past was told solely through the Dories’ recollections, newspaper clippings, and other second-hand testimony. Where Fear The Walking Dead season 6 told the audience what Teddy did, season 7 shows. Seeing Cindy, mouth sewn shut, trapped in Teddy’s bunker and tied to a table is a juddering recreation, and it’s not long before she’s joined by the ghosts of other victims too. John flicks back into detective mode and discovers the necklace Teddy kept as a memento, before deducing how the cult leader would’ve snatched Cindy once she innocently left her boyfriend’s house. Playing out almost like a true crime horror piece, Fear The Walking Dead season 7 casts Teddy in an even more sinister light than when he was still kicking around in season 6.
Season 7’s most chilling addition to the Fear The Walking Dead Teddy backstory, however, isn’t seeing his secret torture chamber, or meeting his deceased victims – it’s the mundane banality of Teddy’s bunker that really sends shivers down the spine. Everything June and John use in Teddy’s bunker was put there by the killer himself. Teddy had the intelligence and wherewithal to build and stock a secret shelter while the screams of his latest victim echoed from the adjacent embalming room. That cold, clear mindset while committing unspeakable acts is eerie enough, but Teddy’s bunker also contains luxury items – a record by The Mamas & The Papas, a board game, a stash of booze. These additions prove how, when he wasn’t out killing folk, Fear The Walking Dead’s Teddy was just like everyone else – listening to music, playing games and enjoying a drink.
Seeing Teddy’s grim extracurricular activities is bad, but knowing he didn’t go around with “SERIAL KILLER” written on his forehead, and could’ve been someone the viewer would pass in the street none the wiser, is the most frightful addition to Fear The Walking Dead’s Teddy in season 7. It’s testament to the effectiveness of John Clover’s performance and the original concept behind the villain that, despite not being physically present, Teddy can still send a ripple of unease through Fear The Walking Dead.