Last night we saw the arrival of Dwight on Fear the Walking Dead, a promised crossover that we knew was taking place sometime this season, and it turned out his first introduction to the group is to John and June.
The trio take on a bunch of walkers in an Old West tourist town, the type John used to work at as a trickshooter, and despite Dwight refusing their help a half dozen times, they finally convince him to come back with them and they’ll help him on his apparently eternal quest to locate Sherry, who sure seems like she doesn’t actually want to be found.
My hope for Dwight’s arrival in Fear is that he turns everything on its head.
Yesterday, I wrote an article about how Fear the Walking Dead killed what made it interesting when Madison (and Nick) died. Before that, the central Clark family was practically the villains of their own story, but after? Once Madison was gone and Morgan arrived in season 4, the entire cast of Fear became a bunch of do-gooding boy scouts leaving supplies randomly on the road in an idiotic display of compassion or crashing planes to try and help random voices on the radio (that was a trick, it turned out, because of course it was).
Morgan is the driving force behind all of this. Once upon a time it seemed like he was actually going to be useful and lead everyone to Alexandria so these shows could merge at last. But clearly that’s not happening, as he forced everyone into this “help random people” detour that barely resembles a coherent plotline.
What I want is for Dwight to the antidote to Morgan, a crossover character that brings the show back to its “survival at all costs” roots. Dwight was the lieutenant to the most bloodthirsty villain this series has ever seen (well, Alpha might have passed Negan by now, but still). Even though he ended up helping Rick’s group in the end, he’s still a morally murky character at best. I am hoping he will take a look around be like “what are you guys doing?” and then force the cast to change gears and be more interesting again as they fight for survival rather than deliver bottled water to non-existent survivors.
Unfortunately, I don’t see this happening. Rather, it seems like Dwight will more than likely simply be absorbed into this cult and fully finish out his transformation into a good guy.
We are already seeing this with his experience with John and June, John being so wholesome it hurts, and he’s baffled that these two would help him after he had them at gunpoint minutes earlier. And when he reunites with Morgan, all is forgiven and suddenly he’s just another cast member with his own noble quest to find his lost love. He does not strike me as someone who is going to prove to be a troublemaker. The problem is literally no one in the group fits that role anymore. Strand is no longer a liar and cheat. Daniel is hard but ultimately a good guy. Alycia is now obsessed with protecting every new child she comes across. June isn’t lying or running away anymore. Charlie is a reformed sociopath thanks to Alycia. John and Morgan were always the purest of the pure. And now Dwight is just another victim of this feel-good nonsense cult of do-gooders than has made Fear so painfully uninteresting the last two seasons.
I hope this isn’t true and the group starts to break apart in one way or another. It has to happen to breathe some life into this cast, because right now, it’s not working, and instead we’re getting goofy fun times episodes where John is splitting bullets with an axe to kill zombies (if there was ever a Walking Dead shark-jumping moment, that might be it).
I hope Fear can turn it around, but without a drastic change in direction, it’s hard to see that happening. Dwight could have been the answer, but early signs already are indicating that he probably won’t be.
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