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'The Walking Dead': Morgan's Way

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 9/11/2015 Darryl Woodard
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Episode 4 of Season 6, titled "Here's Not Here," takes a lane change from the previous three episodes. Unveiling how Morgan got all Shaolin-like. And a former Atlanta shrink who became Morgan's Master Po.
The opening scene has Morgan looking right at you, talking, while the background is easily recognizable. It's the holding cell room with the drywall look in an unfinished townhouse in the Alexandrian community. The same place where Rick was kept temporarily after he fought Pete in Season 5, Episode 15, and where Morgan was kept temporarily as a precaution in the Season 6 premiere. While Morgan says, "You said you liked talking. I remember that. Little chats with a stranger by the fire. You said it was like the movies. Then you said that you want everything that I have. Every last bit," he recites the same words previously spoken from the Wolf. The same Wolf who tried to kill Morgan after the two first met at the beginning of the Season 5 finale. And who tried to kill Morgan again in Season 6, Episode 2 -- only the Wolf gets knocked unconscious with a bo-staff again by Morgan. As Morgan speaks to the Wolf who's still not shown, Morgan (Lennie James) then says, "Well, here it is. Every last bit." And thus begins Morgan's story.
The next scene shows Morgan at his apartment as the same place where words are scrawled on the walls, shown previously in Season 3, Episode 12, titled "Clear." Only the apartment is now set afire from a lantern knocked over. With Morgan's mind then gone after the deaths of his wife and son, he's still at it, now in the woods killing walkers to afterward using their blood to scrawl messages upon rocks and trees. Then he sees two men chase after him, which he quickly evades by hiding in wait. After the two men suddenly stop their chase now caught with the tables turned, Morgan quickly emerges to stab one in the throat with a wooden spear and chokes the other. Shortly after, the scrawled words "Clear," "Here's Not Here," and "Pointless Acts," all written in walker blood are shown on rocks and trees.
The following scene is enchantingly stunning, as Morgan then enters into a colorful glade of trees and flowers. All looking enhanced by ethereal beauty, while bathed in soft-hued showering sunlight. Great cinematography, perhaps by Michael Satrazemis who also did cinematography for The Walking Dead Season 5 finale, or by Michael Slovis who not only directed Episode 3 of Season 6, but also was the cinematographer for Breaking Bad winner of 16 Emmy Awards.
All of which could be that when Morgan entered such a beautiful setting, it served to foretell what awaits him. For while following the sound of a bleating goat as he's carrying an assault rifle, he discovers not only the goat named Tabitha, but also a handsomely rustic log cabin. And that's when Morgan suddenly hears a man's voice saying, "Can you step away from the goat? She's not yours. I still need her," followed by, "Why don't you put the gun down and we'll talk? Have some falafel? Looks like you haven't eaten for a while."
While Morgan continues to stalk after the man's voice, he then hears, "Okay, last chance. Lower your gun, step away from the cabin." Morgan ignores, while upon entering the cabin a man comes upon him to say, "Sorry," before knocking Morgan unconscious with a bo-staff.
Next, Morgan wakes up in a cell with food nearby. The man then walks up and asks, "What's your name?" Then Morgan replies, "Kill me." To which the man says, "Well, that's a stupid name. It's dangerous. You should change it." Which speaking of change, thus begins from there on, the transformation of Morgan Jones.
The episode titled "Here's Not Here" was a brilliant interruption from the previous three episodes that dealt with Rick's group and the Alexandrians facing both walkers and the Wolves, wonderfully written by Scott M. Gimple, also the series showrunner. Devoted fans were no doubt all wondering what happened to have changed Morgan all of a sudden. Especially during a scene from the Season 6 premiere when Rick visits Morgan in the Alexandrian holding room, and sees Morgan practicing with his bo-staff. The very weapon that also saved Daryl and Aaron while both were trapped inside a car surrounded by walkers in the Season 5 finale. For as Rick (Andrew Lincoln) watches, he says, "Where'd you learn that?" "A friend," Morgan replies.
And now we know. For that friend turned out to be named Eastman (John Carroll Lynch) owner of the log cabin, and former Atlanta forensic psychiatrist who became Morgan's Aikido Master. Furthermore, it's not entirely coincidental that his given name was Eastman, and that's it. Not even called David Eastman, just Eastman. For there are now presented two philosophies that have been in conflict ever since the Season 5 finale of The Walking Dead when Morgan first meets the Wolf.
"Everything gets a return," says Morgan while sitting at his camp in the woods while being held at gunpoint by a man with a W scar on his forehead. Which we now know that phrase originated from Eastman, who after telling Morgan that he's interviewed 825 people as a psychiatrist, he says, "It's all a circle and everything gets a return." While Western philosophy is linear, Eastern philosophy is circular. While Eastern philosophy is about interrelated harmony or holistic, such as Eastman mentioning to Morgan about his PTSD patients as he summarily proves that man was not meant to kill, Western philosophy is more about the individual apart from a community. Whereas Western philosophy is structured, Eastern philosophy is organic, as a known quote from Bruce Lee says, "Be water, my friend." Yet who's to say which is better, for cannot both co-exist? In the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, it is Spock who says, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." And yet near the end of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, it is Spock who asks Captain Kirk why did he risk all to bring him back. To which Captain Kirk replies, "Because the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many."
In The Walking Dead Season 6, Episode 2 titled "JSS," while the Wolves attack Alexandria, Morgan sees Carol. And then he says, "You don't have to kill people." She replies, "of course we do." Then Morgan says, "Carol! You don't like it." True, Carol doesn't like to kill. Yet the same could also be said of Rick and others from his group, whom all are just as human as Morgan. So it's going to be mighty interesting how things will unfold in forthcoming episodes. I give the episode titled, "Here's Not Here," five stars out of five. Long live The Walking Dead.

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