Spoilers ahead for the May 13 episode of Fear The Walking Dead. Fear The Walking Dead, like The Walking Dead before it, is not afraid to do a stand-alone episode that mixes other genres into the post-apocalyptic setting. This week, delightfully, is an hour-long romantic dramedy between Garret Dillahunt's character and Jenna Elfman's character. Will John and Naomi reunite on Fear The Walking Dead? Dorie actually knew her as Laura, but their connection was real.
Last Sunday, the mysterious owner of the second "J.D." gun was revealed and audiences discovered that Naomi, who Madison brought back to the stadium, was John's Laura, who he was so determined to find. This week, their slow burn romance plays out over the hour — not telling fans much that they didn't already know, but definitely making John's need to find Laura all the more urgent. This is a 'ship to root for on Fear.
There's just one problem. As far as Alicia, Strand, and Luciana are concerned, Naomi is dead. She didn't make it out of the stadium, they told John in a previous episode. There is no way, in their minds, that she could still be alive. On the flip side, there is no way, in John's mind, that she could be dead. So there's a lot of faith on either side here, and no available facts.
In a lot of ways, Naomi is a lot like John's new friend Morgan. She doesn't intend to stay with Dorie for long, but gets drawn in anyway. How could you not? John has movie nights, and popcorn, and candy. He can teach you how to fly fish. He's pretty unlike any other character in The Walking Dead universe — capable, but quiet. Both characters have found a companion in him, but Naomi ultimately left.
"She’s not a fan of being in a group and is very, very skittish about that for very specific reasons," Elfman said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "It’s echoing Morgan’s journey of isolation versus community and that trauma and loss does to people. You hit a watershed moment where you are going to go one way or the other, and what are the determining factors that influence the one direction or the other?"
This flashback also aligns with how she was initially not interested in joining Madison's stadium community, but still doesn't explain why. Something clearly happened to Naomi, even before she met John Dorie, to convince her that solitude was the way to go in the apocalypse.
"Madison risked her own life to save Naomi and was so kind to bring me back there that you can’t help but have a social response to that because it’s therapeutic. Help is therapeutic and that world out there is not therapeutic. But her experiences have shown her that while that community could be therapeutic, it can also be the source of problems. She’s got big reasons why this is the last place she wants to be. But at the same, it’s therapeutic and that’s the problem."
One thing the episode does confirm is that John's feelings for Naomi were reciprocated. She left him behind, and is going through her own stuff, but clearly cares about him. On Talking Dead, Elfman talked about Naomi's need to bolt in her heart. It's something the show will hopefully explore more, especially as it parallels Morgan Jones' journey — so cross your fingers that she is still alive.
Fairy tales seem rarer than ever when there are zombies about, but it seems like John and Laura/Naomi's story isn't over. One way or another, they will probably find each other again. At the end of the episode, John and Morgan vow to start living their lives and set off on a path — and even if that path is towards a fight, Naomi better be there.