“Things Left to Do” continues to make some ballsy storytelling decisions as another major character bites the dust.
This recap of Fear the Walking Dead season 6, episode 9, “Things Left to Do”, contains spoilers.
The 6B episodes of Fear the Walking Dead really aren’t playing around. After annoying almost all of the remaining fanbase last week by killing fan-favourite character John Dorie out of nowhere, “Things Left to Do” gives the audience their revenge by killing off the season’s primary antagonist. Where the show goes from here is anyone’s guess, really, especially given there isn’t really a clear shape to the narrative anymore, but with this kind of no-holds-barred storytelling, it should be fun finding out either way.
The episode opens, fittingly, with June burying John as Ginny frantically radios Morgan in the background. For a split second, after lifting John’s gun out of his grave, June contemplates shooting Ginny, but one of her rangers holds a gun to her head to disabuse her of the notion. This, it turns out, is major foreshadowing for the end of Fear the Walking Dead season 6, episode 9, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
In her desperation to get Dakota back, Ginny has Strand line up Daniel, Luciana, Sarah, and Grace, and interrogates them for information about Morgan’s whereabouts. Nobody knows anything of course, but when Ginny turns on Grace, Morgan reveals himself anyway. But he comes with the news that Dakota killed Ranger Cameron and Ginny covered it up; the lie these people are being sold about order and stability is a myth. Virginia’s civilization is as lawless and corrupt as any other. All her rules apply to everyone but herself.
Just like that, almost all of Ginny’s people turn on her as Strand makes his move. It was obvious he was playing a long game, so this is no surprise, but even by the episode’s end it’s difficult to tell where his loyalties are or what his endgame is. In the confusion of the shootout that erupts after he turns on Ginny, she’s able to spirit Grace and Daniel away, so Morgan is forced to flee with her so that he can exchange Dakota for the pair of them.
While they’re alone together, Morgan reveals that Dakota was the one who saved him at Humbug’s Gulch, mostly to spite her sister. Ginny, visibly upset to hear this, then drops a pretty major bombshell about their relationship — Dakota isn’t her sister, she’s her daughter. Her various decisions certainly make slightly more sense in this context, though they remain largely unjustifiable. But before Morgan has a chance to grapple with this, Sherry and her people arrive in the SWAT van and Morgan and Ginny are forced to flee into the woods. They separate briefly, and Sherry chases Dakota down, but Morgan is able to disarm her and get them both away. Ginny will pay for what she’s done, he assures Sherry, but not right now.
Of course, Morgan takes Ginny to the dam, and nobody there is happy to see her, especially since he didn’t let anyone know they were coming because it was too risky to use the radio. Nevertheless, and somewhat hilariously, Strand and his rangers, and Sherry and the SWAT van, all turn up outside out of nowhere, causing a standoff. Everyone wants Ginny, and they’re willing to forcibly take her if Morgan doesn’t hand her over, but Morgan needs Ginny to release Grace and Daniel. Catch-22. It’s Ginny herself who proposes a solution. She’s willing to go outside and face her fate under two conditions: 1) Dakota stays at the dam, and 2) Morgan is the one who kills her so she doesn’t have to suffer.
Here, Fear the Walking Dead season 6, episode 9 is really paying off Morgan’s long-time arc — is he a pacifistic man of the people, or is he a cold-blooded killer? As it turns out, a little from column A, and a little from column B. He has Ginny kneel with her head laid on a convenient rock to await the guillotine, but despite multiple black-and-white flashbacks to her various crimes, he can’t go through with it (side note: Colby Minifie is really good here). He doesn’t see how a life that is supposedly starting anew can begin with this act of violence; with the same cycle repeating itself again and again. The only way to really begin again is the truth, so he takes Ginny back inside to confess to Dakota that she’s her mother. And, predictably, she doesn’t take the news well.
Morgan, though, never one to miss the opportunity for a speech, heads outside and proposes that the killing stops by making Ginny live with what she has done. He symbolically puts his axe in the ground, willing to leave it there until it’s needed again, which one imagines won’t be long. Morgan invites anyone who wants to stay and abide by this new way of living to do so. June does, as do Sarah, the Rabbi Jacob Kessner, and Grace. Dwight tries to convince Sherry to come inside but she’s not there yet. Strand isn’t keen either. He says that the thing Ginny was building an army for is still coming and he’ll give Alicia a reason to come and join him. When Morgan finally embraces Grace, his axe is in the foreground of the shot, a reminder that violence is never far behind.
“Things Left to Do” proves this almost immediately. Jacob has a note for June, written by John when he thought he was never going to see her again, which he hands over. To what extent this contributes to her next decision isn’t clear. But, either way, after Morgan says that Ginny and Dakota will be allowed to leave together as she suggested earlier, for Dakota’s sake, June offers to change the dressing on her wound. As a mother who also got people killed by trying to protect her child, June on some level understands why Ginny did the things that she did. But, understanding or not, she pulls out John’s gun and shoots Ginny dead. As she leaves, she walks right past Morgan’s planted axe. I told you violence wasn’t far behind.