We catch up with the gunslinger in Fear the Walking Dead chapter four. In “The Key,” John Dorie (Garret Dillahunt) settles in as one of Ginny’s (Colby Minifie) rangers until a mysterious death makes him question everything. Morgan (Lennie James) searches for Grace (Karen David).
John writes a letter to June (Jenna Elfman) to talk about his daily life. He is one of Ginny’s rangers, more like a cop. Protecting and serving the community of Lawton. But really, he’s a lookout. He has an everyday routine, waking up, making coffee, and relieving the same guy, Cameron (Noah Khyle).
Janis (Holly Curran) helps John out every now and then, sending his letters to June and delivering letters from her through the laundry system. Oh and John has a toothache. No more candy for him. The routine is disrupted when Cameron misses his shift. John finds him in the fence, dead with walkers feeding on him.
Morgan and Daniel (Rubén Blades) designated a drop-off point for supplies. Daniel found Grace’s jacket and left it for Morgan. Morgan let’s Rufus sniff the jacket so he can find her. He’s not really sure how it’s supposed to work and he’s afraid she won’t recognize him. He has to try though.
Back in Lawton, Ginny assumes Cameron died because he was drunk and stumbled into the fence. John thinks otherwise and takes a look around the fence. He finds a single earring. Strand (Colman Domingo) returns for a meeting with Ginny and John tells him about his suspicions. Strand says he will help when he’s ready to talk to Ginny.
John goes to Janis for answers. Janis doesn’t know anything but she’s acting really sketchy. John tells her to be careful because she’s family. He decides to talk to Ginny about starting an investigation. She reluctantly agrees, but tells him to keep quiet about it. She wants people to feel safe in Lawton.
The town holds a funeral for Cameron, officiated by Rabbi Jacob Kessner (Peter Jacobson). Jacob talks about being just and worthy. John watches Ginny as he talks. Afterward John gives his candy to Dakota (Zoe Colletti). Ginny sees them talking and tells Dakota to go home.
They hear a man yelling and run back to the town. The rangers have Janice handcuffed after she tried to escape through the fence. Ginny thinks she’s trying to run away again. They check her bag food and water. Ginny also finds an earring, matching the one John found at the fence.
John locks up Janice, thinking she lied to him. He found a sketchbook in Cameron’s home. Cameron drew a picture of a woman in bed that looks like Janis. Janis says Ginny’s had it out for her since Paradise Ridge. She didn’t kill Cameron, but Ginny decided she did. John says he can prove otherwise.
Janis comes clean about her relationship with Cameron. They were together but hid it because they were afraid Ginny would split them up. They gathered supplies and hid them so they could run away together. She tried to run because she didn’t want to stay in Lawton without Cameron. They are interrupted when Ginny asks to talk to John. He promises Janis that he will do everything he can to set things straight.
Ginny thanks John for his work on the case, even though he doesn’t think Janis killed Cameron. Whether she did or not is not Ginny’s concern. John asks to continue his investigation, but Ginny knows Janis transported his letters. Cameron gave them to her to read before sending them to and from John. Ginny’s not worried. She knows John is invested in the community. As for Janis, an example will need to be made.
Ginny tells him to go home and be proud of his work. She’s proud of him and knows his daddy would be too. Dakota stops him as he leaves Ginny’s office to ask him about being a cop. She says Ginny is protecting someone and tells John to keep looking. Ginny sees them talking and tells Dakota to get in the house.
John digs up Cameron’s body and finds a piece of wood in his hand. The next day he tells Strand that Cameron’s throat was cut. When the walkers chewed on him, they covered up the evidence. John shows him the wood piece and says it’s from a knife handle. The rangers keep track of all of the weapons in the community. And Strand happens to have a key to the amory. John looks through the weapons drawers and sees that there is a knife missing. When he looks at the check out log, the page is missing. Ginny doesn’t want John to find out who has the knife.
YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH
John decides to keep looking, but Strand warns him to think it through. If he continues down this path, there’s not going back. John visits Janis and tells her what he found. She tells him to stop his investigation. Ginny and Strand arrive and say Janis is going to confess. Janis says she lied to John. She says the night they were going to run away, Cameron backed out and she got upset. She says she pushed him into the fence and watched the dead tear him apart.
Ginny is determined to go ahead with her plans to make an example of Janis. She gives John time to say goodbye. After Ginny leaves, John asks why Janis is doing this. She doesn’t have anyone left. But John does. She tells him about their gas supply and dirtbike they hid. Janis tells John to find June and get out of there. John thinks they can save her, but she tells him to let her go.
Later that night, Jacob visits with John. He says Janis will be executed at daybreak. Jacob sees the cans of gas and asks if he’s going to run. John says he won’t. He wants to clear Janis’ name. He tells Jacob a story about his dad breaking the rules to catch a killer. His dad succeeded but his peers never looked at him the same again. Jacob warns John that what he’s doing could cost him, but John’s not worried about himself. He knows he will never see June again. His dad chose life even though it cost him his own life. That’s the choice John is making.
Jacob says they can find another way. He offers to talk to Ginny to buy more time. John says they don’t have time. He gives Jacob a letter and makes sure June gets it. Jacob takes the letter and is positive John will see her again.
A LITTLE TOO LATE
John packs a bag and walks to the prison. Janis is already gone. She’s tied to a stake outside the gates with music blaring. The walkers are eating on something. John shoots them all. He finds Janis. She’s torn in half and dead. He shoots her in the head then shoots the radio.
The next morning, John buries Janis. He returns to Lawton where Jacob and Strand are waiting for him. He knows Strand told Ginny everything, but Strand says he only said Janis was a flight risk. John hits Strand and walks away. Strand tackles John and they start fighting.
John reaches for his gun, but Jacob kicks it away. John blames Strand for Janis’ death, but Ginny was going to kill her one way or another. Strand prevented John from being taken down with Janis. Jacob tries to console John, but he pulls away, saying that place destroys everything.
Ginny addresses the community about the safety of Lawton. John stands by her as Ginny talks about how good and decent he is and how he helped keep the community safe after Cameron’s death. She gives him a key for his good deeds.
John lies awake in bed when he hears a knock at the door. It’s June. She was transferred and is reunited with her husband. He finally pulls the bad tooth.
Morgan and Rufus drive to Humbug Gulch. Another car hits the truck, but they are okay. Morgan gets out to check the other car. A man gets out of the car and Morgan asks if it was an accident. The man asks for Emile, the ranger who hunted down Morgan. Morgan says Virginia knows where he is, but the guy doesn’t know who Virginia is. He hired Emile to retrieve a key.
Another man gets out of the car and Morgan knows they are going to attack him. He tells them to stop, but they attack anyway. Morgan kills them both with the aikido ax. He looks at the key and wonders what it unlocks.