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Welcome to Fear, Dwighty-boy!
Dwight (Austin Amelio) made his anticipated debut on The Walking Dead spin-off Fear the Walking Dead in the Colman Domingo-directed third episode of Season 5, "Humbug's Gulch." The second character to move from The Walking Dead to Fear after Morgan (Lennie James), he quickly became part of the group after revealing what he's been up to since Daryl (Norman Reedus) exiled him from Alexandria at the end of Season 8.
If you recall, Dwight worked as a double agent for Alexandria in the war with the Saviors. He was one of Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) highest-ranking lieutenants, but he flipped after his wife, Sherry (Christine Evangelista), escaped rather than continue to live as one of Negan's "wives." His service in helping defeat the Saviors meant Daryl didn't kill him after the war, but Daryl couldn't live with Dwight after the things he'd done, including torture him, kill Denise (Merritt Wever), and generally be a self-described "piece of sh--." So Daryl told him to hit the road and go find his wife, who was out there somewhere.
Season 5 of Fear the Walking Dead is taking place about a year after Dwight's exile, and he's been searching for Sherry ever since, following clues she left as to her movements. The trail led him west to Texas, where he encountered John Dorie (Garret Dillahunt) and June (Jenna Elfman) at "Humbug's Gulch," a local chain of Old West tourist traps where John used to work as a trick shooter.
John and June were looking for guns, and while they were there, a dust storm kicked up. As they were trying to leave before the storm stranded them there, someone started shooting at them. John returned fire and hit the gunman in his arm. When he went looking for him, he turned around to find a man with a badly scarred face pointing a gun at him and yelling "Where is she?" June snuck up behind Dwight and knocked him out while he was interrogating John.
They took him inside, and as the storm raged outside, June treated Dwight's wound while John tried to figure out who he was and what he wanted. Dwight was uncooperative at first, but John and June made it clear that they were just trying to help, and that they were looking for someone, too. They tried to empathize with the guy, telling him their own story of how they found and lost and found each other, and that they would try to make that happen for him, too.
But Dwight was worn out from being alone and hitting dead ends for so long. When they left the building they were holed up in to make it through a herd of walkers to Dwight's car, Dwight suddenly ran back to John and June's minivan and rifled through the glove compartment, looking for something he didn't find. Over the walkie-talkie, he told John and June that the last note Sherry left for him was written on the registration for this car, and he shot at them because he assumed they'd done something to her. But they had found the car at a campground, and no one alive was there. Dwight looked at the gun on the passenger seat, contemplating giving up and ending it all. He despaired of ever finding her, and she's probably dead by now anyway. June deduced that he believed he didn't deserve to find her, because he'd done so many bad things. "I'm never gonna find her, I'm never gonna make it right," Dwight said, echoing what he said to Daryl before Daryl sent him away. Back then, Dwight had a little bit of hope that he would find Sherry and make things all right again. Things would never go back to how they were, but he would do whatever he could to find some kind of redemption. But now, all these months later, he was out of hope.
June told him not to give up. She was once hopeless and self-hating like him, but she changed once she was able to accept help and love again. She stressed that if Sherry is still out there, she hasn't given up, either. "And if she hasn't, how can you?" She convinced Dwight to let them help get him out of the minivan, which had been swarmed by walkers, and join them in their search for Al (Maggie Grace), which, once she's found, will turn into a search for Sherry. And it turned out the minivan wasn't Sherry's after all, so she might still be out there.
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The rest of the group arrived at Humbug's Gulch, and Dwight saw Morgan. Morgan and Dwight never directly interacted on The Walking Dead, but they were aware of each other. "We come from the same place," Morgan told the gang. They compared Virginia-Texas travel routes, and Dwight told Morgan about the quest he'd been on.
"Look, you gotta understand something about me and what happened back there," Dwight said. Morgan cut him off.
"You don't have to say it," he said. "Not now. I know how it ended for you. But we're all trying to start over, so. How long you been stuck here?" They're moving on. Considering how little backstory-filling we've gotten on Fear the last two seasons, that might be the extent of Morgan and Dwight's conversation about the past.
But all things considered, it was a good way to introduce Dwight to Fear. Character consistency has not been Fear's strong suit, but this felt like the same Dwight we knew from The Walking Dead. He's always been a melancholy sort, but has also always been looking for a better life. Falling in with a crowd of people who want to help others feels like it could be good for him, and a natural move for his character. Within a couple of episodes, it'll feel like Dwight belongs.
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.