Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Fear the Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 5: Laura

This episode is all about John Dorie, his past and his life with Laura/Naomi. Which means it’s less about events and much more about the relationship and feelings

John has his pair of shiny guns and lives in his cabin which is super self sufficient, plenty of fish, a moat to keep out the occasional Walker he kills. He has electricity and running water and it’s all a very nice set up. Except he’s alone and seeing him play Scrabble by himself and repeat words over and over… to hear the sound of his own voice? To maintain his vocabulary? Either way his loneliness is so clear

Until one of those bodies washing into his moat isn’t a walker - it’s Naomi/Laura. She’s super suspicious and doesn’t want to stay but she’s badly injured and she can’t go anywhere. He takes her in and treats her at her direction. He doesn’t ask nosy questions and even gives her the name Laura when she’s reluctant to mention her own.

She does try to leave early but he’s super helpful willing to give her all the supplies she needs to leave but she may want to heal up first. She agrees and they live and survive together but she keeps distance between them: symbolised nicely by the boots he offers her which she refuses to take.

She does ask about his guns and his life as a cop but that’s one thing he’s reluctant to touch. Instead it’s really nice to see them grow slowly together, to see Laura slowly thaw towards him and to see that John really is that rarest of people - a really nice day. And in so many apocalypses everyone is awful for the sake of awful -that seeing a man who is just genuinely nice is super powerful.

They do worry about walkers continually washing up and investigate when they go to the local shop - the shop is long abandoned but John hasn’t stripped it bare, because he’s that kind of guy. He takes what he needs and even leaves reviews for the films he borrows - because he’s an impossibly nice guy.

They discover there’s a hole in the barriers around the edge of the bridge which Walkers keep falling over and get washed over.

Laura and John continue to bond, he teaches her how to fish but the idea that she will leave keeps being mentioned until he finally removes her stitches. There’s now no reason for her to stay and she plans to leave which is super awkward. She offers to help him fix the bridge he’s a little sulky about her leaving but she insists it’s the least she can do. They go - and we see John’s anger for the first time when he realises she’s taken one of his guns which he angrily takes back. He insists guns are no good, they just attract more (which he’s not wrong about but it’s equally clear this isn’t his only objection). They fight the crowd and get into a sticky situation which would be solved so much easier if John used a gun - instead he stabs it to death and they both get all covered in gore

Back home Laura calls him on this - no they weren’t bitten but being covered in rotting guts isn’t good for anyone. She pokes him about his issues with guns until he finally agrees to talk about the man he shot as a cop. She asks “good guy or bad guy” but he refuses to think of it that way. Because he’s John, the world’s nicest man.

He was coming back from a wild west show (where he performed as a hobby) and saw an armed robbery - he tried to “clip” the man who turned and end up being shot fatally. Everyone hailed him as a hero which John couldn’t stand - so moved to the isolated area he now lives.

That night their patch fails badly, there’s a horde of zombies and the only reason Laura doesn’t get eaten is John pulls guns - and in a dazzling display of skill he shoots them all. John is so very good with those weapons

Laura praises him for being the genuinely super nice guy because he is so awesome. And he even gives her one of his guns because she’ll need it out there alone. But he’s clearly having issues and is upset. She pushes him on it and he admits he loves her

He didn’t want to tell her because she’s leaving. He even offers to leave so she can have the house and at least then he’ll know she’s safe… and she kisses him. Awww romance

And the next morning when he wakes up she’s gone - and she’s taken the boots

This whole story is recounted by John to Morgan who then does his awesome positivity thing about them being alive, being part of the world and still capable of living with hope. Morgan has definitely turned round from his depressing state he was before

I think this episode was useful to make John more meaningful - especially since now every character has a past on this show except John and Althea. If they don’t get fleshed out back stories then they become disposable - on a show which is all about people dying, people walking around without a backstory are just walking walker fodder.