Character building episodes are always a necessary tool to get fans interested in characters. However, for whatever reason or reasons, it doesn’t always work. In “Laura”, Fear the Walking Dead not only made you sit up and take notice of two great actors and characters but actually gave a zombie show a romance that works.
The bulk of the episode revolves around John Dorie and how he is surviving after the zombie apocalypse. As it turns out, he’s doing quite well, thank you very much, although the life of solitude is rather haunting and sad. Still, he goes fishing, picks fruit and berries, places Scrabble, watches TV and endlessly polishes he guns, a ritual we come to understand later on. So when a woman washes up on shore, with a wound that needs tending, you can’t help but understand how John becomes quickly attached to her.
The woman in question is Laura, or as we know her from earlier, Naomi. She is the same woman, ready to flee at a moment’s notice, running from horrible things in her past that many survivors in this new world suffer from. After her attempt to flee fails, John convinces her to stay, even after she stole things as well, and a bond slowly begins to form between the two.
John Dorie also has moments that haunt his past, things he explains later on, and it just adds to the overall polish of the man. He is a good, honorable person who is trying to do his best, something that you don’t see very much in this new world. Eventually, Laura begins to fall for him, but then she is gone, leaving him a short note in Scrabble pieces and taking the boots and gun he offered her. The look on John’s face is devastating and Garret Dillahunt is absolutely amazing in conveying his feelings through simple facial moments and slow, deliberate actions.
Dillahunt and Elfman are really good together and one hopes that not only do they meet up again but stay alive long enough for us to enjoy their reunion. It’s hard to predict if they will be on the show past this season but what they have provided so far has elevated this season to another level. You could argue the whole romance thing happened too fast but really, how could you not love John Dorie, especially if you were Laura and how he treats her?
I enjoyed the casual way John, and later Laura, would get up and kill the zombies that washed up on the shore. I didn’t really care for the whole zombies-falling-off-the-bridge part of the episode but it did help some of the overall story move along. I must admit, I laughed out loud when I saw what John did at the local store concerning the movie selection. Only he would do that, trying to still be honorable in a world that has gone to hell.
It will be interesting to see what the writers do with this part of the overall story now. We have the background on these two for the most part, so will they be doomed lovers or get together again? Either way, “Laura” was very well done and maybe the best episode of the year so far.
Four and a half stars out of five
- Dillahunt and Elfman are fantastic
- Romance in a zombie TV show that works? Who would have thought?
- John Dorie is as honorable as they come in this new post-apocalypse world.
- Bridges zombies were a bit dumb