Warning: This review contains spoilers!
Fear the Walking Dead is back after an extended hiatus due to Covid-19. So far Season 6 has been a success and the shift to an anthology format of storytelling has resulted in some standout episodes including Alaska which featured the long-awaited reunion of Dwight and Sherry. The Door, a heartbreaking and twist rich return for Fear, continues the anthology format and brings John Dorie into the spotlight once again.
John Dorie is a broken man. A man without hope he abandoned June, the love of his life, in a bid to save himself. Already under an enormous amount of stress living under Ginnie’s rule and burdened by Janice’s death when he couldn’t convince June to run away with him it accelerated his spiral downward. The Door finds John back at his old place by the river drinking heavily and contemplating suicide. If it wasn’t for the steady stream of walkers coming towards his front door, he might have already put himself out of his misery.
That outcome seems unlikely however as there’s some fight left in the old cowboy. Curious as to why he’s having a new wave of undead visitors at his doorstep, John heads up the river and runs into some familiar faces. Dakota and Morgan are holed up in an abandoned general store seeking refuge from Ginnie’s rangers. Things get a little tense when one of her rangers comes into the store while Morgan bleeds from his freshly opened wound.
Ginnie wants her sister back and is pulling out all of the stops to get what she wants. That includes using Grace as a bargaining chip and threatening the lives of the others including June, Daniel, Mo and Luciana. John listens to Morgan’s pleas for help but realizing that he isn’t mentally up to the fight, he declines to get involved. That plan goes up in flames pretty quickly when Morgan gets lassoed and dragged away by one of the rangers. Out of options John puts a bullet in the man’s back.
The task of getting Morgan back to his new settlement with Dakota safely in tow takes the trio to a bridge swarming with walkers. Bridges, along with doors carry a lot of significance in The Door. John has tried to close himself off from the world several times. Afraid of repeating his own mistakes and those of his father, John’s flight or fight response is more of the former, particularly when his proficiency with a gun is taken into account. Closing one door after another is the best coping mechanism John can come up with but his actions continue to bring new people and hope into his life.
Dakota is an interesting character and the more we see of her the more complex she becomes. Perhaps it’s her youth that allows her to see things so clearly, but her analysis of John and words of wisdom are usually on point. She’s also pretty handy behind the wheel of a truck and uses a gun well enough to draw praise from John. The irony of that high praise is that it comes back to bite him in the end and forever changes how Dakota will be perceived moving forward.
The Door successfully continues Fear the Walking Dead’s anthology form of storytelling. While doors are a point of reference and utility – you have to love the Home Depot modifications on John’s truck – several characters, and John in particular encounter bridges that they must cross to allow them to move on. That scene on the bridge is comically horrific with Dakota spitting walker guts all over the place after one of them gets stuck under the back wheel of John’s truck. John is a lot like that walker. With things spinning around him, he doesn’t really make any progress and gets chewed up in the process.
The Door calls into question almost everything we’ve seen in Season 6. John’s death is painful, unexpected and bittersweet as the freedom he sought from his father’s gun at the beginning of the episode is given to him but by another’s hand. So close to finding the answers that eluded him makes it even more tragic when he washes up on the muddy banks near his home. With Dakota proving that she may be the more diabolical of the sisters and had a hand in Morgan’s miraculous recovery, her place in the mix moving forward will be the source of inevitable conflict. She may be the catalyst that galvanizes or perhaps destroys what Morgan is trying to build.
There is also the unknown reaction that will no doubt cause a lot of conflict when it’s revealed that she killed John. June will no doubt be conflicted with justice for John scraping up against her quest to get a hospital built through Ginnie. The twists revealed on the bridge are definite game changers. Alliances will be tested and the uneasy truces between several characters may be in jeopardy. The Door closes John Dorie’s story but opens a host of possibilities for the second half of Season 6.