Fear the Walking Dead showrunners on that Dwight and Sherry reunion
Warning: This article contains spoilers about Sunday’s episode of Fear the Walking Dead titled “Alaska.”
Talk about a misdirect. Sunday’s “Alaska” episode of Fear the Walking Dead was one big build up to a reunion between Althea and her CRM bestie/possible love interest Isabelle. In an installment that felt like a cross between Die Hard and The Raid, Al and Dwight worked their way up a zombie and rat and bubonic plague ravaged office building floor by floor to get up to the roof so that Al could engineer a surprise rendezvous with Isabelle, whose helicopter would be checking in on a drop site.
Al made it to the top, but then realized she would be putting Isabelle at risk if she let her land the chopper due to the plague, so told her to turn around, putting their reunion on indefinite hold. But all was not lost. It turns out there was a box of cipro in the supply box on the roof — enough to treat Dwight, Al, and all the other sick folks in the building.
Not only that, but after one reunion was aborted, an even bigger one took place. The flare that Al shot up to warn off Isabelle was seen by none other than Dwight’s wife Sherry, whom he has not seen since season 7 of The Walking Dead. Their emotional embrace closed out the episode.
It was another strong installment in what has turned out to be a resurgent season of the spin-off series, and one which left us with many questions. Where has Sherry been? Where do she and Dwight go now? And how would Isabelle have reacted if she had landed that helicopter on the roof? We asked those questions and more to Fear showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg. Here’s what they had to say.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Obviously, we have the big reunion between Dwight and Sherry. What can you say about if and when we will learn where she’s been and what she’s been up to?
ANDREW CHAMBLISS: We decided to do it in this episode because it really was an episode about Al and Dwight growing closer, almost as brother and sister, and we wanted to have a surprise ending for Sherry's entrance. So, we thought what better way to do it than in an episode that is actually all about an attempted reunion between two other characters. So, the bulk of this story is about Al trying to make it to the top of that tower so she can be with Isabelle again. And ultimately, it doesn't work out for her.
But because she took that action, and because she ultimately made the right choice for Dwight — and also because Dwight selflessly invested everything of himself in trying to reunite Al with this mystery woman who she's told him very little about — it's almost like his karmic reward that he finds his wife. And we like that on a thematic level. And then just on a pure storytelling level, we thought if everyone's kind of investing in the idea of Al and Isabelle coming together again, they would never see that Sherry was just around the corner. And in terms of the question of where she's been and what she's been up to, that's something that we'll see very soon. Maybe in two weeks.
So, does this mean Dwight and Sherry are going to take off together like he said they would to Althea, or is Sherry going to come back with him under Virginia’s rule?
IAN GOLDBERG: Well, all that's going to be explored in the episode Andrew just teased in a couple weeks. So, don't want to spoil that. But one thing we can say is that Dwight and Sherry have been apart for quite some time. And we've seen the Dwight side of that relationship. And Dwight has undergone a pretty big evolution as a character.
He is not the same man that he was when he was Negan's right-hand man in the Sanctuary. He's become a much more hopeful person. He's really redefined himself. And, again, without spoiling anything, Sherry's also undergone some changes since the last time she saw Dwight. So really what that episode is going to dig into is two people who love each other very much, who've also gone through their own journeys and evolutions apart from each other, and how that's going to affect their relationship going forward.
I think this is the question I'm most curious to hear the answer for. Al’s been trying to find Isabelle.
She ultimately calls off the reunion because of the whole bubonic plague thing. What do you think Isabelle’s reaction would be had she landed that chopper and seen Al there up on that roof?
ANDREW CHAMBLISS: Yeah, it's a very good question, and I'll lay it out this way: Isabelle's protocol would dictate that she shoots Al on the spot. She already gave her a pass on that when they were last together in season 5. So, I think the question that we just have to ask ourselves is if they ever do come face to face, whether Isabelle will be in a place where she values Al more than she values her protocol and the mission she believes in for the CRM.
So, you're not going to answer my question? I knew you wouldn't. You're wily, Chambliss! It's fun watching these episodes so much because it feels very much like season five of The Walking Dead after the prison fell and everyone was split up, or even season four of Fear after the storm, where we got to see these sort of smaller pairings. Was that the idea for this first half of season 6, to drill down deep with some of these characters and get some interesting pairings going on.
IAN GOLDBERG: Exactly. We'd started to experiment with these kinds of stories, even as early as season 4 with Laura and “Close Your Eyes,” and in season 5 episodes like “Humbug's Gulch” or “210 Words Per Minute.” We really love doing the deep dives on two or three characters in an episode. And the setup for the end of season 5 was separating all these characters and pairing them with people that they hadn't necessarily been paired with before.
And there was a way to tell those deep dive character stories, and also has the added benefit of using those anthology episodes to get different lenses into Virginia's different communities. So, each episode really is its own kind of self-contained movie that tells a complete story with its own tone, its own arc for these characters, while still fulfilling on the promise of a building story that everyone is a part of, but we've loved how the new structure has been playing out.
So, we see "The end is the beginning" graffiti again, this time outside the building. It seems the infected rats were left in the building intentionally to make people sick. I have to assume those two things are related. So what sort of light can you shed on the motives for our graffiti artists here?
ANDREW CHAMBLISS: Well, I think we can just talk about that phrase,"The end is the beginning." And perhaps they don't think we actually are in the end. Perhaps they think there's still more work to do to get us there.
Okay, tease time! What can you say about what we're going to see coming up next on Fear the Walking Dead?
ANDREW CHAMBLISS: So, if we're going to stick to comparing it to movies, episode 604 would be Fear the Walking Dead meets Chinatown, with some dental problems.
IAN GOLDBERG: I didn't think he would work the tooth thing into his too. He crossed off two bingo squares there. Let's see. Well, one new character that we have not seen yet in season six is John Dorie. And John Dorie is going to be front and center of the next episode. And I think people might be very surprised by the role that he's assumed for himself within Virginia's communities.