‘Fear TWD’ Kicks Off 6B With a Heartbreaking, Haunting Death (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Fear The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 8, “The Door.”]
On The Walking Dead, there’s generally been a pattern to major character deaths: One in the midseason finale, one in the season finale. Fear, however, bucked the trend. It killed two major characters — Nick (Frank Dillane) and Madison (Kim Dickens) — within a couple brutal episodes of each other in Season 4, and then left the main characters unharmed for two whole seasons. In a Walking Dead show, that was unheard of… but “The Door,” which was meant to be Fear’s sixth midseason finale and now, after COVID delays, is airing to kick off the second half of the season, follows that sad, familiar pattern.
Having gone back to his cabin, John Dorie (Garret Dillahunt) has lost the will to live but can’t pull the trigger when he puts a pistol to his head. When he runs into Morgan (Lennie James) and Dakota (Zoe Colletti), he’s dragged, unwillingly, into their fight against Virginia (Colby Minifie)… and things only get worse for him from there.
Staying Out of the Fight
When we first see him, John’s spending his days killing walkers that wash up on the banks by his riverside cabin and looking especially miserable. He heads down to the general store and stumbles on Dakota and an injured Morgan, who were running from Ginny’s rangers and a herd of walkers. John is delighted to see his friend — he didn’t even know Morgan was alive! Morgan tries to convince John to come back and join the fight against Virginia, but John declines; he’s tired of fighting and killing, no matter who it’s for.
John brings Dakota and Morgan back to his cabin, where Ginny radios him. She has his friends and his girlfriend, Grace (Karen David), and she says that if anything happens to her sister, she’ll kill “the whole damn coop,” meaning pretty much every member of Morgan’s family aside from Strand (Colman Domingo), who’s on Ginny’s side. Even that radio call isn’t enough to convince John he needs to come back, but he does offer to help Morgan and Dakota take down the last remnants of the horde they were running from, which they trapped on a bridge.
Virginia Wants to Know Your Location
After a harrowing incident involving a ranger John is forced to kill (the guy was going to kill Morgan!), they outfit a truck with a walker barricade and head for the bridge, with Dakota driving and Morgan and John standing in the bed. The plan is for Dakota to drive through the barricade while Morgan and John take down the walkers, but of course, that doesn’t work out. One of the tires gets stuck on a walker, resulting in a bloody, gory sequence with flying guts and spinning wheels, and they eventually figure out there’s something wrong with the alternator, too. John has to climb out of the truck bed to fix it, and he winds up laying on the hood of the truck as Dakota drives, killing walkers left and right (it’s a pretty cool moment). In the end, the dead are dispatched and Morgan and Dakota are free to go.
Except… Morgan has thought of a way to get his pal back into the fight. He radios Virginia and tells her he’ll talk if they meet at John’s cabin, and he tells her where to find it. John’s disgusted with his friend; he can’t go back to his peaceful cabin life if Virginia knows where he is. “Hate me if you like,” Morgan says, “but I’ll be damned if I stand by and watch my best friend try to kill himself.”
Morgan wanders off to try to get a signal for the radio, leaving Dakota and John alone on the bridge. They go looking for clips to fix the car, and John lets Dakota hold onto his gun — BIG mistake. They chat for a bit, and John says he’s going to go back to his cabin and kill Virginia when she shows up. Dakota says that they’ll be expecting that, but John’s okay if he doesn’t make it out. “At least my death will mean something,” he says. Just then, Dakota’s sneak-attacked by a walker, and she uses her knife to kill it. It’s then that John makes a horrifying discovery — based on the piece that’s missing from her knife, Dakota is the one who killed Cameron in Episode 3.
Dakota = Lizzie Samuels 2.0?!
She doesn’t deny it. Cameron, she said, told Virginia about how she’d been sneaking out of Lawton, and she felt he deserved to die for robbing her of her one way to evade her sister. Dakota points the gun at John, her hand shaking. John tries to calm her down. He says he thinks he has a purpose to keep going now: he wants to bring Dakota back to the light. “We can get past this,” he says. “I can help you.”
And then she shoots him in the heart, tells him that death “doesn’t always have to mean something,” and pushes him into the river.
While John clings to a piece of wood and floats downriver, Morgan returns to find Dakota holding a gun and no John. She points the weapon at him, and it’s pretty obvious what happened. When she lowers it, Morgan points his weapon at her, but she says he won’t kill her. Why? Because she’s the person who saved his life at the gulch, the one who wrote that “you still have things left to do” note. And according to Dakota, Morgan’s “things left to do” are all ending Ginny’s life.
The Saddest Possible Goodbye
Meanwhile, Ginny’s arrived at the cabin and brought June with her. June’s (Jenna Elfman) desperate to help John, who they learn is hurt — but not how badly. She sees her husband wash up on the river bank, as she had done on the day they met. She runs to him, medical supplies in hand, and…
He’s gone, already turned into a walker. His dead hand reaches for hers, and she lets his walker hold it—for maximum tragic effect, it’s her left hand, with her wedding ring. Then she puts him down. (And we’re crying.)
- WHY JOHN DORIE, THOUGH?! While many of the new characters after the Morgan crossover had lukewarm receptions at best, most agreed John was the best addition. His death allows for development for June, Morgan, and Alicia (who probably regrets not turning Dakota over to Ginny when she had the chance), but his absence is going to be a huge hole in the show. I’ll miss his Werther’s Originals-loving, gunslinging self.
- I also really wanted John and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) to meet at one point. Guess that’s not happening now.
- What is it with kids murdering fan-favorite characters on this show? First Charlie (Alexa Nisenson) and Nick, now Dakota and John. Something tells me Dakota’s not going to be brought into the family here, though…
- Also, I’m not convinced Grace and Morgan are going to last. If June and John couldn’t make it, if Glenn and Maggie couldn’t make it, can any post-apocalyptic couple?
- Rating: 5/5. A fantastic, heartbreaking episode that hearkens back to the days where characters died randomly and shockingly, a la Travis (Cliff Curtis) in Season 3 and sets up what should be a riveting back half of the season. RIP, John. You’ll be sorely missed.
Fear The Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC