June’s message to Althea on Fear the Walking Dead about opening oneself up to feeling love for someone else transcends all the characters in the entire franchise.
Surviving the walker apocalypse isn’t an easy thing. Each of the characters in the world of The Walking Dead must sacrifice parts of themselves just to assure them another day of being alive. After fighting walkers and other human beings for years on end, it takes a toll on all the characters. Losing one’s humanity is something that is seen again and again, but there is something that helps the survivors to hold on to their humanity: love.
Episode 507 of Fear the Walking Dead features an excellent moment between June and Althea following the mountain climbing expedition to collect fuel for the plane. Referencing her time spent at the cabin with John in episode 405, June tells Al that she held on to the feelings she had for him during the year or so period of time when they were separated. Something that June told herself every day was that she was grateful for the fact that she was able to love and care for someone even after everything she had been through in the post-apocalyptic world.
June is someone who has been through a ton since the world fell apart. She lost her daughter and her community of survivors, something that she was ridden with guilt about for quite some time. Similarly, Al has been through a lot of trauma, losing her brother and feeling guilty about not being with him as he died. The fact that both these characters have been able to find someone in his hellish world that they can open themselves up to and have feelings of attraction for is remarkable.
This idea of love being the key to maintaining a semblance of humanity doesn’t just apply to June and Althea. It’s something we’ve seen with all the characters in all of the stories of The Walking Dead franchise. Glenn and Maggie are an excellent example of a relationship that unified two characters and allowed them to feel such strong human emotions in a time when life around them was dying. Rick and Michonne are another case of this as are the countless relationships that have existed and currently exist in both shows.
This whole concept of loving someone in the apocalypse doesn’t have to be strictly romantic. The characters on both shows love the people they are surviving with. It is the tight-knit group dynamic that keeps the individual characters going in this world. Something that has been explored a lot in both shows, but particularly in seasons 4 and 5 of Fear is that being alone can break you and cause you to lose your humanity quickly. Morgan struggled with this after leaving Virginia and arriving in Texas. June also went through a similar arc, but it was John and the other characters that really gave her a new lease on life. That seems to be what is happening with Dwight as his mission to find Sherry has hit a bit of a standstill. He’s become friends with John and the others, which is very much needed for him after all he’s been through.
The conversation June has with Al is important for character development. It’s unclear if Isabelle will ever reappear in Fear or elsewhere in the larger universe. She and Al spent a small amount of time together, but really bonded and developed a connection. The prospect of never seeing her again is something that Al is struggling with now, but June points out that just the fact that she was able to feel strongly for someone else is enough. Al can hold on to those feelings just as June did when she was separated from John.
Both shows teach a ton of important lessons about life and this is one of the most important ones. Finding people you can care for and love is crucial to one’s survival not just in the apocalypse, but in everyday life. It is the people you surround yourself with that are there to support you through the good times and the bad times. Plus, the act of loving someone is a basic component of being human.