As a kid I used to pick up my Dad's thrillers, skip to a random page and start reading, trying to figure out what might have happened a hundred pages in. I wasn't one for let's start at the very beginning, it's a very good place to start.
Guess it's a habit I've yet to break; I skipped two seasons of Fear the Walking Dead and jumped straight in at four because I saw Lennie James looming over the other characters on the ensemble artwork. So I came for Morgan, but stayed for John Dorie. ("Like the fish, but with an 'ie' instead of the 'y'," he drawls, shy and embarrassed.)
Opening the season in episode 1, and at his best in episodes 1 through 8, John Dorie is a character so clearly delineated you could use him in a screenwriting class. He's got a clear want - he's desperate to find the woman he loves and will stop at nothing to seek her out. He has a rich and complicated background; first cop, then gun-toting country fair entertainer, a sudden change in direction that's the consequence of a tragedy. He's complex - wanting isolation, fearing it and seeking out friendship. He loves language, playing scrabble alone; a man of practical routine in the flashbacks. Then there's the boiled sweets he offers as a sign of friendship and trust... and the showground pistols he keeps so carefully locked up.
Dorie got me thinking about talismans. Fascinating characters often have some sort of talisman - either physical or metaphorical. Dorie has his sweets and guns (a complex and counter-intuitive juxtaposition.) In The Poison Boy, I gave Dalton Fly a lucky playing card that sorta made decisions for him. At the moment I'm writing about a character with a log book of stolen items she obsessively updates.
If I'd felt the obligation of chronology, chances are I'd never made it to season four. And never met Dorie, therefore. There are advantages to skipping forward.