Fear the Walking Dead: Best moments from “The Key”

Garret Dillahunt as John Dorie - Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMC
Garret Dillahunt as John Dorie - Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMC /

Fear the Walking Dead delivered another intense and emotional episode with “The Key,” which had quite a few standout moments.

The anthology format that Fear the Walking Dead has adopted in season six has changed the pace of the story in the best possible way. By focusing on one complete character story each week — and continuing to weave the threads of the various stories together in small ways throughout the episodes — the show is brilliantly balancing some deep character dives with an overreaching narrative that keeps the show moving forward. It’s totally changed the viewing experience for the better.

In the most recent episode, “The Key,” Fear the Walking Dead caught up with John Dorie, who was placed on security by Virginia. Garret Dillahunt absolutely shines throughout this episode. John’s innate morality clashes with Virginia’s plans for Lawton as he starts to understand that what she’s building is nothing more than a façade to cover some darker agenda.

John is conflicted because he believes in creating a community where people are safe and have a solid foundation that they can build their lives on. He thought that maybe that’s what Virginia was doing, but over the course of his investigation of Cameron’s death, he realizes that’s not the case.

The best moments from this episode together show that whatever darkness lies underneath Virginia’s efficiency and seeming commitment to her communities is about ready to come to the surface.

John’s Letters to June

The opening to “The Key” was probably the best of the season so far — and one of the best in the series’ history. John narrating his letter to June had the feeling of a soldier away at war, writing letters home and trying to understand the enormity of his task while also just allowing himself to feel the uncertainty and anxiety that comes from being far away from your loved ones. It was bittersweet and beautiful, and the lush cinematography was fantastic.

John in the Grave

One thing that Fear has been doing exceptionally well this season is mixing a great storytelling with some truly grotesque Walkers. The horror-steeped sequence of John in Cameron’s grave looking for evidence on the body and having to fight off Walkers was seriously anxiety-inducing, but beautifully filmed. It definitely had a George Romero feel to it.

John’s Conversation With Rabbi Jacob

The conversation that John has with Jacob about his father and the serial killer that his father pursued, ultimately planting evidence in order to put the killer away, was brilliant and really laid out what’s going on at Lawton.

It’s exciting to see the show finally be able to take the time to delve into some of the issues of right and wrong in the apocalypse world, and whether or not the ends always justify the means. John is a man of such pure conviction that he’s willing to sacrifice everything he loves, even June, to do what’s right.

It’s truly compelling watching Garret Dillahunt portray the conflict that John is wrestling with and his grief at knowing that he has to be true to what he knows is right — because if he doesn’t, then all the relationships he’s fighting to protect will fall apart.

He knows that the people he loves will see him differently if he doesn’t act according to his principles. It’s a no-win situation, and John knows it. A few seasons ago, I wouldn’t have thought that Fear the Walking Dead was capable of creating this kind of nuanced and intelligent storyline, yet they did it brilliantly.

June Arrives

June’s arrival was unexpected, but it wasn’t the same kind of happy reunion that fans got last week when Dwight and Sherry finally found each other. June’s return was overshadowed by the strings attached to it, which were obvious to John. Virginia wants to convince him that there’s nothing wrong in Lawton, and that he can believe in the façade she’s building.

She needs John to believe in it so that others will believe in it too. By making John a full Ranger and reuniting him with his beloved wife, she’s sending a message that, if he goes along with her plan, he will be rewarded. At the same time, she’s reminding him of what he stands to lose if he doesn’t. It’s a manipulation tactic, and he knows it. Yet he’s also relieved and happy to be with June again, even as he worries about what it’s going to cost him.

John Fights Strand

In an episode filled with heavy moments, it was kind of cathartic to watch John attack Strand for his role in getting Janis to confess. Let’s be real, we’ve all wanted to punch Strand at one point or another. But at the end of the day, you can’t fault Strand for being Strand. In his own way he is still looking out for the family, the people who matter. He tells John that he arranged for Janis to confess so that Janis didn’t take John down with her. Strand’s ability to instantly read a situation and react makes him a great ally to have if you’re one of the people he thinks is important — but it makes him very dangerous if he considers you expendable.

It’s A New Fear

Now that we’re a quarter of the way into season 6 and each episode of Fear the Walking Dead has been really outstanding, it’s safe to assume that the rest of 6A will be just as amazing. In the next episode, “Honey,” it looks like we’ll find out more about the mask wearing group and how they’re connected to the larger story. Don’t miss it!

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What were some of the highlights of this week’s episode of Fear the Walking Dead for you? Let us know in the comments below!