I was so excited that there was an extended Morgan episode scheduled for this series of The Walking Dead. I hate repeated viewing of anything but I happily watched ‘Clear’(Series 3:Ep 12) at least three times. I knew it’d be a tour de force from Lennie James and we’ve waited so long to find out exactly how Morgan changed from wailing loon to chilled-out zen warrior. I knew this would be a series highlight.
Hovering over the armchair on the other side of the room was a grumpy little cloud, under which sat Mr Hamstera. “This is an all Morgan episode? So we’re not going to find out what happened to Glenn or Rick?” he grumped. “Yep” I said, “it’s his back story. Don’t worry – it’ll be great.” My response was a little forced. I appreciate a series that has the guts (really gorey blood-splattered guts) to slow the pace of a series right down and do an episode with one or two characters in it. It changes the pace and the mood, and usually shows us a totally different side to a favourite character, giving us a whole new understanding of their motivations. But it’s a difficult trick to pull off. Only the best writers with the most interesting characters can manage it. (Strangely a great example that spang to mind was ‘Time on Our Hands’, a poignant and unexpected episode of Only Fools and Horses).
This was exactly what ‘Here’s not Here’ did for Morgan. I’m not a big fan of peace and love, especially during the zombie apocalypse. I don’t see how there can possibly be a place for it. Here is an excerpt of what I was yelling at Morgan during ‘JSS’ when the crazy Wolves rampaged through Alexandria – “Stop waggling your stick around you fool!” “Why are you letting those Wolves go free?” “Be more like Carol – be a badass!”
But thanks to this episode I have to admit, Morgan is pretty badass, just in a new and unusual way. He’s regained his sense of self and reset his moral compass thanks to his wonderful sensei Eastman. (Watching him Morgan leap out and murder random people who were no threat to him was a bit much for me. Even though the world of TWD is brutal that shit is beyond the pale.) Eastman’s patience and trust provided Morgan with a route back to humanity, a way to get truly clear. For that, of course, Eastman got bitten – no good deed goes unpunished in this universe – but it’s easy to see that Eastman lives on in Morgan. John Carroll Lynch provided us with a civilised, peaceful character who was great company. I could have listened to for days even if he’d insisted on me trying his goat cheese recipes. I’m glad he had a dark past though and wasn’t just a simple foil for Morgan’s evil deeds. Good guys should never be whiter-than-white. That sort of character is boring and the less we see of them the better (*ahem* anonymous Alexandrians).
This episode was a beautiful looking, delicately paced philosophical buddy movie, a stand-alone play that could easily exist without the rest of the series. I’m glad to report that Mr H was utterly absorbed and clapped as the credits rolled saying it was the best episode of the series so far. Truth.
As for me thanks to one man and his goat, I’ve come to believe that all ways of living during the zombie apocalypse are precious.