Fear the Walking Dead 613 – J.D.
Warning: This review contains spoilers!
A rash of deaths has hovered over Fear the Walking Dead in recent weeks. In fact, three of the last four episodes have featured the passing of John Dorie, Virginia and Grace’s baby. It’s no wonder then that grief and the heaviness that accompanies it kicks off J.D. The spicy tone is set before the opening credits even begin and what follows is curious and at times seems to come out of left field.
June arrives at the new community and meets a resistant Morgan. She’s there to see how Grace is doing after losing the baby but Morgan won’t allow her to see her. Wading through a swamp of emotions, Morgan throws shade on June’s charity and blames her for where things are now. If only June had listened to John, the events that led to Grace being where she is now would be different. Morgan’s grief taints his outlook and realizing that she’s not welcome, June walks away.
The events in Tank Town continue to resonate filling June with regret. She returns to the scene to gather any intel she can on Teddy’s group and is joined by Dwight who was on hand to hear Morgan spitting fire her way. Ignoring John’s pleas to leave Tank Town and Virginia behind now has June doubting her actions but Dwight, who is more and more becoming a voice of reason, reminds her of the lives she saved in the process. Sherry, in search of gasoline, tags along for the ride as June attempts to track down one of Virginia’s former lieutenants.
A lone gunman, a hail of bullets and some walkers split up the trio. June takes the high ground to track the sharpshooter who had them pinned down. She breaks into an RV and discovers a map with photos of different locations tagged with “The end is the beginning”. She doesn’t get long to process things before she’s held at gunpoint by the same not so charming individual who was shooting at her moments earlier.
Judging by the cop like layout of the pics on the map and looking back on the accuracy of the gunman it shouldn’t come as a surprise when his identity is revealed later, but we’ll get to that in a moment. The old cowboy decides to enlist June and she takes them to a spot on the map that he missed. June and the old cowboy are rather frosty to each other but that soon thaws when he realizes that she is carrying his old gun. Yup, the old cowboy is John Dorie Sr.
Fear the Walking Dead has been trending towards becoming a western for some time. J.D. heightens that feeling even more, particularly with John Dorie Sr. in the mix and Dwight and Sherry flying around on horseback in search of June. Sherry’s behavior was off from the start, including giving Dwight the silent treatment. She’s been acting strangely and it’s all because of Negan. Going back to Virginia to kill Negan is right up there with Morgan’s head scratching behavior to start the episode. Negan? After all this time what has Sherry out of sorts is Negan? Not Teddy’s group, who is an immediate danger to the people she’s running with, but Negan. I’m not sure I buy that. One dead horse and a few miles later they find June’s lost jacket and realize they are on her trail.
Speaking of Teddy, we get some background on him courtesy of John Dorie Sr. They go way back to the 70’s when Dorie was a cop and Teddy, last name Maddox, was a mortician turned serial killer. Dorie bent the law to put Mannix away initially and is saddled with his own guilt. That guilt destroyed his family and estranged him from John. Recognizing Mannix’s M.O., Dorie has been tracking him ever since “The end is the beginning” started popping up again. June and her father-in-law then do some bonding as they make their way back to the Dorie family cabin.
J.D. is a love letter to the character of John Dorie. The impact he had on several characters and the reach of his legacy helps to heal the broken bonds of not only his father’s estrangement but touches Sherry as well. There is a lot that doesn’t work in the episode but the moments that focus on what John was trying to achieve and what he meant to June really saves it. The last few moments also make up for some of the earlier missteps and along with the addition of John Dorie Sr. gives Fear some much needed focus as the season winds down.