The end is the beginning of a beautiful friendship when June Dorie (Jenna Elfman) uncovers the mystery behind "the end is the beginning" in Sunday's Fear the Walking Dead. Spoiler warning for Season 6 Episode 13, "J.D." Splitting off on her own to try and learn more about the existential threat that Morgan (Lennie James) warned is facing the survivors, June's trip back to the tagged Tank Town turns up the owner of the matching "JD" pistols that once belonged to the sharp-shooting gunslinger John Dorie (Garret Dillahunt): her late husband's estranged father, John Dorie Sr. (series newcomer Keith Carradine).
June and John Sr. are searching for the same person: Teddy Maddox (John Glover), a serial killer mortician who has been preaching about "the end is the beginning" since the 1970s. In Season 6 Episode 4, "The Key," John Jr. told Rabbi Jacob (Peter Jacobson) about a "two-bit mortician" who was sentenced to life in prison when his father, a police detective, framed the suspected killer of 22 missing women by planting a purse belonging to one of his victims.
John told Jacob his father "broke the rules to set things right so that people could feel like they were livin' in a world where they knew which way was up," but it cost him everything: his career, his marriage, and his relationship with his family. John's father became a reclusive alcoholic who never reunited with his son. In Season 6 Episode 8, "The Door," John tells Dakota (Zoe Colletti): "He did the wrong thing, but for the right reasons."
Four decades later, John Sr. meets his son's widow in an RV covered with his obsession: posters for missing women, photographs of locations defaced with "the end is the beginning" graffiti, and newspaper clippings documenting Theodore Maddox's many crimes.
"I guess ruining my life once wasn't enough for that son of a bitch," John Sr. says. "When I put him away, it wasn't exactly clean. I had to do the wrong things for the right reason. People started looking at me like I was some hero. I couldn't sleep. I started drinking. I mean, my whole life was suddenly a lie. I was so goddamn angry all the time."
In the end, John Sr. figures, "The best thing for my family was for me to get as far away from them as possible."
June's best lead on Teddy is Ranger Hill (Craig Nigh), the lieutenant and right-hand man of Virginia's (Colby Minifie), who was at the cabin where she unceremoniously buried her husband. June and John Sr. track Hill to John's cabin, only learning that Teddy's cult wants to "kill everybody."
Sitting in the old Chevy the Dories were supposed to fix up together but never did, Sr. tells June, "I didn't run from my boy 'cause I didn't care. I did it 'cause I do ... I was punishing myself. But I was also punishing my wife, punishing my boy." John Sr. stayed away, he confesses, because his son "had this light about him. I was afraid I'd snuff it out. Like the Teddy case did to me."
June and John Sr. give John a proper goodbye when she finally reads aloud the last letter he wrote for her before his death. In it, John reveals he forgave his father when he writes, "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."
At the dam community, June introduces Sr. to John's best friend, Morgan Jones (Lennie James), as the only person who knows everything there is to know about Teddy. "If he's doing now what he wanted to do before," warns John Sr., "he's not gonna stop 'til we're all dead."
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.