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Sunday, June 10, 2018

[RECAP] Season 4, Episode 5 of Fear The Walking Dead, "Laura"

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By Carolina Gallardo (@carolgallardo)

We have had our share of hook ups and fleeting romantic relationships within the Walking Dead universe, most notably the relationship between Glenn and Maggie comes to mind.  But it is incredibly rare to see the development of a sincere, budding romance in these kind of dismal conditions.  This dynamic of sincerity, cynicism, and love found, conquered and lost is the basis for the fifth episode of the season, entitled after John Dorie's enigmatic love interest.  The story in essence is so simple and pure...and that's largely why it's such a satisfying episode.

The episode begins with an glimpse into John Dorie's life after the Apocalypse, but before we initially met him in his interaction with Morgan.  We see that he wasn't always this sort of caricature-like gunslinger.  He was just a man, that essentially created himself an island (both emotionally and literally), in order to survive in these dire conditions.  We see that he had that trout alarm clock (did anyone else get really excited when they saw that or *gasp* possibly OWN that??) that wakes him up in the morning so that I suppose, he does not oversleep.

FUN FACT: The song being played by the trout alarm clock is "Take me to the River" by Al Green.  Fitting, no?

In any case, it appears that John Dorie likes to maintain his routine and waking up at a set time every morning is part of that.  Along with that, we see that he has other day-to-day activities that he follows: Contributing to his compost machine/generator, renting out movies from the local Bait & Tackle Shop, killing the occasional walkers that attempt to cross his moat, and meticulously cleaning his (2) showpiece guns that he never actually uses (he uses an ax instead to do his dirty work).  His nights seem to be spent typically watching the rental movies he's gotten and even playing scrabble against himself (not a bad way to keep your mind active right?)...but then lying in bed, trying unsuccessfully to get himself to fall asleep. 

It's during one of those sleepless nights that he hears some commotion outside his home.  Upon rushing out, he sees an injured woman passed out in a boat, docked at his shore.  WE, as the viewing audience, are well aware that this is Naomi, the same woman that Madison and crew encountered in episode 2, "Another Day in the Diamond".  It seems that this incident has taken place before that encounter and John Dorie, good man that he is, immediately lifts her and carries her into his home and bed to tend to her wounds.  Upon inspection, it seems that Naomi has a large slice on her side, but always one to look on the bright side, John Dorie states that it at least is not a walker bite and therefore can be mended.  That said, he bandages her up and lets her sleep.

When he wakes up the next day, he wakes to see that his home has been ransacked, cabinet doors left wide open as evidence.  John Dorie then runs outside and sees that Naomi is in his truck, feverishly looking for the car keys to no avail.  Rather than run and stop her however, he accepts the fact that she wants to leave and tells her WHERE the keys are in the car....Only the car battery doesn't work.  Naomi tries to start the car but after sputtering lifelessly, she resigns herself that her plan has failed.  John Dorie then tells her that if she INSISTS on leaving, to at least allow him to help her get her strength back so that she's better equipped to go back out there on her own.  She begrudgingly accepts his offer...with the understanding that she WILL be leaving at some point soon.

Once inside, he begins the process of helping her recover which includes (yikes) sewing up that nasty gash on her abdomen.  He does this based on her instruction and guidance, which gives us clues that Naomi perhaps might've had a past in medicine/nursing and we that John Dorie picks up on this detail as well.  Later on, he goes as far as to prepare fish soup for her and give her some clothes, as he's showing her the bed that will now be her's for as long as she wants it.  Ever the considerate man, he's even created a sort of curtain rod privacy screen for when she sleeps for some semblance of privacy as he sleeps on the couch.  He assures her that it's not a big deal since he's had issues sleeping as of late.  He is able to accurately infer based on her earlier guidance that she was in fact a nurse, prior to the apocalypse.  It's also at this point at the end of the night that he tries to ask her what in the world her name is but all he receives in response to that question is a Thank You for all his help.  He finally dubs her LAURA, because he states that she looks like a Laura.  And therefore moving forward, Naomi will now be referred to as Laura (got it?).

And so goes the back and forth dance between John Dorie and Laura.  The next day, he and Laura paddle in his boat to a nearby Bait shop to get some supplies and they talk further.  John Dorie shares that he was a cop before all of this happened but he prefers to not use firearms unless there is no other option.  They come across some walkers in the water and realize that there's a fence that has been leveled on the overpass and that's where they're coming from.  Once they actually GET to the store, they start picking up items that they need: Laura gets a backpack and various medical supplies; John Dorie proceeds to check out tonight's Movie of the Night.

It's at this movie night back at the house that Laura opts to join John Dorie on the couch to watch, only to eventually release what she's been holding in by simply stating, "I lost my child".  And with that powerful sentence she gets up from the couch and goes to bed.

After this incident, Laura and John Dorie continue their day to day lives of healing, surviving and getting to know each other.  With the removal of Laura's stitches, she feels that her date of departure is imminently approaching, much to his sadness and disappointment.  In the meantime however, John Dorie teaches her how to fish, a skill that acknowledges will come in incredibly useful in this new world.  At night, they eat the fish that they capture and play scrabble with each other.  Not a bad way to exist, all things being considered.

The next day, they decide to go up to the overpass to try and patch up the broken fence where walkers are stumbling through into the watery depths below and subsequently washing ashore to John Dorie's property.  He notices that she has brought with her his guns, which infuriates him since he feels the use of guns only attracts more walkers.  Once they set up the car in the position needed, a walker rips through the paper covering the driver's side window, reaching for John Dorie...yet he still refuses to use his weapon, even with Laura screaming at him to shoot.  Instead he manages to get a hold of a knife and begins to mercilessly stab the walker in the head until both he and Laura are covered in blood.

On their way back, Laura attempts to find out why John is so adamant about refusing to use a firearm, because she can sense there's more to it than just attracting walkers.  He finally reveals HIS deep secret from his past, specifically during his days as a police officer.  He was in a situation where he was facing a would be robber at a gas station and since he did not heed his warning, he was forced to shoot him in the leg.  This was supposed to be just a flesh wound but the assailant instead bled out and died, as a result of his shot.  He was revered as a hero but he felt a huge weight of guilt for what he did which led him to live his life as a pacifistic recluse in this cabin on an island he created for himself.

That night, John once again hears a commotion and when he goes outside he sees that a herd of walkers have washed up on his shores.  He screams for Laura and she comes running and they both begin to immediately attack in unison.  At one point however, Laura is overwhelmed by a group of walkers and ends up tumbling into a trench along with other walkers.

Talk about INTENSE.

It's at this point that Laura screams for John's help and much to her surprise, John, with expert skill and ease executes perfect head shots on all the walkers around her with his two showpiece pistols.  He has saved her.

Once inside the house, John goes back to cleaning his guns and while Laura thanks him for everything he's done, assuring him that he is a just and honorable person, he offers to her one of his pistols.  He insists that if she's going to be out there on her own, he should have this to keep on her side for protection.  That night, during another movie night, Laura opts to sit closer to John rather than the far end of the couch.  She attempts to make conversation and she notices that he is distant and uncomfortable.  He finally gets up and walks away from the couch, asking her to just leave him be, as she questions why he is acting differently.  He finally admits that he loves her but he doesn't want her to know this because she's just going to leave and he'll be left alone.  He only wants her to stay alive because as long as she's alive, he feels alive again as well.

Wow, this was definitely one of those "You make me want to be a better man" moments...except in a zombie post apocalyptic environment.  A pretty rare moment.

In any case, they embrace but, in the harsh light of the morning, John wakes up and cannot find Laura anywhere.  Instead she has left a message in the scrabble tiles stating "I Love You, I'm Sorry".  OUCH.

We then rejoin the present and realize that John had been recounting this story to Morgan, in the wake of receiving the gun he originally gave to Laura from Luciana, along with the scrabble tiles (a memento he seems to carry with him).  He wonders if it was a big mistake to ever tell Laura that he loved her but Morgan emotionally tells him never to say such a thing since in this world, time is so limited that once never knows if that interaction will be the last one.  John agrees and together the two of them march down the road together....but to where exactly is still to be determined.


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