By: The Lady Cocotte
Can we handle a 90 minute episode of The Walking Dead? Bring it on! This week’s “previously on…” takes us back to the season 1 story about Morgan’s wife and son. Then we see crazy Morgan from season 3. So this is going to be the Morgan episode. I’m game, as long as they clear up the “did he or didn’t he” death of Glenn.
The screen title reads: “NOW.” Morgan is talking to the camera, as if he’s talking to the wolf he met last season. The wolf I thought he killed at the end of the siege on Alexandria… “You said you liked talking. You remember that? Little chats with a stranger by the fire. You said it was like the movies. And you said that you want everything that I have. Every last bit. Well, here it is: Every. Last. Bit.” The screen title switches to: “THEN.” We’re back to crazy Morgan. He’s a mess. Pacing, talking to himself. His walls are covered in scrawl. What I can read says: “You’re not there. Here’s not here.”
Crazy Morgan is hunting. He makes a huge pile of dead walkers and sets them on fire. The fire draws more walkers to kill. Whack! One day he notices people following him so he kills them too. Strangles one with his bare hands, staring into his eyes as he dies. Every night he burns what he killed. When he’s not killing, he’s talking to himself. It’s not much of a life. Then he hears a goat! Before he can snatch her, a voice calls out: “Will you step away from the goat? She’s not yours. I still need her. I’m still figuring out how to make cheese.” Morgan starts shooting because, kill. The voice asks him to put the gun down and join him for falafel. Crazy Morgan just can’t relate. The voice keeps telling him to lower his gun. Suddenly he’s hit by a stick-wielding man. I think we may have met Morgan’s sensei.
Morgan awakens in a cell, next to a plate of food. His captor, Eastman, asks him his name. Morgan begs, “Kill me.” “Well, that’s a stupid name,” Eastman quips. Levity in the zombie apocalypse. Morgan screams, “kill me” over and over. In response Eastman merely tosses him a book: The Art of Peace. Morgan’s response? “Kill me.” Eastman gives up and goes outside to kill a walker that is hassling his goat. Morgan is talking to himself again but he’s contained and being fed. It’s a step up. Through his cell window he watches Eastman kill walkers with a staff. And make cheese. This could be his future.
Before everything turned, Eastman was a forensic psychiatrist in Atlanta. His job was to determine if prisoners/patients were rehabilitated enough to be released. He asks Morgan what he does and Morgan responds, “I clear.” Huh? “Walkers, people… Anything that gets anywhere near me, I kill them.” Morgan claims it’s why he’s still alive and Eastman tells him, “That’s a load of horseshit, if I ever heard it.” I like this guy. He’s shrinking Morgan and if anyone needs it, it’s Crazy Morgan. Eastman tells Morgan he has PTSD and that he can heal himself. He then admits that the cell door isn’t even locked. He gives Morgan two choices: leave or sleep on the couch. “I will not allow you to kill me. I will not allow that.” Morgan opens the cell door and attacks Eastman. Eastman is pretty handy with his staff though and no matter how hard Morgan fights, Eastman always comes out on top. Morgan finally gives up. “I gave you two choices: the door or the couch.” Crazy Morgan is breaking. He chooses to go back into the cell and slams the door. Eastman pushes it open. Morgan kicks it closed.
Eastman tells Morgan about his daughter helping him find Aikido (the martial art that allowed him to kick Morgan’s ass). When Morgan asks about his wife and daughter, Eastman quickly changes the subject. Very interesting, doctor. I see you. Morgan is softening. He even picks up the “Art of Peace” book. And while Eastman is away foraging, he protects Tabitha (the goat) from walkers. He’s dragging the walker bodies away from the cabin when he comes across a graveyard. With lots of graves. Is the doctor a serial killer or is he burying walkers? Walkers. Whew. I really wanted to keep liking him. Before Morgan can toss the bodies in the graves, Eastman pulls out their wallets. He etches their names into crosses for their graves. Eastman is a good man. There are so many walkers it’s sometimes hard to remember that they all started out as people. Eastman still sees that.
Eastman returns Morgan’s spear but he has removed the pointed tip. It’s “wax on, wax off” time! They garden. They practice Aikido. They talk about redirecting their thoughts. “All life is precious.” Morgan is reading the book. And sharing treats with Tabitha. He’s making connections. Connections with others. Connections with the world.
And then he asks Eastman why he has a cell in his cabin. In his job, Eastman interviewed over 800 men and 25 women convicted of terrible acts. There was a particular man, Crighton Dallas Wilton, that had charmed everyone around him, a shoo-in for parole. Everyone except Eastman. And when the psychopath realized that Eastman saw through him, he attacked him. Eastman’s Aikido saved his life. Crighton Dallas Wilton later escaped from prison. He went to Eastman’s home and killed his wife, his daughter and his son. He then walked into the police station and surrendered. He claimed the only reason he broke out was to ruin Eastman’s life. It sounds like he kind of did. Eastman built the cell for Crighton Dallas Wilton. He planned to kidnap him and watch him starve to death. “And did you?” Long, sad pause. “I’ve come to believe that all life is precious.” He’s a better man than I could ever be.
They return to Morgan’s camp to collect some tools. Charred remains of walkers, rocks decorated with “Clear” written in walker blood. It’s quite charming, if you go for those kinds of things. Morgan gets right to work but Eastman is walking around, taking in the sadness of Morgan’s former life. Eastman decides they should practice Aikido. Morgan goes through his forms and Eastman adjusts him. Then Eastman tells Morgan, “You’re going to hold a baby again.” How does he know about Judith? Is he a wolf? (jk). They notice a walker stumbling towards them. Morgan goes to take care of him but freezes when he realizes it’s the guy he strangled (his last kill, if you will). Seeing his friend about to be attacked, Eastman pushes Morgan out of the way and gets bit himself. No! Why? Why do they all have to die? I just can’t with everyone I like dying. It’s too much. Morgan starts yelling at Eastman. He skipped denial and jumped right to anger. I guess losing Eastman is even harder on him than it is on me. Even though he’s bit, Eastman refuses to let Morgan go back to the dark side. They even start physically fighting and he takes down Morgan. Morgan begs again, “Kill me” but Eastman won’t do it. Every life is precious.
Morgan sharpens his staff into a spear and starts hunting again. He’s killing walkers and then comes across a young couple. He threatens them with his spear and guttural noises. The woman goes into her pack and pulls out a can of soup. She puts it on the ground for Morgan and thanks him. They hobble away and Zen Morgan returns. He runs back to Eastman’s cabin to find a walker feasting on Tabitha. My god! Can’t this guy keep any friends? He takes the now dead walker to the graveyard. Eastman is there, burying the walker that bit him. Eastman is fading. As he’s digging, Morgan notices a grave marked Crighton Dallas Wilton. So the good doctor DID kill him. Eastman admits what he did. It took him 47 days to die. “It didn’t give me any peace. I found my peace when I decided to never kill again. To never kill anything again.” Eastman tells Morgan he can stay at the cabin but that he shouldn’t. That he should find people. That he needs people. And then Eastman shuffles off to shoot himself. Morgan buries Eastman and sets out, looking for his people.
The story is over and we’re back in the present. The wolf I thought was dead isn’t. He’s staring at Morgan like he’s an idiot (which he is). “That’s it,” Morgan tells him. “Every last bit.” “Do you think it could work out like that for me?” the wolf asks. No, Morgan! No! You’re not going to Eastman a wolf. No! “I think it can.” Goddammit. He’s going to try and Eastman that wolf. The wolf laughs. The wolf shows Morgan a festering wound he has. When he found the photos in Aaron’s backpack, he figured they had the medicine he needed. “But that was before your people won. So I know I’m going to die. But if I don’t… I AM going to have to kill you, Morgan. I’m going to have to kill every person here. Everyone of them.” Sometimes you have to kill them, Morgan. Seriously. Instead, Morgan locks the wolf up and walks away. He wants to Eastman a wolf. And he might do it behind everyone’s back.
And there was no mention of Glenn! I protest.
Next week: Jessie is burying her kill. Maggie is suiting up (to go look for Glenn?) and Aaron doesn’t want her to go. “You can’t stop me.” Maggie is serious when it comes to finding her man. Jessie is arguing for fighting but Spencer is against it. “If we don’t fight, we die.” Jessie is turning into lady Rick.