Fear the Walking Dead fills in the backstory of John Dorie (Garret Dillahunt). Laura is a quiet episode by this series standards. There's the requisite zombie kills, but set against a romantic backdrop. We learned last week that John's beloved Laura was in fact Naomi (Jenna Elfman). Their time together explains why he didn't know her real name, but only a few clues to her past.
Laura begins with John on his porch cleaning his prized pistols. He lives in a remote cabin beside a river. He's dug a trench in front as a barrier against walkers. John puts away his guns and goes about his daily routine. He plays scrabble by himself, watches movies, and prepares breakfast in silence. At night he lies awake, getting up when he hears walkers washing up on the river. He has an axe on a hook that takes care of the deed.
John is in bed when he hears a noise. He walks to the river to see an injured women draped over his canoe. He carries her inside and lays her down. She has a long cut on her left side. John dresses her wounds, then puts her to sleep. The next morning he awakens to find her breaking into his car. He tells her the keys are in the visor. She starts the car, but the engine doesn't turn over. John tells her it needs a new battery. She can stay with him until she heals fully. He'll help her get supplied.
Inside the cabin, she instructs John to sew up her wound. She grimaces, but not much else when he stitches her up. That night he serves her fish stew. He deduces that she must have been a nurse or a doctor. He introduces himself as John Dorie, then calls her Laura. She looks like a "Laura" to him.
He rigs up a curtain by his bed to give her privacy. She at first resists. She can sleep on the couch, but he insists. He only sleeps two hours a night. He then gives her fresh clothes with the logo of his weekend pastime. John would teach shooting and lassoing at a Wild West show. Laura goes to sleep, but wakes up to a clicking noise. She sneaks up to the front porch to see John cleaning his pistols.
The next day, several walkers wash up on shore. John deduces there's something happening up stream. It's Tuesday, the day he goes to the store. Laura asks to come with him. He appreciates the company. He's been alone for some time. John brings her boots. She refuses them. She wants to stay in her sneakers. She might have to run.
John paddles her in the canoe upstream. She asks about his past. He was once a police officer, but not keen on talking about it. Laura wonders why he doesn't bring his guns. He responds that they cause more trouble than preventing them. They reach a bridge where the side railing has collapsed. The source of the walkers is revealed.
John leads her to Bill's store. The place is still fully stocked. John only shops what he needs. He takes a movie, even though he's seen everything many times. Laura grabs a handful of candies, but puts a supply of gauze, splints, and tape in a clear spot. Her way of making sure people can get aid quickly. John is impressed by this kindness. They go to the bridge and fix the gap with metal sheeting.
Later that night, Laura joins John as he watches his movie. He tells her how he melts butterscotch and caramel to make brittle. John falls asleep. He awakens with Laura still watching TV. She turns and says, "I lost my child". Then gets up and goes to bed.
The next day, John is fishing by the river. Laura wants to learn how. He teaches her, and she quickly reels in a fish. He shows her how to gut and clean it. They have a fish dinner and play scrabble. A montage follows of time passing. They fish, watch TV, and continue to play scrabble. John removes her bandages to take out the stitches. Her wound has healed. She replies it's time to go. John goes outside to put down more walkers. It seems that the bridge problems remain.
Laura asks to help him fix the bridge. She wants to repay him for his kindness. He is an honorable man. At the bridge, he watches as she hotwires a car. She learned this skill in a camp. John becomes upset when he sees she has brought his guns. She doesn't understand why. They dispatch the walkers on the bridge the old fashioned way.
Laura looks out as John backs a jeep in front of the breach. A walker with a machete in his chest approaches the car. The machete pierces the window. Laura screams for John to shoot it. He cannot. John struggles, but finally kills it. Stabbing the walker viciously until they are both covered in blood.
At the cabin, Laura wants to know why he doesn't use his weapons. He explains that he killed a man when he was off duty. He came upon a robbery at a store. He warned that he was a cop, but the man did not back down. John aimed to "clip him in the leg", but the guy turned and "bled out". People hailed him as a hero, but he didn't feel that way. This is why he moved to the remote cabin.
That night on the bridge, a horde of walkers overturn the jeep and pour into the water. They wash up by the cabin. John gets up to investigate the noise. He screams for Laura as the horde approaches. They attack the walkers, but the bodies build up in the trench. Moving unimpeded to the cabin. Laura is surrounded and knocked over. As she is about to be killed, John gets his guns. He kills all the walkers with his deadly accuracy. Twirling the guns into his holster after he's done.
That night, Laura tells him she was "very lucky to have washed up in your front yard". John gives her one of his prized pistols. Then turns away to his porch. He tells her that "he loves her". He doesn't want her to leave. But if she wants to be alone, then he will leave. He needs her to stay alive; with her, "the whole world feels alive". She approaches him and they kiss passionately.
When John awakes the next day, Laura has vanished. She leaves him a message in scrabble letters. "I love you too. I'm sorry". She has taken the boots and left her sneakers. The story flashes to the present. John is teary-eyed, sitting by the side of the road with Morgan (Lennie James). He holds a tin with the scrabble letters. Morgan says "she loved you". John wondered if he should have waited to tell her, but Morgan disagrees. "There is no waiting, not in this world". John believed they would have another chance. Morgan tells him that they are alive. There's more to this world than the killing Alicia, Victor, and Luciana plan to do. John takes Laura's pistol, twirls, then holsters it on his left side. He and Morgan continue the journey together.
I don't believe that Naomi/Laura is dead. Even though Alicia said she was killed, we still don't know what happened at the diamond. Jenna Elfman is a series regular. It makes no sense to hire her for a few episodes. John and his Laura will meet again somewhere down the line. Tune in next week to AMC as the hunt for the Vultures continues.