Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Walking Dead Reaction: “Here’s Not Here” (6x04)

Last week's episode was heart-pounding, but The Walking Dead took a break from the action in order to focus on the backstory of one of its oldest characters: Morgan Jones. Without further ado, here's what we thought.

Jameson C. Smith

As I’ve mentioned before, I was looking forward to this episode because of its focus on Morgan. Over the course of the series, he’s the one character I’ve always wondered about because he appeared so infrequently and has changed so much since other appearances. “Here’s Not Here” took us on a journey with Morgan from some time after Rick left King County in season three up to the point he began his journey to Terminus. I had no idea what to expect, but I really enjoyed seeing the story unfold.

Lennie James took Morgan’s character through so many emotions in this episode, and he made them believable. My heart broke for Morgan because I know his history (out of all the characters, he is one who has literally lost everything dear to him—sometimes because of his own failures). The episode also focused on a new character, Eastman, who was difficult to read but interesting to learn about. 

Details that caught my attention:

In season three, Morgan had painted and written on the walls of King County and the buildings within. One of the prominent words was “CLEAR,” which is what Morgan saw as his job in the world now. It’s also a reminder to him of the things he should have done and the consequences that came about because he failed to do them. I liked seeing more of what the word represented for him and how he learned to move on.

The rabbit’s foot, the bullet, and the Goo Goo Cluster.
We first saw these items when Morgan arrived at Father Gabriel’s church in season five. Now we finally know why they were so important to him.

“Not supposed to be there/here.”
Morgan repeats the phrase (or variations of it) frequently. It’s also something one of the Wolves said to him and Father Gabriel when they attacked Alexandria. Is there a connection? (My mom and I have been discussing the possibility of Morgan having influenced the Wolves, based on a screencap from the episode “Clear.”)

While we learned about Morgan’s mysterious life between King County and Alexandria, we also learned about Eastman’s past before and after the apocalypse. Both men have lost their families in horrible ways (and both hold themselves responsible). Both have done things they regret. Both have also made the decision to survive, just in different ways.

Something I appreciated about this episode was that they didn’t rush Morgan’s recovery. It was a struggle for him and he had to face setbacks, but through those setbacks he learned how to become stronger. Eastman wasn’t just someone who helped him survive—he helped Morgan learn how to trust people again (and I think he was able to do the same for Eastman). 

Overall, I think this is one of my favorite episodes of the season. I was curious to see just what Morgan had been up to all this time, and seeing his story fall into place was intriguing to watch. I’m really excited to see what is next for his story!

Other thoughts:
The Wolves’ Leader – Much of the episode explored Morgan’s guilt because people died or were hurt because he failed to eliminate threats when he had the chance, so I’m curious to see what his plans are regarding this guy. I don’t see this ending well. (Maybe they’re setting Morgan up to be an antagonist?)

While I still really want to know what’s going on with Glenn, the slower pace and shift in focus of this episode provided a good opportunity to recover from last week. 

I completely forgot about Scott Gimple’s hints about cheese last season. It was entertaining to see what he meant.

I thought Eastman’s habit of burying the walkers he killed was unique and interesting. I don’t think we’ve seen anyone else bury walkers who weren’t family members or friends.

Rick did not sound happy on the other side of those gates. I’m curious how he’s going to react when he is back inside the walls. (Especially if Judith is missing…)

Sky Destrian

This episode was like a mini-movie. We were taken away from Alexandria for the majority of the episode in order to take a look at how Morgan’s life has played out since we last saw him. Morgan is one of the most underrated yet important characters on the show, and I feel this episode gave him the tribute he deserves. He was in the very first episode. He introduced Rick—and us—to the world of the walkers. He’s been one of the show’s few constants, and it’s nice that even in season six we get to see story threads that have been around since the beginning. (I got chills when I saw him head off towards Terminus; it’s a completion of an old story arc and yet the beginning of a new one too, all at the same time.)

This episode was definitely a slower one, especially when you contrast it with how much action the first three episodes of season six had. It was simultaneously nice and annoying to be taken away from that action; I enjoyed the break, but I still want to know what happened to Glenn and the Alexandria citizens. Still, I think the season overall benefited from this slower episode. The character development and philosophical aspects of this episode were also amazing. Once again, The Walking Dead managed to show us the little glimpses of humanity in the midst of all the horror.

Eastman: “I have come to believe that all life is precious.”

Speaking of, Eastman was one of my favorite parts of this episode. From his very first appearance, I was laughing my head off and in love with his outlook and sense of humor. I also knew that since Morgan didn’t show up with Eastman we were bound to have to say goodbye to Eastman at some point. However, that didn’t stop him from being one of my favorite characters they’ve done on this show. He was funny, multi-faceted, haunted by his own demons, yet still trying to live in peace. I loved how he honored all the lives of the people he did kill. I wish we had gotten to see a lot more of him.

Also, I need to give a huge mention to a certain goat called Tabitha. Honestly, she was another favorite part of this episode for me. I was sad to see her go, too. (The only saving grace is that the walker that ate her wasn’t Eastman.) She was the breakout star of this episode. I can already see all the goat memes in The Walking Dead’s future… (Also, if you need a chuckle, check out this comment.)

The end, with the leader of the Wolves, was extremely enthralling. (I’m so glad Morgan didn’t leave his prisoner’s cell unlocked like Eastman did, though. That would have ended badly for everyone.) I hated the Wolf leader’s promise to kill every single one of them, which adds yet another threat for me to worry about regarding the people of Alexandria.

It was nice to see why Morgan didn’t kill the Wolves in one of the previous episodes, and I seriously respect his desire to not kill and to respect human life. However, I have an awful feeling that Morgan’s no-kill policy will come back to hurt him in the end—we’ve seen that unfortunately the world of The Walking Dead doesn’t work like that, and it’s a harsh world to those who are tenderhearted.

I’d like to give a major kudos to Lennie James. He is a fantastic actor, and this was one of Morgan’s greatest moments. I’m glad he got a chance to shine. I thought he portrayed Morgan’s psychological journey extremely well, and I feel that Morgan’s PTSD and struggles were very realistic. It was nice to see exactly how the zombie apocalypse takes an immense toll on people, Morgan and Eastman alike.

While this was a slower-moving episode, we got a satisfying cliffhanger at the end with Rick (or Glenn? Dare I hope?) yelling to open the gate. This set up things perfectly for next episode, and I seriously cannot wait.

What did you think of “Here’s Not Here”?


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