Morgan meets new people on the road, and that gets difficult, for everybody.
Althea and Madison meet somewhere on the road before. Now, Alicia continues hunting Naomi for revenge.
Morgan tries avoiding people. But as Rick said: the world will always find its way back to him.
Rick, Maggie, and the others take the fight to Negan rather than sit back. But nothing is ever easy.
The group are still split up. Maggie searches for Glenn, as Daryl and Beth survive in a funeral home. Bob is grateful at least for human contact.
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 4: “Here’s Not Here”
Directed by Stephen Williams
Written by Scott M. Gimple
* For a review of the previous episode, “Thank You” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Now” – click here
This is an episode I’ve looked forward to, unlike some – a nice long look at who Morgan Jones (Lennie James) has become, where he’s been and how he got back to Alexandria.
We open with him talking to the unseen leader of the Wolves (Benedict Samuel), but then quickly it transitions from NOW to THEN. Back at the house where Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Carl (Chandler Riggs) last saw him before their reunion.
Morgan is having a fairly animated conversation with himself. He’s pissed, ranting, raving. A fire starts and burns the place down. So out into the world he goes, once more. Honestly a lot of people complained about this episode because it’s so Morgan-centric. Me, I dig it. You can’t just explain away a guy going from a lunatic to zen so easily as to re-introduce him; they had to do this episode. I think it’s actually keen of the showrunners to do it this way. Everyone is dying for answers about Glenn (Steven Yeun). Me too, I can just wait – I like the slow burn.
Also, something many people forget: Morgan is the one who saved Rick’s life, all those seasons, all those days ago. So why wouldn’t we get to see more about him? I get it, the timing is what threw people. Again I say it’s a smart move on behalf of the show. Much as people will complain and gripe, which they already did all over social media last night/today, they’re going to hang in there, they’ll talk about it constantly, until the next episode come Sunday.
For the first little bit while Morgan is out in the woods, it’s zombie effects time. A couple real nasty looking customers wander out of the trees, another right through the fire. But then we see him murder two men, who seemed to be following him. He screams at one, strangling him with bare hands: “You know, you don’t!”
Yet there’s still a reasonable aspect to him, under the madness. He builds himself a protective cocoon of trees whittled into spikes. Morgan survives somehow, on his own, all alone in the wilderness. He waves a big stick around at the voices in his head. There’s some tragic stuff happening. Lennie James is someone I’ve enjoyed long before now. He really does great stuff with the character of Morgan.
After a little while, though, Morgan comes across a cabin. Refusing to put down his gun – like you and I probably would in his situation, be honest – a man named Eastman (John Carroll Lynch) whacks Morgan a good one across the back of the head. Thus begins the cruel tutelage of Eastman.
Something I wondered ever since Morgan first started to reappear, almost right at the heels of Rick & Co. – why does he all of a sudden fight with a staff, like a ninja or a samurai or whatever? Well, now we start to get some explanations.
I’ve long enjoyed John Carroll Lynch, ever since The Drew Carey Show. Always found his character on the show to be fairly progressive, in a way; say what you will. He’s been awesome in other things, most recently American Horror Story (playing Twisty the Clown in Season 4 + John Wayne Gacy in Season 5 for an episode) and he had a nice turn on Carnivale near its finish. So it’s pretty fun to have him here, if only for a one-off episode in Morgan’s storyline. Either way, he’s important, and he was absolutely the right fit for this character.
The exchange between Eastman and Morgan, once things settle down, is fairly interesting. Eastman happens to be a doctor, specializing in mental health. Such an intriguing perspective to see out of during the zombie apocalypse. Plus, Eastman is so damn chill. Even with all the shit Morgan ends up giving him, starting a fight when the guy’s only trying to be a good man, Eastman continues to give him a chance. Essentially what this man provides Morgan is a way to recognize the humanity in himself again. Much like Rick lost a lot of his humanity, Morgan has gone off the deep end. Worse than Rick ever did; seeing the ghost of Lori, and more, Rick still held it together when it mattered most, he still retained his foundational human spirit. Morgan is a broken man. What Eastman provides is a way to start admitting that, as well as the possibility of coming back from it and living again – some way, somehow.
Eastman: “That was Aikido. That’s how I kicked your ass earlier. Well, that’s how I redirected your ass.”
Through the teachings of Aikido, slowly Morgan begins to learn “all life is precious” again. Like it was before. It’s naturally a part of the post-zombies world, to begin feeling as if life means nothing any longer. So many of the survivors still on the show and living have fallen into the despair of this line of thinking. Morgan just happens to be the epitome of that feeling, he lost himself completely after his son died.
But it’s the story Eastman tells Morgan about his family which really breaks the heart. It’s right then I feel Morgan truly switches his mindset, he sees how vicious the world was even before and remembers that it’s human beings who are the worst of all, not even the zombies. It is us. And maybe he does not want to be that us anymore. This scene between Eastman and Morgan at the dinner table, the low light, the soft spoken dialogue, it’s one of my personal favourite scenes on The Walking Dead out of its entire run; definitely at the top. There’s so much going on within this scene and the situation between these two, a great bit of writing.
Very sad to see Eastman take a bite, stepping in to try and help Morgan after he begins to trip out while a zombie shambles towards him. Then, they have a fight with their staffs, which is pretty damn bad ass. Morgan is not fully in the zen zone as of yet, after he falls in their scuffle he once more begs Eastman: “Kill me – kill me!”
Even after the bite, though, Eastman continually keeps in the zen perspective himself. Morgan heads back over the edge a bit, or totally, yet the big guy just sticks to his Aikido guns and doesn’t seem to be worried much about his current predicament. But DAMMIT – right as I was starting to love Eastman, he goes and has to get bit. Not like I expected him to be more than a one-time character, I just wanted more of him and didn’t want to see him go out like that.
However, it’s through this event Morgan finally comes back around to himself. He briefly encounters a couple, one of them wounded, and he doesn’t kill them, or attack them, as he would have before meeting Eastman. Then he rushes back to his teacher. Eastman also reveals he starved the man who killed his family to death – it gave him “no peace“, putting him Morgan was all alone and raving mad, so then he vowed not to kill again. Touching stuff, really. So many well acted scenes between these two.
The episode closes with Morgan again talking to the leader of the Wolves, who has a fairly nasty, infected wound. He believes he’ll die, but if not plans on killing Morgan, killing everyone in Alexandria even the children. So will Morgan continue with the all life is precious mantra? Or how will it work? He already let this guy live once and look what happened. If Morgan can’t break with the idea of killing another person, it could mean much more trouble than has already come down.
Very much excited to see the next episode, “Now”. We’ll get back to all the main action in Alexandria, but there’s no guarantee we’re going to immediately find out about Glenn. Though, I have a sneaking suspicion he is very much still alive.
See you again for another one next week, Walking Dead-ites!
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 3: “Thank You”
Directed by Michael Slovis
Written by Angela Kang
* For a review of the previous episode “JSS” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Here’s Not Here” – click here
Back at it again, we’re coming round to see where Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his gang are on their way home to Alexandria from the quarry.
He and Glenn (Steven Yeun), plus a bunch of their crew, run through the woods frightened for what is coming behind them, all the walkers loose from the quarry. Rick radios back out to the road where Daryl (Norman Reedus), Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) are slightly unaware of the trouble at hand.
Naturally, former Sheriff Grimes has a plan. He makes it very clear they need to only worry about themselves. Problem is the original Alexandrians are a bit uneasy about things. Michonne (Danai Gurira) does her best to quell the fears, though, Rick is fairly vocal about things and many of the others, such as Heath (Corey Hawkins), are pretty worried for their safety. Off Rick goes on his own like the superhero he is, or wishes to be. Everyone else heads back towards home.
In the woods, Glenn and Michonne try leading everyone back. Unfortunately a couple people are overcome by zombies, bitten or otherwise. An errant shot by a scared group member hits someone else creating more mayhem.
Back out on the road, Daryl has a plan of his own. Always thinking, always ready. He speeds off leaving Abraham and Sasha driving in the car. “I’ll be back,” he yells driving up the road.
It’s too bad David (Jay Huguley) was bitten. He and Michonne talk on the road, he tells her about the woman he’s with – Betsy – and how they met, so on. Touching moment made even worse by the fact we know he’s going to turn, or die before that happens.
Then Glenn tells Michonne how badly he has to get home. I feel bad because something is going to happen, all due to Nicholas (Michael Traynor). Earlier on there’s a moment when he almost goes into shell-shock, PTSD, something; he quakes and his vision went blurry. Each time he comes into the frame I can’t help wonder: how will he fuck the group over this time? I hope he proves me wrong, in the best ways, but I doubt it. Highly.
Super creepy scene when Glenn-Michonne group stumble into a pet store. All the animals are dead in their cages, starved and likely dehydrated. One of those strange hit you in the chest moments. You imagine all the different little situations people (and animals) found themselves in after the zombie apocalypse came raining down. Sad, tragic, chilling.
Glenn has a plan, and I do not like it – he wants to go light a building on fire. Can’t get any worse? Nicholas offers to draw a map to a feed store, something best fit for a blaze. I’m just not at all sure of this guy, I know he’ll eventually either die or cause death because of his messed up mental state. When Glenn pulls out Hershel’s watch, I cringed a bit. A bad, bad omen. Off on his own and everything, like some ritual.
Another lone wolf on the road, Rick meets up with a small crowd of walkers. He pulls out a knife, nonchalant, then the animal Rick is back in his eyes. He takes them down bloodily, easily. I love Rick Grimes.
Heath and Michonne have a confrontation. Out comes the truth for Heath, the hard reality. She impresses on him the fact sometimes you have to do things which “make you afraid of yourself“. And it’s true, Rick and Michonne, most of their group, they’ve all had to terrible things, awful and unspeakable actions that changed the very fiber of their DNA. None of them are the same, and those people in Alexandria have not experienced anything close to that.
Gunfire starts to ring out back in Alexandria. This sends Glenn and Nicholas, who tags along despite my best hopes, on the run a bit faster. Meanwhile, walkers are on the move down the street, so Michonne and everyone in the pet store have to stay put at least for the time being. But soon enough a few zombies appear in a closet, Michonne chops them and causes a bit of noise. Outside, a wall of walkers keeps lurching towards them literally covering the entire street. They begin a fight to move forward, blasting out the doors and heading down the street. One of the girls gets nabbed by the living dead, her guts chomped into and fed off eagerly, zombie after zombie.
Rick made it back to the big camper near one of the sheet metal walls. His intensity is unmatched in “Thank You”. Even when he bit into that man’s neck near the end of the fourth season, even in many of the insane moments he’s found himself, Rick has never been so primal. Each time we see him, he’s getting more and more vicious. Might as well be frothing at the mouth.
The intensity in the episode rises further, as the separate groups – Michonne and friends, Glenn and Nicholas – rally to corners of the small town they’re in, trying to discover some way, any way out.
Glenn and the idiotic Nicholas end up trapped in an alley, backed up against a fence and awaiting the onslaught of walking corpses. They each fire into as many brains as possible, then haul out their knives for close combat. Can it get ANY SWEATIER? Shit, man. The suspense and the tension had my heart racing. Not to mention their moments are inter-cut with Michonne nearly getting swamped and bitten. Though, luckily she makes her way up and over a fence. The already bitten David is eaten alive by the horde and everyone else makes it out alive.
But Glenn and Nicholas have to get up on top of a dumpster in order to keep away from the rabid walkers. It’s at this moment when the PTSD swells up inside Nicholas, everything slowing down, his hearing just about gone – he tells Glenn, “Thank you“, and shoots himself in the head. They both topple into the zombie crowd and immediately find themselves engulfed.
It’s tough to tell exactly because there’s a possibility it was Nicholas… but the scene as it stands makes us see/believe Glenn is being eaten. Blood spurts out, guts are ripped with hungry hands into hungrier mouths, and Glenn screams into the air. Heart wrenching scene. I almost couldn’t take it. Is this truly the end for Glenn? If so, I don’t know… I’m pretty broken, honestly. His character has been great, amazing dynamic with several of the others, and it’ll be sad if this is his fate.
Later on, Rick calls on the walkie back to Glenn, not knowing what’s happened. Of course, he gets no answer. In fact he gets no answer from anyone, except for Daryl and the road crew. He tries instilling them all with more courage, telling them not to be afraid; Abraham confirms over the radio they indeed are not. Tough bunch of people. They basically have to trust, as Rick says, the fact everyone back at Alexandria can handle themselves properly in such a situation.
Out of nowhere Rick is attacked in the camper. Two men are on in him, after wild gunshots he knocks them down, pumping two shots of his own into them respectively. He finds a jar of baby food on one of them in a sort of bittersweet moment. Then up along the side of the camper he spies people sneaking. Firing an assault rifle through the sides he annihilates them, presumably anyways. In the side mirror, it looks to us like at least one of the dead people is a kid. Things get mentally worse for Rick before the vehicle won’t start, and out of the forest come a ton of walkers.
And then, with zombies coming from every which way, an aerial shot shows the scene from way above, we come to an end.
So god damn excited for the next episode, titled “Here’s Not Here”. Head back over here next week and I’ll have a review queued up. Until then, Walking Dead-ites!