I was skeptical when this episode started. The pain of last week’s cliffhanger was still burned into my heart and I couldn’t move forward. I didn’t care that there was going to be a whole 90-minute episode about Morgan. (*shakes TV* Give me the Glenn!) I should’ve had more faith in The Walking Dead.
The episode was brilliant!
‘Here’s Not Here’ was a character study of a man’s journey to enlightenment after losing his family, home, and mind.
Morgan is cuckoo for coco puffs, back in the day. Talking to himself, burning his home down, burning bodies in the dead of the night. He’s alone and regrets everything that happened with Duane (if he’d killed his zombie wife then his son would still be alive.) He’s lost. No will or guiding light in his life.
So he starts using his time wisely. Setting up zombie traps and trying to clear the world of the walkers that destroyed his life. His life is solitary and he settles into it because what else is there to do? He ‘clears.’ But this isn’t the Morgan who values life yet. (We haven’t settled yet on the man who comes to Alexandria.) This is the one who yells, ‘You don’t’ and kills any human remotely threatening with his fancy pointy stick.
He’s gone so far off the deep end that he paints sayings with zombie blood all over the places he clears. Some of these include:
Here’s Not Here
You only get one
[lead]Sensei Enters the Picture[/lead]
You know you’ve met a solid man if the first thing he offers you is a chance to talk and a falafel. Say yes, Morgan. Stop hallucinating and give into the yummy goodness. You haven’t eaten (a regular meal) in weeks. But does he do it? Nope. Not at all. Instead, his crazy highness, gets whacked a good one.
His sensei has a hard touch.
“We’re not built to kill,” is the first lesson that Eastman, guest star John Carroll Lynch, tries to teach Morgan. We can heal and come back from horrible things that have happened in our lives. It doesn’t work with Morgan. He’s too wild. Too lost to see that there is more to life. He wants to die and be locked away in that cell even though it's unlocked.
Stage 1 of recovery occurs when Tabatha’s life is put in danger. (Yes, the goat.) He finds out that Eastman has respect for all life, even walkers. It’s a stark contrast in comparison to what Morgan was doing by burning them. Eastman gives them back their identities by respecting them and giving them a grave, marker and all.
Stage 2 of recovery starts with Morgan learning aikido, a code. He learns that there is more to this world than just breathing. It’s like a light switch has been turned on inside of him and he’s not letting the world pass by. He’s in it. He starts living.
It isn’t all rainbows and goats though (when is anything easy?). When he’s confronted with his past he fails to kill the walker of a boy he murdered. In turn his sensei gets bitten. *PLOT TWIST: Like any other secondary character, his/her life is ruined by our main character coming into their lives. That’s fate for you* But the true turning moment for Morgan doesn't come then. Instead of being grateful, he’s angry at Eastman for taking away something that he deserved, death.
Stage 3 of recovery occurs when he helps two young people and they thank him. In all this craziness they thanked a lonely and lost man for helping them survive another day. And it’s huge for Morgan. It’s like he’s been smacked in the face with the clarity stick and now he sees that he can do so much more. That right there is when Morgan finds peace.
When his sensei dies (because when are things ever simple) he leaves in search of people and in search of life. He’s a changed man now. He knows he can’t survive alone now that Eastman is gone. It sets him on a journey to help the world and coincidentally the first person who ever looked out for him.
Morgan is keeping a member of the Wolves in isolation because he wants to see if he can pass on the lessons he’s learned. It’s a challenge for him and his beliefs via Eastman. Will he be able to change this man? Probably not. Will he continue to try? Yes he will. He’s a man willing to try anything because they are ‘here’. This is the world. Why not live it the right way?
[lead]Other Observations & Comments[/lead]
- Eastman throws ‘The Art of Peace’ by Morihei Ueshiba.
- Why did Eastman have a cell ready in his place? Because the darkness was strong back then.
- Tabatha the goat was trained to freak out when zombies came around.
- Aikido is Morgan’s fighting style.
- Eastman was a psychologist.
Next Time on ‘The Walking Dead’
“Now” (Episode 6x05)
Sunday, Nov. 8 at 9 p.m. on AMC
Daryl checking out the Wolves? Sasha and Abraham fighting to survive? Maggie finding out what happened to Glenn? WHERE’S GLENN? WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM? Leave us your comments and thoughts on this episode and the next in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/10c on AMC.