Worming Through 'The Walking Dead': Here's Not Here

Photo by Gene Page/AMC

Morgan has been heavily featured on the first three episodes of The Walking Dead’s sixth season, so I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised to find out that the fourth episode was focused entirely on our stick wielding protagonist. Not only was the episode entirely focused on Morgan and his mentor Eastman, it was also 90 minutes long for some reason.

“Here’s Not Here” will probably come as a frustrating little detour for most fans of the show after last week’s debacle with Glenn and Squirrelly Larry. I like Morgan, I like Lennie James, but I’m not sure I wanted to see an extra long episode dedicated to how he got from crazy guy living in a zombie version of Mouse Trap to the man of peace and stick whacking that we see today.

See, Morgan set out from his booby trap palace that we saw back in “Clear” and was little more than a feral animal. He killed every zombie he came across, as well as a couple of guys. He even killed one with a self-made spear. You know a stick with a pointy end. Do you get the analogy yet? Do you???

During Morgan’s travels he comes across a cabin with a tied up goat. Have you ever had a goat burrito? You’re damn right Morgan is going after that thing. It’s not to be, as he is knocked out by Eastman and placed in a homemade cell.

Eastman is your typical Walking Dead universe guy with a tragic backstory. Unlike everyone else we meet, he hasn’t gone completely loony and tried to murder everyone he comes across. He’d be a little justified if he was loony. Some serial killer with a vendetta somehow broke out of prison just to murder Eastman’s entire family. And yeah, the zen master did break down a little and kidnap the guy and watch him as he starved to death. But Eastman is totally cool now, yo! He believes in peace and love and goat cheese. He wears Morgan down over the course of, oh, let’s say a few months until he saves that delicious goat from a couple of zombies and accepts bo staff lessons from the man who shares a name with the creator of the Ninja Turtles.

This wouldn’t be a proper Walking Dead tragic backstory without the tragedy though. Morgan and Eastman come across a zombie as they stroll through the never ending woods of Georgia (I would kill to see them get away from the forest at this point). As he swoops in to neutralize it, Morgan freezes. Ermahgerd, it’s the guy he choked out earlier in the episode! Never fear though, Eastman is here to save him, as he swoops in, knocks Morgan out of the way, and gets bitten right in the back. Yes, the master zen stick handler, with the perfect weapon to stick right in a creature’s mouth so it can’t bite him or his friend, does the dumbest thing possible and gets himself bitten. Ugh. Thus Morgan is on his own again to write things on rocks and trees like “Clear” and his bootleg version of YOLO.

YOGO just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

I appreciate the effort in attempting to have another great episode like “Clear”, focusing on only a few people and trying to tell a different story besides “Rick has to do whatever it takes to survive”. It just doesn’t totally work here. Well, now we know how Morgan got to this point. Terrific. Let’s go find Glenn and Nick’s mangled corpses under the zombie herd. Or maybe Daryl will do something this season!