Fear the Walking Dead is staging the ultimate return to form.
Fear the Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 9 was all about the aftermath of John's untimely death, Virginia's downfall, and the complicated dynamics of the different groups who wanted her dead.
Jenna Elfman played every single beat of June's pain to perfection, and my appreciation only continued to grow as June realized all of this could have been avoided had she left Virginia to die.
Losing John gave the narrative a hard shift in the right direction. Taking risks is needed to reap some big rewards, and while it's sucks because John was so likable, it has helped the show considerably.
June was never going to be able to put the past behind her, not after everything that's happened at the hands of Virginia.
Virginia had the keys to the kingdom, but she made too many bad decisions. Chanting that people needed to abide by the rules, even if she didn't know what that meant, was her ultimate undoing.
One thing I always loved about Virginia was how she led people to believe she was showing great transparency behind all of her decisions, so for all of her people to learn she had been lying, it was a bit much for them to swallow.
Virginia has been hiding from her secrets and sins from the past, and it caught up with her in an epic fashion.
The revelation that Virginia was Dakota's mother was a bit too soap opera for my taste, but after a rewatch, it helped me understand the lengths Virginia would go to keep her safe.
The unfortunate aspect is that maybe Virginia and Dakota could have had more of a relationship had Dakota known she was her mother.
Amazingly, one small decision can have such a cataclysmic effect on the rest of your life.
Virginia will go down as one of the best villains in the franchise because she was so multi-layered from the get-go. She wasn't a two-dimensional villain who had a knack for killing everyone that got in her way.
Morgan: We've all had a talk and we're going to let you do what you have to do before you're going to take Dakota and leave. She doesn't need this place. She needs you.
Alicia: But if either of you show your face again--
Ginny: Oh, no, I get it. We're gone.
She gave them options, which contributed to her downfall, but Colby Minifie gave this character so much depth that I gasped when June pulled the trigger and killed her.
A part of me would have liked Virginia to survive and pay for her sins with hard labor, but Fear the Walking Dead Season 6 is not messing around, and her death will be one of the most memorable in the history of the series.
Even Morgan, who has had the most bizarre character arc in the franchise, couldn't kill Virginia when it came down to it. If you watch Fear the Walking Dead online, he's been pro-murder in recent episodes, allowing him to break free from the shackles of the questionable writing for him.
He was willing to murder Virginia to signal a power shift, but it all came crashing down when he realized that starting a new community, or treaty with the other factions, did not need to start with bloodshed.
With Virginia dead, it leaves us with three distinct groups and characters headed in very different directions.
Virginia has been vocal about this big war on the horizon that it seems likely it will tie into the End is the Beginning group, but it's hard to tell where all of the principal characters will land when the battle arrives.
Strand is all about that ranger life, and even if he doesn't want to admit it, he loves that his life means something in the grand scheme of things. He isn't going to return to the group full-time because he likes being the one in control of his fate.
There's nothing wrong with that, but it will cause problems when these groups don't agree on how to deal with the next threat.
Strand is adamant to prove something to Alicia, and while it's frustrating to have everyone strewn across different parts of the map, if it works to tell a more coherent story, I'm all for it.
The Walking Dead has excelled by having different communities at the wheel, so if we get the right amount of development for all of them, this could be a good way to expand the world.
Sherry is another character getting the time to shine. Christine Evangelista was basically a guest star on the main series. Getting to see this other side to Sherry as she tries to put her past with Negan behind her while simultaneously trying to keep it together has been exciting.
The character feels grounded in reality, and her complicated relationship with Dwight shows no signs of slowing down.
Ginny: You shouldn't give a leg what I have to say, but I reckon I owe you any number of apologies.
June: This has nothing to do with you. It follows me wherever I go, like some kind of punishment for my past. I had a daughter, her name was Rose. She was sick, I tried to protect her, and I ended up getting every survivor in my camp killed, so of course the love of my life is killed by someone's daughter they were trying to protect. In a way, it's exactly like I deserve.
Ginny: You were just trying to protect your kid. Just like I was.
June: Did you know, back at Lautin, with Cameron. Did you know what Dakota was capable of before? Did you protect her anyway?
Ginny: I would do anything for my daughter, June.
June: This is the gun Dakota killed John with. I didn't protect my daughter after she killed someone, I asked you a question before. Why did Dakota kill my husband? You said you didn't know. That wasn't true.
June: It was you, Virginia, you're the reason. You always were.
Ginny: No wait.
[June shoots Ginny in the head.]
"Things Left to Do" was another standout episode, one that will stick with me for years, thanks to the risks the writers are finally taking. The cast is throwing it out of the park, and you can tell they love the material.
All that's left to ponder is what will happen when this new group rears its head. The groups will probably continue to splinter.
What are your thoughts on Virginia's death? Did you expect Morgan to have second thoughts about killing her?
What will June do now that she's on the hook for the murder?
Hit the comments below.
Catch new episodes Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.