For those of you who don't know, TWD is a show about life after a zombie apocalypse. Based on a comic series of the same name, the story follows a band of people lead by former Sheriff Rick Grimes, who just go through from place to place trying to find some kind of life while surviving zombies. In the first episode, Rick wakes up in the hospital after being shot in the line of duty and finds himself in a zombie apocalypse. He stumbles around trying to figure out what is going on and what happened to his family and friends. He runs into a man named Morgan and his son, Duane. Morgan gives Rick the 411 on what went down, and some tips & tricks on how to survive. Rick goes on a quest to find his family but gives Morgan a radio and tells him every day at dawn, he'll turn it on and broadcast a message for them. And that was it... For awhile, they had Rick on the radio talking to Morgan, in that journal, or diary kind of way. But that was the last we saw of Morgan. Until now.
If you haven't seen the ep, DON'T READ ANY FURTHER! THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD!!
Okay, I want you to understand, I don't watch shows on TV. I download the shows or watch them online. So, no television promos, no "Stay tuned for scenes from our next episode"... nothing. So, I had no idea that this episode was coming until I saw the story re-cap at the beginning and they showed Rick on the radio warning Morgan to stay out of Atlanta. (Don't worry about why. That's not important.) I was COMPLETELY blindsided by this ep.
One of my favorite book series has a saying in it: "How do you hurt a man who's lost everything? Give him something broken." This episode is a PERFECT example of that. It has been three seasons, but in the show it's only been about a year since Rick woke up to a world full of zombies. But in that time, he's gone through enough crap to make any 3 people go crazy and he has been cracking. Auditory and visual hallucinations, depression, and paranoia are just the beginning of what he's been experiencing. So walking into this ep, Rick is not in a stable place mentally. A few minutes into the ep, he runs into Morgan and gets a glimpse of what's further down the road he is on.
He wasn't going to let that moment play out again. So, his purpose now: To Clear; To get rid of all the zombies everywhere. He no longer wanted, or deserved (in his own mind, anyway) anyone's help. In order to make up for the one time he didn't pull the trigger, he has to now kill all the zombies. And as Rick drives away, you see Morgan piling up his latest kills and getting ready to burn them.
The funny thing is, you would think that seeing Morgan like this would be the final nail in Rick's sanity. That not being able to reach Morgan and get him to accept help would shatter Rick's fragile psyche, but it didn't. In fact, it had the opposite effect. It seemed to have brought Rick out of the comfortable shell his insanity was building for him and reignited some spark of hope. Or at the very least, the will to resist.
And that is true irony in this ep. In Morgan's refusal to be the good man he once was, and resigning himself to the penance he thinks he deserves, he commits one "final" act in the vein of the man he was. The same act, in fact, that he did in the beginning of the show:
He saves Rick Grimes.