After almost three seasons, John Dorie receives a proper final episode to send him off to that great beyond. Over the course of the hour, Fear the Walking Dead tries and succeeds in tugging at our collective heartstrings. After all, John was the show’s one and only hopeless romantic, a sensitive gunslinger who eschewed killing. He will be missed, and so will Garret Dillahunt.
As far as last days go, John’s was emblematic of his good-natured persona. In his final hours, he sought to help those closest to him, namely Morgan and Dakota. This is part of this episode’s brilliance, keeping things focused on this trio. The result produces an unlikely Venn diagram with Virginia’s sister in the center. Because as we learn, Dakota is the canny yet jaded arbiter of who lives and who dies.
While it was fairly obvious a few episodes back that Dakota murdered Cameron to cover her tracks, it was less obvious that she was Morgan’s mysterious savior. “The Door,” penned by showrunners Ian Goldberg and Andrew Chambliss, is brimming with great dialogue. One bit that stands out is Dakota’s chilling assessment of the status quo: “It’s just how life is now. People kill, people die,” she says matter-of-factly.
Of course, this doesn’t sit well with John. To him, every life and every death carries a lot of weight. Otherwise, what’s the point? Like Morgan, John has had his fill of killing. Both men are pacifists in a world defined by constant death and destruction. In another great line, Morgan remarks to Dorie, “These times, John. They make us men we tried so hard not to be.”
It must be said that Dillahunt, Lennie James, and Zoe Colletti all hit it out of the park, immersing themselves in their characters’ pathos and desperation. As we know, in this godforsaken world, no one can outrun their past mistakes for very long. Thanks to Dillahunt, James, and Colletti, we see how the daily act of survival is a heavy burden to bear. This has always been baked into Fear the Walking Dead, though, this inescapable notion that regret and redemption drive characters forward in hopes of becoming better versions of themselves. Even John, one of the show’s purest characters, is consumed by doubt and self-recrimination.
If anyone can understand the darkness clouding John’s mind, it’s Morgan. In trying to recruit John to his cause, Morgan’s comment, “I found Grace” can be read two ways. Yes, he found someone he cares deeply about, but he’s also found renewed purpose by creating a new settlement. Whether this dual meaning is intentional or not isn’t important. The fact that any subtext might exist speaks a lot to Morgan’s larger character arc.