TV

‘Fear The Walking Dead’ Has Brilliantly Subverted Negan’s All-Out War Storyline

Those who might have worried that Fear the Walking Dead couldn’t keep up the momentum after a brilliant first half of the season and a devastating midseason premiere, in which the series killed off one of its most beloved characters, clearly need not be too concerned for the series after another intense, twisty, and surprising episode. Fear, in its sixth season, has never been better. Meanwhile, after collecting major characters since midway through Season Four without killing any of them off until John Dorie, the series has a large stable remaining with which to do what they want. It appears, however, that another All-Out War is in the making, but this one will be dramatically different than the one on The Walking Dead.

In fact, this week’s episode — originally meant to be the midseason premiere — felt like a direct subversion of Negan’s All-Out War arc on The Walking Dead. ”Things Left To Do” picked up where the last week’s episode ended. June is forced to bury her husband, John Dorie, and June cannot escape the feeling that Ginny is responsible for his death, or at least knows why Dakota killed John. June is both right and wrong: Ginny doesn’t know exactly why Dakota killed John, but Ginny is indirectly responsible. Ginny actions led to Dakota’s decision to kill Cal, and Dakota killed John to cover that up.

That information does not remain a secret for long. This week, Morgan quickly figures it out, and while he is eager to exile Dakota for killing his best friend, John Dorie, he also knows he needs her as leverage to save his friends from Ginny. Dakota, meanwhile, has only one demand: To start all over in Morgan’s community. Morgan, however, remains noncommittal for obvious reasons, namely that she killed his best friend.

Meanwhile, Ginny stages a Negan-like standoff, in which she lines up all of Morgan’s friends (including Daniel and Grace, who is pregnant), holds them at gunpoint, and demands Dakota in exchange for their lives. Morgan arrives on horseback to save his friends, and all hell breaks loose. The short version is this: Ginny demands her Rangers kill Morgan’s friend, but the Rangers defect to their new leader, Strand(!), and somehow, Morgan ends up saving Ginny from Strand, but also from Sherry and the Outcasts, who pursue Morgan and Dakota into the woods with the Humvee. The allegiances move very fast. In the span of five minutes, the chessboard on Fear was rearranged.

All of this eventually leads Morgan back to the community he has been building all season long — it’s coming along very nicely — where he brings Ginny so that she can be reunited with Dakota. However, we also learn another new piece of information when Dakota reveals to Morgan that Dakota is not her sister. Dakota is … her daughter (cue soap opera music). In fact, Ginny didn’t kill both of their parents; she killed her own parents (and Dakota’s grandparents) because they were abusive, and she was trying to protect her daughter Dakota from them.

Soon thereafter, there’s another stand-off. Strand (and the Rangers) and Sherry (and the Outsiders) track Ginny down to Morgan’s new community (so much for keeping its location hidden, I guess). They demand from Ginny their pound of flesh — they want to kill her “plus extra,” but Morgan strikes a deal with Ginny. Morgan will kill Ginny quickly (and save her from whatever torture The Rangers and/or The Outsiders inflict upon her) and, in exchange, Morgan will allow Dakota to stay in their community and start over. It’s a (mostly) selfless act on Ginny’s part to sacrifice herself to save her daughter’s future.

Morgan takes Ginny outside and lets Sherry, Strand and their people know what’s up. He’s going to kill Ginny, and they’re going to back off. Ultimately, however, Morgan can’t bring himself to do it, because “life is precious,” and it’s not what John Dorie would want, etc., etc. blah blah, etc. He announces to the Outsiders and the Rangers that he’s going to allow Ginny to live, and he’s going to start a new community built on the principles of John Dorie. He invites anyone who wants to join him.

I should note here that Strand not only declines to join Morgan but tries to talk Alicia into joining him and the Rangers (she rejects the offer). Dwight also tries to talk Sherry into moving into their community, but she also declines, noting that she now feels more at home with The Outsiders than with her husband. June also decides to join Morgan’s community and live alongside Dakota — the woman who killed her husband — and Ginny, the woman responsible for her husband’s death. June’s new hairstyle — she let out the bun — suggests that she may have other ulterior motives.

This is where Fear truly subverts Negan’s arc in The Walking Dead. In the parent series, Negan kills the beloved Glenn, and while everyone else — especially Glenn’s wife, Maggie — wants to avenge Glenn’s death and kill Negan, Rick decides to spare Negan’s life in an effort to build a better world. In Fear, Ginny is the Negan; John Dorie is the Glenn; June is Maggie; and Morgan is Rick. As in The Walking Dead, Morgan decides to spare Ginny despite her being responsible for the death of John Dorie (and others) because he, too, wants to build a better world.

In fact, it almost looks like the exact same scenario is about to play out in Fear the Walking Dead, where the series’ Big Bad ends up becoming a member of the community. However, June (Fears‘ Maggie) isn’t about to let that process repeat itself. Unlike Maggie, June doesn’t wait for permission from Morgan. At the end of the episode, June stays behind to nurse one of Ginny’s wounds, and when Ginny won’t immediately tell her why Dakota killed Dorie, June shoots Ginny in the head using John’s gun. It’s very matter of fact, and afterward, June doesn’t stick around to talk to anyone about it. She just walks away.

I love Negan, and I’m ultimately glad that Rick spared him on The Walking Dead, but Fear finally gave us the satisfaction we missed when Rick decided not to kill Negan. Ironically, the death of Ginny is also bittersweet because while she was evil, it was hard not to root for her sometimes., and the actress who plays her, Colby Minifie, is outstanding (she’s also very good on The Boys, where she’s recently been elevated to series regular, which may also explain why she was written out of the show so early in the season). It’s worth noting, too, that the episode was so good that viewers may not have noticed there were very few zombies in this zombie show (I think there may have been only one zombie appearance).

Where does that leave Fear going into the rest of the season? That’s unclear. There remain three factions: Morgan’s group, The Outsiders, and The Rangers, but their common enemy, Ginny, is now gone. Does that mean they turn on each other? Will we see a different kind of All-Out War? Or will the series return to the “The End Is the Beginning” mystery introduced at the beginning of the season with the key that Morgan possesses and the mysterious submarine?

Who knows! The only thing we can really tell from the preview from next week’s episode is that, if there is a breach, we’ll be seeing far more zombies next week than we saw this week.

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