Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Walking Dead S6E4 "Here's Not Here" 11/1/15

So by now the entire internet is full of conspiracy theories about how Glenn is not actually dead (the latest one I read says that Nicholas's gun was out of bullets and so he didn't kill himself and the whole thing was a hallucination - which would be such CRAP, and intentional trolling of the audience on the show's part - if you don't want to kill Glenn, don't kill him, but don't purposely fuck with the audience.  This is all to say that in this super-sized episode, we still don't know whether Glenn is dead or not because this episode is all about Morgan.  It's a Lennie James showcase is what it is.

It starts with a framing device: Morgan staring straight into the camera and saying, you want to know everything about me?  Well, here it is - every last bit.

And then we get Morgan's backstory, starting with right after Rick, Carl and Michonne stayed with him.  He has slipped into full-tilt crazy and manages to burn down his apartment during a ranting and raving fit.  Then he wanders in the forest for god knows how long, super-crazy, slaughtering zombies, terrorizing humans and even killing a couple men who threaten him.  So.  Much.  Crazy.  And then he finds a lovely little stone cabin in the middle of the woods.  It's surrounded by fences, has a tidy vegetable garden out front and a cute Nubian goat tethered in the yard.  Morgan approaches and I fear for the goat until a calm voice calls out, "Can you step away from the goat?  She's not yours.  I still need her: I'm figuring out how to make cheese."  Morgan crouches and scurries and shoots his rifle, trying to get into the cabin.  When he comes around a corner, a big man is there ("Eastman," played by John Carroll Lynch, who was Norm on the movie Fargo) and he whacks Morgan on the head with a stick.

When Morgan regains consciousness, he is in the stone cabin, in a cell.  All he can do is mutter and rant and shout "Kill me!"  Eastman goes on about his business, practicing cheese-making, making meals for himself and Morgan, practicing aikido down by the creek, tending to his garden and his goat (who is named Tabitha), killing the various zombies who wander into the area.  He kills them with a stick and after he kills them, he buries them, checking their IDs and making grave markers for them.  This goes on for quite some time, Morgan maintaining his crazy and Eastman trying to reach him.  Eastman was a forensic psychologist for a prison and he knows something about getting through to disturbed people.  It takes a while though.  At some point it comes out that Eastman has never locked the cell door and Morgan is free to stay or go.  There are some fisticuffs and Eastman manages to subdue the enraged Morgan using aikido.  Finally, Morgan breaks down and cries.  Eastman has gotten through to him and now the healing can begin.

They continue their days together now.  They bury the zombies they kill.  Eastman teaches Morgan aikido and talks to him about why he believes every life is precious, why he will not killing any living thing (why he is a vegetarian these days).  Eastman tells Morgan that he used to have a family.  But one of the prisoners he was counseling - the only man he ever met who was truly, utterly evil - broke out, went to Eastman's house and killed his wife, his son and his daughter. Morgan seems to think that there's more to the story but that's all Eastman will say.

At some point, they decide to journey to the coast.  They need some equipment and Morgan says that he left some useful stuff out in the woods where he was staying before he met Eastman.  They go out there and Eastman can see from the debris left behind just how crazy Morgan had been.  But then a zombie lurches out of the woods towards them.  Eastman says that Morgan can take care of it, using his aikido staff.  When Morgan approaches the walker, however, he recognizes that it is one of the men that he killed earlier in the episode and freezes.  Eastman steps in and puts the zombie down, but gets bit in the process.  Morgan is very angry: at himself for freezing up, at himself for having killed that guy in the first place, at Eastman for stepping in and getting himself bitten.  Eastman is resigned about it, not much they can do.

They go back home.  Eastman stops at the burial ground to start digging the dead zombie's grave while Morgan goes back to the cabin.  Sadly, Tabitha got out of the house and is now dead, being eaten by a zombie.  Morgan kills the zombie and brings it and the dead goat back to the burial ground.  Eastman sighs and they get to digging.  Later that night, Eastman is getting sicker and sicker and he admits to the secret he had been keeping: after that escaped prisoner killed his family, he bribed the prison guards and kidnapped the guy, bringing him back to this cabin, locking him in the cell and starving him to death.  It took 47 days for the guy to die.  And after that happened, Eastman came out of the woods only to learn that the zombie apocalypse had happened.

Eastman is fading quickly and he tells Morgan that he can stay at the cabin for the rest of his life if he wants.  There's plenty of food, solar power.  It's safe enough.  But it would be better if he went back out there and found people.  People are what's important in this world now.  Then he sighs, saying he's ready and there's a gun in the lockbox.

I am grateful that we didn't have to see Eastman kill himself or Morgan put him out of his misery.  We do see Morgan practicing aikido forms by the creek before putting on his backpack and heading out, walking past the burial ground with new grave markers for Eastman and Tabitha.  He finds his way to some train tracks and a sign proclaiming "Terminus: Sanctuary for all, Community for all, Those who arrive survive."  He smiles, at peace, and heads on down the tracks.

And then we're back to now and we learn that the person to whom Morgan has been telling his backstory is the Wolf that he had been fighting (and who he obviously didn't kill because every life is precious) at the end of last episode.  Morgan is trying to convert this Wolf away from the crazy.  But the crazy has taken ahold but good and the Wolf says that if the zombie bite on his stomach doesn't kill him, he's going to get out and kill everyone in Alexandria, including the children.  Morgan stares hard at the Wolf and leaves, locking him in.  Not every life is precious, Morgan.  There are still people who are truly, utterly evil.  Outside, he pauses, thinking.  Then he hears a shout in the distance: "HEY! OPEN THE GATE!"  And Morgan takes off running.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead

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