Fear The Walking Dead season 7 plays “Where’s Wendell?” but, as usual, Victor Strand isn’t necessarily honoring the rules. Though the main protagonist group scattered following Teddy’s nuclear launch, most of Fear The Walking Dead’s big players have been reintroduced in season 7, either in the show itself or by trailer footage. One glaring exception is Wendell, portrayed by Daryl Mitchell. Introduced alongside his sister, Sarah Rabinowitz, Wendell’s rare voice of reason resonates throughout Fear The Walking Dead’s later seasons, and provides one half of a touching, unbreakable sibling bond. Due to Mitchell’s main gig on NCIS: New Orleans, Wendell was suspiciously absent throughout Fear The Walking Dead season 6, but is confirmed to appear in season 7.
The hustle and bustle of Morgan’s dam community duly covered for the lack of Daryl Mitchell in Fear The Walking Dead season 6. Wendell was somewhere among the residents and that was good enough, but with nuclear dust now covering the landscape, Wendell’s whereabouts are a major concern for Sarah, and she heads into the unknown on a desperate sibling search. Inevitably, the trail leads to Victor Strand, who claims Wendell is safe as a resident of his Tower community. Cruelly, Strand refuses to let Sarah see or talk to her brother, warning Wendell won’t be allowed back inside should he exit The Tower.
This unnecessary act of callousness is very on-brand for Strand, but there’s a deeper, underlying reason he refuses Sarah and Wendell an emotional reunion. Let’s first assume Victor wasn’t lying, and Wendell really is among his subjects at The Tower. Strand absolutely delights in controlling the emotions of others, and as soon as he steps foot on The Tower’s communication platform with Morgan, Sarah and Josiah, Victor is relishing the opportunity to flex his manipulative muscles. Even just revealing whether Wendell is present at The Tower, Strand draws out the announcement like he’s declaring the winner of Zombie Apocalypse Idol. Sarah’s emotions are in the palm of Strand’s hand, and he’s wringing every ounce of sadistic enjoyment from being the man in control.
But Strand’s decision to keep Sarah and Wendell apart is also strategic. Strand evidently still views Morgan as a threat to his kingdom, and his superiority complex is on full display throughout Fear The Walking Dead season 7, episode 4 (“Finally realized you can’t offer them what I can?”). Strand already has June, John Dorie Sr. and Wendell at The Tower, and allowing Sarah – one of Morgan’s more loyal supporters – to contact that trio risks poisoning their minds. The more Morgan’s friends come together, the more likely they are to challenge Strand’s rule. It’s a case of divide and conquer at The Tower – only by dividing Morgan’s allies can Strand stay on top.
Since Victor Strand’s mouth is opening, one must also consider lies are being told in Fear The Walking Dead season 7. Strand’s driving motivation is proving himself a better leader than Morgan, so telling Sarah how her brother is now living his best life inside The Tower – courtesy of Victor Strand – suits that purpose. Admitting otherwise would constitute showing weakness in front of a mortal nemesis, whereas being dishonest gives Strand a hold over Sarah that can exploited in the future. Ominously, Fear The Walking Dead season 7 does drop several clues to suggest Strand actually has no idea where Wendell could be. There’s no clear explanation for how Wendell reached The Tower from Morgan’s dam – especially since Sarah finds his broken wheelchair among the Stalkers’ possessions. Strand doesn’t tell Sarah where or when he found Wendell, perhaps avoiding details that could prove his dishonesty. And, increasing the suspicion, Strand didn’t mention Wendell to June and John upon their arrival at The Tower.
Truth or not, there’s no denying how much Victor Strand enjoys controlling the other main survivors in Fear The Walking Dead season 7. Lying about Wendell certainly isn’t below his ethical floor, but even if Sarah’s brother is safe and sound inside The Tower, bringing Morgan’s pals together simply isn’t to Victor’s advantage. Only Daryl Mitchell’s Fear The Walking Dead return can prove whether Victor Strand really has won “Where’s Wendell?” or whether he skipped straight to the answers at the back.