The widowed June Dorie (Jenna Elfman) reads a goodbye letter from her husband John Dorie (Garret Dillahunt) on the latest Fear the Walking Dead. Spoilers for Sunday's Season 6 Episode 13, "J.D." When the newlyweds were forcibly separated by Virginia (Colby Minifie) at Humbug's Gulch, John and June kept in touch through letters Janis (Holly Curran) smuggled out of the Lawton settlement where Ranger Dorie investigated ugly mustard he suspected was murder. John entrusted the last of these just-in-case letters to Rabbi Jacob (Peter Jacobson), who delivered the letter to June after her husband was gunned down by the Lawton killer: Virginia's daughter Dakota (Zoe Colletti).
When June's investigation into the group behind the "the end is the beginning" tagging turns up John's estranged father, John Dorie Sr. (Keith Carradine), they dispose of a trespassing Ranger Hill (Craig Nigh) at the cabin hideout where June unceremoniously buried John.
During a proper funeral attended by Dwight (Austin Amelio) and Sherry (Christine Evangelista) — whose reunion was made possible by John and June at Humbug's Gulch — June reads John's final letter for the first time:
June. This the hardest decision of my life. One that I hope you can find in your heart to forgive me for making... leaving you behind to save an innocent person's life. Knowing it might mean I never see you again. Even so, I believe you'll forgive me one day. Same way I forgave Dad for leaving me. Took me a few years to see it from his shoes, but I forgave him. He was a good man, and in his own way, he did what he did because he loved me, just like I'm doing what I'm doing 'cause I love you. But no matter what happens, sure as the sun sets, I will never stop trying to get back to you. Back to those early days at the cabin, when a pretty lady named Laura washed up on my shore and my life was forever changed. You are the most amazing woman I've ever known. You rekindled the light in me, June. You brought me back to people, made me believe in goodness again. That doing good was worth fighting for, like how I fought for you. And if I die, I die knowing I lived a life worth living, and a nurse named June was the light guiding my way. I love you, Junebug. Forever.
"We saw June get that letter that Jacob gave her, but she has not looked at it. And really, I think June's been in this place where she hasn't been ready to actually grieve John Dorie's death," co-showrunner Andrew Chambliss says on Fear the Walking Dead: Episode Insider. "She really has just kind of been moving forward, not allowing herself to feel any of the kind of more difficult emotions."
June avoided opening the letter she carried around but couldn't read "because she's not ready to face it and see what John's final goodbyes to her were," Chambliss explains. And Dorie Sr., who would never reunite with his son after 40 years, is forgiven for abandoning his family in the aftermath of life-ruining crimes committed by serial killer Teddy (John Glover).
"For June, reading this letter is about her accepting that John is gone and starting the process of truly grieving him. The reason she chooses to read it out loud is because she knows John Dorie Sr. needs to go through that same grieving process," Chambliss says. "John Dorie Sr. hears that, in spite of abandoning his son, his son still found a way to forgive him. And it really kind of is all about that light that John Dorie just had in him that people were drawn to, that optimism."
Chambliss adds, "Once again, it kind of gets reignited in John Dorie Sr., it gets reignited in June, and those are the two characters who are going to carry John Dorie forward in their spirit going into the future of the show."
Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD. New episodes of Fear the Walking Dead Season 6 premiere Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.