(Plentiful SPOILERS for this week’s Fear The Walking Dead episode will be found below.)
As we predicted a few weeks ago, we learned in this week’s episode that Teddy, the “King of the Crazies” is, indeed, the same serial killer that the father of John Dorie locked away before the zombie apocalypse. What we never expected, however, is that John Dorie’s father, John Dorie, Sr., would actually make an appearance. While he’s obviously no Garrett Dillahunt, Keith Carradine — who plays Senior — is a very respectable substitute and one in which that I think that Dillahunt himself would applaud. Based on this week’s episode, it also appears that Carradine’s John Dorie, Sr. is likely to join the cast, at least for the remainder of the season.
The “J.D.” in this week’s episode, in fact, refers to John Dorie, June Dorie, and John Dorie, Sr., not to mention the initials on the guns that have been in the Dorie family for generations. June encounters Senior while she’s out with Dwight and Sherry, who have their own subplot this week. June gets into a gunfight with Senior briefly before he spots her gun with JD inscribed on it, and they realize they both have someone in common: They’re both related to John Dorie. They are also both in search of information about the “End of the Beginning” people. Turns out, however, that Senior has a long history with their leader, Teddy. He’s been preaching the same “End is the Beginning” gospel since well before the apocalypse, and he’s “crazier than a cut snake” but could “sell ice to an” Inuit, which is how he developed a cult following.
It takes a minute, but June and Dorie Sr. eventually bond over their common interests, although Senior hadn’t seen his son in 40 years. June fills him in on his kid’s life, while Dorie Sr. explains why he abandoned his family — it mostly had to do with the shame of trumping up evidence against Teddy pre-apocalypse in order to put him away (he did “the wrong thing for the right reasons”). June and Dorie Sr.’s travels bring them back to John Dorie’s cabin where they encounter Hill, one of Ginny’s old rangers. It doesn’t go well for Hill, who is killed, although Dorie Sr. is shot, too, and falls on his son’s grave, where it appears he will die. However, June had set up medical supplies a few episodes back in order to save John Dorie, but she never got to use them. They were still in place so she could save Senior. Afterward, they hold a proper funeral for John Dorie, where June reads the suicide note that John Dorie had left behind before he decided not to commit suicide. It’s a heartbreaking sequence.
And June brings Dorie Sr., back to Morgan’s community.
Morgan had told June in the episode’s opening that there was essentially nothing she could do to earn Morgan’s forgiveness for having shot Ginny, but he quickly changes his mind when he is introduced to John Dorie’s Dad. There have been a lot of bleak endings in the last few episodes, but this one gave us some much-needed relief, although Senior did forewarn Morgan of what was to come, namely that Teddy was determined to wreak a lot of destruction. It appears as though Teddy’s plan to set off a nuclear bomb is still in the works, which could offer a bridge to The Walking Dead timeline and the Rick Grimes movie for Fear.
Meanwhile, Sherry and Dwight spend some time together again in this episode. Hearing June read John’s letter also makes Sherry reconsider some things. She realizes that maybe she shouldn’t be so singularly focused on getting her revenge against Negan to the exclusion of everything else in her life, including Dwight, and she decides to try and start afresh with him. It’s very sweet, although Sherry lost a lot of affection points from the viewing audience when she so callously ran a horse to the point of a heart attack and indifferently shot it in the head.
It’s also unclear whether this was a send-off episode for Dwight and Sherry. June gave Dwight the rings he gave to John/June back so that Dwight and Sherry might someday wear them again, and then they galloped away together on a horse while June and Senior returned to Morgan’s community. Sherry and Dwight’s destination is unclear. It sort of felt like a goodbye, but no one actually said goodbye, and the showrunners didn’t address the Sherry/Dwight situation in the behind-the-scenes wrap-up. Sherry had spoken about heading back East to go after Negan again, but seemed to abandon that plan (although, there’s no shortage of speculation that the two would rejoin the parent series). Or maybe they’re just strolling off to be on their own and rekindle their romance. Their fate is TBA.
AMC’s ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ airs on Sundays at 9:00pm EST.