In The Walking Dead’s latest episode, “Here’s Not Here,” the creators try to convince fans that Morgan’s no killing policy will somehow work in a world where it’s kill or be killed.
While everyone has been wondering whether Glenn is actually dead or not, last night we got 90 minutes of seeing how Morgan transforms back into a human being after going insane over the last few months. This didn’t feel like the episode to add an extra 30 minutes to, but it was at least a nice change of pace to the show’s previous episodes.
Just as a note before we jump into Morgan’s backstory, actor Steven Yeun, who plays Glenn, was not included in the show’s opening sequence. This could be the show’s creators playing with our heart strings, or it could be a sign that Glenn is actually dead (somehow this writer highly doubts it despite all evidence).
Morgan has turned into a stick wielding jedi, who will not kill under any circumstances, and we find out this is because he encounters a goat, and then the goat’s owner Eastman.
We quickly realize that Eastman uses a stick similar to what we’ve seen Morgan using not to kill people, but to defend himself and others using a style called Aikido. The goal of this fighting style is to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury.
We’ve seen Morgan using this style of fighting in the last few episodes as he tried to not kill the Wolves as they attacked (and killed) many Alexandrians. The problem this writer sees is that Morgan is overlooking one key element: the greater good.
We’ll get back to that, but Morgan meets his new teacher, Eastman, who is played brilliantly by actor John Carroll Lynch. Lynch has been in dozens of films and TV shows, with one of his more popular roles being in Zodiac alongside Robert Downey Jr. and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Eastman has been living in a very remote cabin out in the woods, and he’s acquired a goat which he has tied up outside (walker bait?). Morgan tries to take the goat at first and shoots at the owner, but quickly realizes that he’s outmatched as Eastman takes him down and puts him in a cell in his cabin.
Probably one of the most poignant scenes is when Eastman tells Morgan that he’s free to leave when he wants, as the door to the cell has been unlocked the entire time. Morgan still doesn’t believe him, but when he gives the door a push, it opens up, and then he tries to kill Eastman, with Eastman stopping him once again.
The two end up talking finally, and Morgan is clearly still unable to comprehend how Eastman lives the way he does, because Morgan has lost his family and been in such terrible conditions. At first we think Eastman hasn’t had to encounter any of these difficulties, but we later find out he’s had his own struggles as well, which has led him to this life of not killing anything (even animals).
It felt like the episode could have showed a bit more of Morgan’s training, with a little less dialogue, but we do learn from Eastman that despite letting the man who killed his family starve to death, he truly believes all life is precious.
After he basically sacrifices himself for Morgan, it feels a bit like he’s handed off the baton (stick) to Morgan so he can try to convince others that this is the only way to live.
We later see Morgan on train tracks, and a fresh Terminus sign is seen as he walks toward the destination where we saw glimpses of him last season. He shoots back to the main story, where we find out that he’s talking to the wolf we thought he killed last week.
The wolf says he’ll still kill everyone, including Morgan, if he gets out and so Morgan leaves the room and locks the cell door. He thinks for a second about how his door was left unlocked, but he clearly doesn’t trust this person.
While this theory of “all life is precious” sounds good, there’s also a greater good that they don’t seem to consider. Morgan needs to realize that it might be better to take a life of a bad person if they might kill other good people.
We hope it turns out good for Morgan, but this philosophy is unlikely to work out well when the people you’re trying to defend yourself from have guns and are a bit more relentless.