Fear the Walking Dead showrunners on the latest shocking ending
Ian Goldberg and Andrew Chambliss weigh in on another dramatic death and the impending fallout.
Warning: This article contains spoilers about Sunday's midseason premiere of Fear the Walking Dead titled "Things Left To Do."
It did not take long for the repercussions from the murder of John Dorie to be felt on Fear the Walking Dead, and they were felt in a big way on Sunday's "Things Left to Do" episode. Grieving over the death of her husband at the hands of Virginia's
sister daughter Dakota (Zoe Margaret Colletti), June (Jenna Elfman) put a bullet in Ginny's (Colby Minifie) brain, blaming her for the loss with the words "It was you, Virginia. You were the reason. You always were."
June then put on John's hat and walked away deliberately from both the body and Morgan's idyllic new community beyond the dam. But where is she going? We spoke to showrunners Ian Goldberg and Andrew Chambliss about the latest death, June's ultimate destination, Strand's (Colman Domingo) big decision to turn Virginia's army against her, and what's coming next.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This ending of June putting one in Virginia's skull, putting on John's hat and walking away was so freaking badass. Tell me how and when you landed on this moment, not just of Ginny dying and not just at June's hand, but in that exact way?
ANDREW CHAMBLISS: We wanted to really have the shot across the bow in this case, literally, of exactly how deep the fissures were going to run from the fallout of Dorie's death, and we knew from the moment we knew Dorie was going to be killed, that June was going to go a dark place and she was going to make Virginia pay for it. And we chose to end the episode with it because it represents the question that's going to be hanging over the characters for the rest of season 6.
The first half of season 6 was all about these characters who wanted to get back together, but weren't able to do that, and the rest of season 6 is going to be about these characters who can now be together, but we have to ask the question whether they really want to be. And it felt like having June do this act, that's in direct opposition to the rules Morgan laid out for what he wanted to build here, which were all about honoring John Dorie, who in the past episode had said, "You know, the ground has got so much spilled blood on it." He doesn't know if anything can be built better. And June effectively proves him right by breaking the rule.
And then we want it to happen in a way that everyone could be a witness to it, and we could get that great scene as June's walking out of the town with everyone running onto the street. And yeah, we wanted it to feel like a Western, and announce that there are some big changes ahead. And it's just fun to put June in Dorie's cowboy hat and have a part of him continue to live in on in her, even in a visual way.
IAN GOLDBERG: There was also one very early seed of this idea that got planted back in season 5. And it was actually in a conversation with Jenna after we filmed the scene at Tank Town where Virginia first appears and confronts our group. Jenna was fantastic in the scene, but when she was talking to us, she told us that seeing the way Colby Minifie was playing it, and knowing what was happening to the group,
Jenna told us she had this really visceral reaction. She said it was like a mama bear kind of reaction, where she just felt the hair on the back of her neck stand up. And she just kicked into another gear. Something got triggered in her just from the presence of Virginia that, at that point we were like, hmmm… And I think the idea started percolating there, not knowing what the story was going to be for season 6 at all yet, but wouldn't it be interesting if June ended up being the one who put an end to Virginia.
So where is June going when she walks away? Is is she going to Strand? That would be my guess. What can you say about that?
GOLDBERG: Well, she's certainly not going to the town behind the dam wall; she's walking far away from that. I think she knows she's violated that covenant. I think without saying exactly physically where she's going, June's got to be putting herself back together. She has been completely traumatized. She's now, because of killing Virginia, isolated herself from the rest of the group, because she's broken this cardinal rule that Morgan made for what it means to be behind that wall, which is also a violation of what Morgan thought John Dorie would have wanted this place to be.
So I think June is going to be in a place of some real soul-searching, and a redefinition of who she is, and we're going to see that play out over the rest of the season.
Let's back it up a bit. I want to talk about where Strand picks his side earlier in that showdown, when people are down on their knees and lots of guns are out pointed at people's heads. Was he always planning to build and use this army against Virginia or was it more of a "I'll see which way the wind blows and then make a decision?"
GOLDBERG: I think that's always the interesting question with Victor Strand is what's motivating him? Is he doing this for the good of the rest of the group, or is he doing it for the good of himself? And one thing we have been setting up with Strand, even since the end of season 5, is this idea that he wants to do damage from the inside. He believes that he can take Virginia down, he can help the rest of the group by elevating himself within Virginia's organization. And we've seen him do that over the course of season 6, and sometimes in some really morally gray ways — if you think about what he did to Sanjay back in episode 602, and how that's caused a fracture in his relationship with Alicia and the rest of the group — you see that Strand isn't afraid to get his hands dirty in the name of doing damage from the inside.
And this is the real moment of decision where he sees everything that he's done up to this point has led to this moment, and finally, the wind is blowing in such a direction that he can turn the tables on Virginia. And I think ultimately, this is what he wanted. He wanted to be able to earn just enough of Virginia's trust to put himself in this position, but it doesn't erase the fact he's done a lot of bad things to get there, and he has broken the trust of the people who he cares about the most. And so even though he's very instrumental in turning the tide on Virginia here, it doesn't mean the path back to reconciliation with the rest of the group is going to be an easy one.
So Victor basically tells Morgan, "Give me Ginny back, we need to take her." And he's like, "Well, I can't do that, because they've taken Grace and Daniel, and they're going to be toast if I do that." So is Victor, in terms of this whole decision-making that he's doing here, is he okay with potentially sacrificing Grace and Daniel by taking Ginny?
CHAMBLISS: I think Strand is definitely in a position where he is putting himself first and he wants to satisfy the Rangers. He sees the opportunity to slide into the power vacuum that Virginia has left behind. And obviously there's a lot of water under the bridge between him and Daniel, and I wouldn't put it past him to even risk Grace in that way. I'm sure Strand is doing what he does. He would convince himself that there's a way to take Virginia and still get Grace and Daniel. But it's an interesting question, and it's one that we're going to see Strand really grappling with as the power dynamics continue to shake out, and as people kind of continue to pick sides, now that Virginia is off the table at the end of the episode.
So Morgan and Grace are reunited, but some other duos are still split up: Dwight and Sherry as well as Strand and Alicia. What can you say moving forward about those relationships now that they are playing on different teams?
CHAMBLISS: Yeah, it really is going to be putting all these characters in a position where they're going to have to figure out who they are and what they want on their own. They're not going to be able to rely on the relationships that they've had in the past, the people that they've had around them, who've helped define who they are. A lot of these people are going to have to ask questions: Who do I want to be? What do I want? And does that mean I have to let go of my past relationships? And some people may get to the answer that yes, they do. Other people may realize that there's some middle ground and they can come back together with the people they were closest to, but that's all the grist for the drama they're going to go through in the back half of the season.
How do these three groups in general now view each other? Is it kind of stay out of our way and we'll stay out of yours?
GOLDBERG: Well, I mean, yes and no. One thing we're going to see in the back half of this season is there's still a looming threat out there, which are these people that are spray painting "The end is the beginning," the people who took out Tank Town, the ones who were spray painting the sub in 601. That group is going to rise to the forefront in a really dramatic way in the back half. And it's going to really test our fractured family of characters, because they're going to have to find a way to reckon with that threat. And yes, they're in a place where they're not unified, and that's just going to make it all the more interesting when they're facing a threat that we'll see is just as formidable, if not more so, than Virginia.
Okay, what can you say about what's coming up?
CHAMBLISS: I'll just say the entire season is fascinating. I think people should go back and look at what John Dorie has said in the first half of the season, because it will offer a clue as to one of the big threats in the back half of the season.
GOLDBERG: If you liked Daniel Salazar, you're going to love the next episode.
CHAMBLISS: We may find out what happened to Skidmark.
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