I am seriously struggling after watching the new Fear the Walking Dead episode. Season 6 Episode 8 physically hurt to watch. I’m glad that no one in this universe is safe, since that’s more realistic for a zombie apocalypse universe, but really… Did they have to make THAT decision?
This is a review for Fear the Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 8, so it will contain major spoilers. Join our Walking Dead Facebook group to talk more about the show.
That Death Was Gut-Wrenching
Let’s not waste time going through every moment of the episode. Instead, I’m going to just dive right into the ending, which was gut-wrenching.
THEY KILLED JOHN DORIE.
What the hell?
But they didn’t just kill him. They did it in the most gut-wrenching way possible. At the beginning of the episode, John was ready to end his life. He didn’t like to live without June and he felt like he had already made far too many mistakes. John was basically taking everyone else’s burdens onto himself. He was blaming himself for failings that were actually brought on by other people, and he seemed destined to want to somehow make up for his dad’s mistakes. (In case you don’t recall, John’s dad was in law enforcement too, and planted evidence to convict a man for serial rapes. He was convinced the man was indeed guilty, but his colleagues never looked at him the same way.)
In John’s case, however, he was trying to free an innocent person who had evidence planted on them (Janis in Lawton.) An earring was planted on her to make her look guilty in the murder of her secret boyfriend, Cameron. But John discovered Cameron was murdered with a knife. He was convinced it wasn’t Janis, but she confessed to the crime anyway and Victor executed her before John could set her free and put his own life at risk. So John now carries a piece of that knife with him — the only evidence that could point to the real killer.
John ultimately chose to flee from Virginia anyway, but when June wouldn’t go with him, he lost all desire to live.
That’s when Morgan and Dakota found him. He was at the end of his rope, but Morgan had one last mission he needed help with. He needed John to help him clear out a bridge full of walkers so he and Dakota could reach the town that Morgan was building. John agreed to help, but insisted he was going back to his cabin to kill himself afterward and would never go with Morgan to his new town. So Morgan spent the entire episode trying to convince John to go with him. While Morgan is gone trying to make radio contact with his town, John finds out that Dakota is using the knife that was used to kill Cameron. And that’s when everything became clear to him. Dakota had murdered Cameron and Virginia was covering it up.
Dakota confessed, telling him that Cameron found out how she was escaping and put a stop to it. For that, she wanted Cameron dead. For that, she let Janis take the fall. And unable to trust anyone, she shot John in the chest and kicked him over the edge of the bridge.
There’s a slow-motion scene of John in the water, finding the photo of him and his dad and suddenly getting a renewed desire to live. But that’s just a punch to the gut, because he turns into a walker anyway and washes ashore right where he had found June in front of his cabin when they first met. Only this time, it’s June finding his walker-fied body. And then John-as-a-walker reaches out and touches June’s arm… OOF. Coming just one week after the “Here’s Negan” episode, it brought so many feels.
#FearTWD 6×08, “The Door” is truly beautiful, haunting, depressing, and will shatter your heart. @garretdillahunt did such an amazing job with his performance as John Dorie. He lights up the screen everytime. The tension is at all time high. I’m broken.
— Darius, AP of ZSJL ✪ ⩔ | Watched ZSJL 8x (@mockjaygrimes) April 4, 2021
One fan described his death on Reddit in a way that I feel truly encapsulates how I feel too. U/DanielPirvan wrote: “My heart physically hurts. I actually had so much HOPE John would survive this, they actually fooled me into thinking he would – even though with THAT wound it would’ve been so dumb if he did. Him washing up dead in front of June was a beautiful and cruel way to mirror the beginning of John and June’s relationship and how they met. Poor John wanted his life to be over so badly because he couldn’t find his place in it, and when he got his wish he realized that it was not what he truly wanted. I can’t imagine what kind of psychological pain he went through in his final moments. Beautiful performances from Garret Dillahunt, Zoe Colleti. R.I.P. John. The human golden retriever of this show. He was too good for this world – literally.”
John’s Death Was a Callback to Nick’s
Some fans who saw the episode early on AMC Premiere are complaining that John’s death hearkened far too much back to Nick’s death. Both were killed by a teen girl overcome with fear (although Charlie, to her credit, has a lot more going for her than insane Dakota.) They even played the same music in the background during the death scene, fans are pointing out.
It’s also bringing back memories of Nick because both actors were pretty much the best parts of the show when they were killed. John was my favorite character, and Nick had been my favorite character when he was killed. Some fans are already claiming that they might stop watching without John.
Other Callbacks & Plotholes
I've only watched since Morgan crossed over, and his relationship with John was SO important in this world. I'm devastated.
— Jodie❤sTWD (@twdfan414) April 4, 2021
There were other callbacks in the show, along with some plotholes that I’d be remiss to ignore in this review.
That title intro card showing John on the bridge, shooting at a horde of zombies, was a callback to Rick’s scene in Season 9 Episode 5, when he died on a bridge. We also got to see what a badass John was all over again, as he took out walkers with ease. This group is going to have a much tougher time surviving without him.
This was the first major death we had on Fear since Madison and Nick. So it was very unexpected.
But there were plotholes too. They had to stop the car because a walker was stuck in the tire. But as soon as John fixed the alternator, the walker stuck in the tire was somehow magically gone. How did that happen?
Also, by now they should have known a much better (and less risky) way to kill the walkers on that bridge. They could have simply spiked and killed each one through the bridge as it approached, just like Rick and company did at the Prison. Or they could have opened the gate just a little bit and released one walker at a time, killing each as it walked through. Driving through the gate like they did was the riskiest plan possible. Sure, it made for some good drama on TV. But I feel that in real-life, they would have chosen one of these simpler options.
In short, this wasn’t a perfect episode. I wish they had chosen a different path for John, although I understand why these decisions must be made sometimes when you have a show in an apocalyptic world. There were some plotholes that better writing could have overcome. But still, despite that, this was one of the better Fear episodes that we’ve had in some time. It was gut-wrenching, and I won’t soon forget it.