After a long hiatus, Fear the Walking Dead is back and in fine form.
Fear the Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 8 featured high stakes and many payoffs, even if we did lose one of the best characters on the show.
What the franchise does well, in general, is mental health. Many of these characters have gone through so much, from surviving deadly encounters with the undead to losing people they love, and everyone has a breaking point.
John bailing on June during the first half of Fear the Walking Dead Season 6 was a huge turning point, suggesting there was something else going on that we were not privy to.
He had no fight left in him, propelling his arc in a tragic new direction.
He was ready to end his life and see what happened after, but Morgan was not the type of person to let someone he cared for sink into oblivion.
Having a character like Morgan serve as the emotional roadblock that wouldn't allow the inevitable to happen was a surprisingly effective way to show how far Morgan has come as a character.
The midseason premiere excelled due to this, but in this franchise, happy endings are a foreign concept, so it was inevitable something huge would change things for all of the characters.
Dakota being a ruthless killer felt out of the ordinary initially, but when we got to the root of her rage, it became easy to see that all of her actions have been about the takedown of her sister, Ginny.
But, there are no excuses for Dakota's actions. She killed people merely to push her agenda that she wants her sister's head on a plate.
For a young girl, that's heavy, but in the age of the apocalypse, people think with weapons instead of their minds, I guess.
All of the insanity on the bridge was difficult to watch because you could see Dakota's demeanor completely change when John recognized the knife.
Dakota knew the net was closing in, so she did the only thing she thought would allow her to go undetected.
Shooting John seemed like the type of storyline hurled into a midseason premiere for shock value, to not only raise the stakes but kick off a big revenge arc.
June stepping in to save her injured husband was as tragic as you would expect, mainly when he emerged from the water as a freaking zombie.
Garrett Dillahunt brought a different energy to the series when he arrived on Fear the Walking Dead Season 4, and while the writing for the other characters was utterly terrible on Fear the Walking Dead Season 5, somehow, John got some decent material consistently.
His death will have a significant impact on the characters because he made such an impact on them.
He served as a voice of reason in the face of extreme adversity, so his absence will be felt in the long run.
June, on the other hand, will be unable to forgive herself for not finding him sooner.
The emotional beats of June's happiness at him floating towards her up the stream, to the harsh realization that she had to pull the trigger to prevent him from eating her, was another well-acted scene from Jenna Elfman.
Will this further fuel June's hate for Ginny, or will it fuel her desire to have a community that will allow everyone who escaped Ginny's clutches to make their way to a safe haven?
With all of these different factions at play, the moving of the chess pieces will be the deciding factor on what becomes of all of the characters as they attempt to move on.
Dakota managed to slip under the radar with her "I'm a teenager, and I hate my sister" approach, but now that she's been exposed as this merciless killer, her chances of survival for much longer are probably not decent.
Telling Morgan that his sole purpose was to kill Ginny and that's the only reason he's alive was a bit much, but for someone so young, Dakota was good at steering the conversation in whatever direction she wanted.
I can't be the only one yearning for Madison's return that desperately wanted it to be her who saved Morgan at Humbug's Gulch.
Madison's surprise comeback would be the perfect way to throw it back to the people we started this series with.
Madison's death on Fear the Walking Dead Season 4 was poorly handled, but it's hard not to hold on to the hope that she did somehow survive the fire.
"The Door" was probably the strongest premiere in series history.
Maybe it's because it was supposed to be the midseason finale, but it was the perfect way to bring the show back in a big way.
What did you think of John's death? Was it handled well? How about Dakota as this teen killer?
Hit the comments below.
Fear the Walking Dead continues Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.