Monday, April 1, 2013

The Walking Dead: Rick & Morgan...

So, thanks to my new job, I've been falling behind on some of my shows. One of these is The Walking Dead (TWD) . I'm still an episode behind. (I fell asleep before I could watch the season finale.) But I wanted to talk to you about one of my favorite episodes this season. The episode is called: "Clear", where the show finally answers the question that fans have been asking since the first episodes of the show: What happened to Morgan??

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.


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.

When we last saw Morgan, he had refused to kill his zombie wife. He was too good a man, and too in love with his wife to accept the fact that she was dead. Weeks later, Morgan and his son were on a supply run and came across her. In a moment where the boy was distracted, she killed and began feeding on her own son. It was only at that moment, that Morgan was able to finally shoot her, but it was too late. His son was dead. Eaten by his own mother, a moment that was made possible because Morgan didn't shoot her previously. His son was dead because he was too weak to do what he knew he had to when the time came. That realization broke him.

And hearing Morgan tell that story to Rick's face, seeing the shame Morgan felt for being such a good person, knowing that Rick would not have made it past his first night without Morgan's kindness... it was like getting knifed in the throat while being kidney punched full force by Mike Tyson in his prime. And despite all his pain, and the despair that Rick felt, you could see that he was hurt seeing Morgan like this. To his credit, Rick did try to help Morgan, to give him something to live for again. But Morgan already had a purpose.

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.


  1. It's true, this was a great episode. The best so far since the show began, imo. But to be honest, this had more to do with Michonne and Carl's moments than Rick and Morgan's. This was the episode where they finally gave Michonne some character development! And it really made the episode for me.

  2. I agree that Michonne's parts of the ep were good. It was nice to have her say more than just 3 words at a time. But, I was more floored by the change in Morgan and the reflection it was of Rick's future.

    There were points in the ep where Morgan had me nearly in tears. Michonne doesn't evoke that same level of empathy in me.