This Fear the Walking Dead review contains spoilers.
Fear the Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 5
Well, here we are, another week and yet another mission to take down Ginny by turning her own plans against her. This time, in “Honey,” it’s newly reunited Dwight (Austin Amelio) and Sherry (Christine Evangelista) seeking to turn things to their advantage. But what starts out as a simple plan to steal back Al’s SWAT van turns into a power struggle when Morgan (Lennie James) suddenly turns up to muddy everyone’s thinking.
In short order, tables are turned. Then turned again. Lovers are reunited, then separated. In the end, this episode feels like a retread of something we’ve seen a few too many times in 16 seasons of Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead. Intentionally or not, Dwight himself sums it up best when late in the episode he tells Morgan, “We all want our own lives under our own rules. So there’s a fight. And somebody’s gotta lose.” If this isn’t all of TWD in a nutshell, I don’t know what is.
Which begs the question: how many times can we see this basic premise play out in Fear before AMC is simply beating a dead horse? Fear may have come back strong with season 6, but it stumbles mightily here.
This isn’t to say that Amelio and Evangelista don’t do fine work, because just the opposite is true. Dwight and Sherry have a lot to lose, and we root for them because as individuals they’ve been broken by this world, broken and put back together. Except some pieces are missing or out of place; they’re not quite the same, sane people they once were. They see it in each other’s faces, reflected in their lovers’ intent, haunted gaze.
This is the stuff of tragedy, and in any other show, in any other universe, this might be Dwight and Sherry’s tale alone to tell. But it’s not. Their love story is playing out in a grim world beset by monsters on both sides of a protective wall.
By now we already understand TWD’s biggest threats aren’t the dead. Which is why taking down Ginny may be noble, but we’ve seen one too many petty tyrants rise and fall between Fear and TWD. This episode’s recursive nature is ironic, given its theme of transformation. Indeed, if season 6 has been about anything, it’s the idea of change. Surely this is a notion anyone can get behind, especially now. But as the world has learned the hard way, people are resistant to change and will fight against it tooth and nail—even if said change is proven to save lives.
Morgan best personifies this idea of transformation. His journey through the Walking Dead universe has been fraught with change. And yet his desire to do good in the world has remained steadfast, sometimes to the detriment of those closest to him. This is the path that Dwight now walks in “Honey.” After aligning himself with Sherry’s masked group of settlement outcasts, he finally sees a way forward for ridding the world of Ginny. The problem is he’s so committed to being with Sherry that he’s willing to become a monster in the process.
Which brings us to Rollie.
Like Holly Curran’s Janis, Cory Hart’s Rollie first appeared last season but didn’t get a lot of screen time. If you’ll recall, Rollie was originally part of Logan’s crew, who antagonized Morgan’s group throughout much of season 5. But it’s in “210 Words Per Minute” that Rollie and Dwight first crossed paths. Following Morgan’s example to help others—not hurt them—Dwight spared Rollie’s life. While this may have been an important moment for Dwight, I don’t know if Rollie’s reveal in “Honey” has the sort of impact Fear intended. Sure, it’s a nice thought that kindness begets kindness, but I really do think Fear’s faction fatigue may be hurting the show, especially when you consider the subdivisions within these groups—each with its own agenda and means of achieving their goals.
More than anything, this is Dwight’s episode. Like Morgan, his journey through the Walking Dead universe has been complicated. In “Honey,” Dwight is caught between two worlds. He and Sherry ultimately want the same thing, but they can’t agree on how to make that happen. Think of it as impulse vs. patience. Yet as we see in his interaction with Ginny’s captured driver, any gains Dwight has made since fleeing Negan’s sanctuary are being erased. Plus, even as he’s willing to sideline his newfound family, that same family is prepared to sideline him.
In the end, Dwight is foiled by Sherry herself. She sees his slow fall from grace and fears he may revert to who he was within Negan’s walls. As it is, she blames herself for allowing Negan to be a monstrous presence in everyone’s lives. In other words, she’s suffered one tyrant too many.
As much as I appreciate and believe in the idea of effecting change, it doesn’t quite work as presented here. Why? Because Sherry’s own transformation seems to come out of left field, especially when you consider she kept this masked faction from Dwight. This new group itself feels a bit tacked on to a season that’s already contending with Ginny, the CRM, and Emile’s associates.
By episode’s end, Dwight agrees to Morgan’s more measured approach to toppling Ginny, even if it means being separated again from Sherry. In the meantime, Morgan is ready to lead the office workers we met in “Alaska” to the promised land. Now, it’s Dwight’s turn to leave cryptic messages for Sherry that will hopefully reunite them once more.
I wish I could say “Honey” is as satisfying as the episodes that came before it, especially given the pedigreed talent behind the camera. Michael E. Satrazemis directed season 4’s “Laura” and “Close Your Eyes”—which are among the show’s best. And writer Ashley Cardiff penned last season’s excellent “Leave What You Don’t.” Perhaps it all boils down to the Walking Dead universe itself being incapable of sustaining positive, long-lasting change, leaving viewers with a nagging sense of been there, done that. After all, even if our heroes succeed in taking down Ginny, we already know another villain will be waiting to take her place.