After two increasingly impressive episodes of AMC's Fear the Walking Dead that saw Lennie James and Alycia Debnam-Carey spend some time on the other side of the camera, this weekend's S07E12 "Sonny Boy" (directed by Ron Underwood and written by Justin Boyd & Jacob Pinion) shifted the focus inside the Tower. And let's just say that being nearly poisoned to death by Morgan (James) hasn't exactly helped Victor (Colman Domingo) see the light. As Dorie (Keith Carradine) waits for the right moment to get an audience with him, Victor and Howard (Omid Abtahi) begin rooting out what Victor believes to be a "resistance" within the Tower and offering them some "rooftop" justice.
But that all changes when a walkie-talkie is found in Howard's residence- a walkie-talkie Howard swears he knows nothing about. But just when Dorie sees this as a possible way to get to Victor, Strand learns that Baby Mo is missing. Well, you can just imagine how well that went over (actually, you don't have to imagine since we're assuming you watched the episode since you're reading this). What followed was an episode that once again demonstrated the franchise's ability to tell different genre-style stories even in a walker apocalypse, offering a chapter that deftly blended detective noir, family drama, and political thriller. And in the center of it all? John Dorie, Sr., Fear TWD's tragic "Don Quixote." So with that in mind, we're throwing on the "MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!" sign, throwing down an image spoiler buffer, and meeting you on the other side for a deeper dive into "Sonny Boy."
The Dories: A Tragic Cautionary Tale: Through every episode and every season of The Walking Dead, The Walking Dead: World Beyond & Fear the Walking Dead, one prevalent theme has been brutally clear. Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it… and probably die horribly from it. With Garret Dillanunt's Dorie, Jr., we had a man who thought cutting himself off from the world was the answer when the tragic irony was that staying connected may have saved his life. But with Dorie, we have someone even more heartbreaking because we believed that the death of his son brought the kind of epiphany needed to help him move on.
But as we saw glimpses of this season and what became all-too-clear in this episode, what was driving him wasn't a new sense of purpose but a need to relive the past and "do better" than he did before. He was going to win Victor over to his side… just like he did Teddy? He was going to plant evidence as a way of creating a "good situation"… just like Teddy? And worst of all, the well-intended but short-sighted "savior complex" that had him believing that he had the right words to save the day. But they didn't. Instead, Dorie was left with the realities of his failings. Victor was never going to listen to him… was never going to change the Tower… was never going to do any of the things Dorie was so convinced he could deliver. So when we saw how Dorie was dressed to deliver Baby Mo to Morgan, we couldn't help but smile a sad smile as our "Don Quixote" finally tilted at a windmill that was actually a monster- securing his true legacy with the only thing left he had to offer. His life.
Fear the Walking Dead S07E12 "Sonny Boy": Random Thoughts
So with our main thought now out of our brains and on the screen, here's a look at some of the random thoughts that ran through our brains while screening "Sonny Boy":
"Legacy" Isn't for Selfish or Short-Sighted: Victor, Dorie & Howard thought they could control & dictate their respective legacies and each learned in various ways just how foolish of an idea that is. Thankfully, Dorie learned the truth… unfortunately, too late for him but just in time for a chance at a better future.
Family Matters: Another theme that's been punching us in the face all season is "dysfunctional families." I addressed the Dorie issue earlier, but then we also have Victor's plans for Baby Mo and Howard's body count in his efforts to get his family to the Tower in this episode alone to drive the point home. Of course, we had Daniel (Ruben Blades) and his lingering guilt with his deceased daughter Ofelia and Wes' (Colby Hollman) storm of feelings over having killed his own brother. And don't get us started on the "family" issues that are going to be in play when Madison (Kim Dickens) returns later this season.
Colman Domingo Delivers Lines Like Nobody's Business Example #987: "I'm still going to need you to do that other thing I asked" (to Dorie, regarding throwing Howard from the roof).
The "Biggest Punch to The Feels" Award Goes To…: As if having to watch Dorie walk through the walkers to his death wasn't bad enough, listening to Carradine and Karen David's (Grace) pseudo-dueting of "Sonny Boy" got the watery eyes going.
That's three excellent outings in a row for AMC's Fear the Walking Dead, with next week's "The Raft" shifting the spotlight to Dwight (Austin Amelio) and Sherry (Christine Evangelista) as they must choose between their code and surviving.