11/1/15, 9 pm (EST), AMC
After the events of last week’s episode, and uncertainty about Glenn’s fate still fresh in our minds, The Walking Dead takes a step back and slows it down. “Here’s Not Here” gives us a 90-minute summary of what happened to Morgan from when Rick last met up with him to when we saw him following the tracks to Terminus.
I’m glad the show got to spend an episode on character building, as it tends to be stronger when it does this well. While I love the action and zombie-violence as much as the next person, these character-centered episodes have been among the best in recent seasons (Beth’s episodes from season five or The Governor’s two episodes from season four come to mind). What I did take issue with was the 90-minute runtime for this episode. There was a lot of filler that could’ve been cut.
We see Morgan right after his encounter with Rick from season three. He’s gone completely unhinged, leaving his bunker and roaming the wilderness, killing everything in his path, walker and human alike. He’s doesn’t even care if the humans are a threat to him, he just can’t take a chance. He’s down the path Rick’s at in the current time, not taking any chances in order to protect the group. Morgan certainly manages to hold his own, creating a mini-fort to protect himself while he burns the walkers he’s dealt with. He’s even gone back to writing messages all over trees and rocks; “Clear” and “Pointless acts” stand out the most.
He gets more than he bargains for when he finds a cabin and tries to steal the goat roaming around. He’s knocked out by the man who lives there, and finds himself locked up. The man, Eastman, tries to rehabilitate Morgan, who just wants Eastman to kill him. Eastman refuses, stating “all life is precious.” He became a vegetarian, and tries to master making cheese from Tabitha the goat.
Eastman himself is a fairly interesting character. We find out he used to be a forensic psychologist who saw the good in almost everyone he met in prison except one individual who had everyone convinced. The man ended up escaping prison for the sole purpose of murdering Eastman’s family before he surrendered. Eastman built the cage Morgan is in to capture the man and have him starve to death in there. Eastman was able to exact his revenge, but the end result left him feeling empty as he couldn’t get his family back. The walkers came after that so he stayed at the cabin and taught himself aikido and reading “The Art of Peace”, which he gives to Morgan while sitting in the cell. We find out Morgan’s “Clear” message was what he told himself when he killed people, even if they weren’t a threat just to keep himself safe. “Pointless acts” was regarding not saving anyone since everyone turns into a walker once they die. Morgan saw no meaning in saving others.
After a few altercations, Morgan reluctantly decides to stay and study under Eastman so he can better himself. Eastman teaches turns Morgan’s spear into a staff, and he trains him how to use it using aikido. Morgan finds a cemetery that Eastman used to bury the walkers he took down, writing their names on a makeshift grave. While on a supply run, Morgan encounters a walker that was a boy he choked to death earlier. Unable to react, Eastman steps in and saves Morgan, but not before getting bit in the back. After wallowing in self-pity, Morgan picks himself up and heads back to the cabin, where he finds Tabitha eaten by a walker and Eastman doesn’t have long himself to live. After supposedly helping Eastman get a gun so he can kill himself before he died and turned, Morgan finally sees the light and gathers himself up and heads out, finding one of the Terminus signs as he heads down the railroad tracks.
Flash-forward to the present, and Morgan apparently didn’t kill the wolf he encountered at the end of episode two. He tries using his story to help the wolf see the error of his ways so he can perhaps be reformed. The wolf flat out tells Morgan if he leaves he will come back and murder everyone in Alexandria to take what they need to survive. Morgan leaves him locked up in one of the houses in Alexandria. How this will affect the rest of the group remains to be seen.
- Steven Yeun’s name was absent from the opening theme. Are the showrunners trying to mess with us, or is this pointing towards signs that Glenn is actually dead?
- RIP Tabitha. I’m honestly getting more emotionally invested in the animals on this show than many of the Alexandrians.
- Great performance by John Carroll Lynch as Eastman.
- Lennie James gives us another great performance of Morgan. It’s early in the season, but depending how his character arc goes I’d like to see him recognized for this role.
A great Morgan-centered episode to give us backstory on how he went from a broken man to the man finding inner peace. The 90-minute runtime was a bit too long, which meant unnecessary filler. I know the show’s incredibly popular, but let’s hope these are few and far between.