‘The Walking Dead’ Episode 604: Was 90 Minutes Necessary?


The Walking Dead returned with an all-new episode last night, and this one was surely for the Morgan fans.  Taking a break from all of the insanity going on in and around Alexandria, the entire episode was one long flashback, filling the gap in Morgan’s story to explain what happened to him after leaving his fortress in King County.  It was painful to realize that we won’t be finding out Glenn’s fate for at least another week, but I think the episode was necessary to delve into the mystery of Morgan, further developing the fan favorite character.

The episode, Here’s Not Here, opened with Morgan addressing the camera.  He is telling his story to an unseen person, explaining all that he had done on his path to Alexandria and how he changed who he was.  Through the use of Morgan’s storytelling, the show jumped all the way back to what was happening with Morgan in the Clear episode from Season 3 and why he left such a fortified, fairly safe place.  It turns out that he unintentionally burned the whole thing down in the midst of losing his mind.

Remember the Season 3 episode of The Walking Dead when Morgan shot at Rick, Michonne and Carl?  He didn’t just magically get better after that.  In fact, he got even crazier, making it his new life’s mission to simply kill anything and anyone who crosses his path.  This is proven when he murders two survivors who had been tailing him in the woods.  Were they going to kill or rob Morgan?  I’m not sure, but I don’t think Morgan cared either way.  He was officially a psychopath.

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When Morgan finds a remote cabin in the woods complete with a pet goat, the first thing he does is shoot at the only person there.  Failing to kill the stranger, Morgan is knocked unconscious only to later awaken in a makeshift jail cell.  When he meets the man who captured him, Morgan begs to be killed.  However, the man, Eastman, refuses, as he follows aikido, or the Japanese martial art of defending oneself while also protecting the attacker.  As Eastman can clearly see that Morgan is suffering from PTSD, he maintains patience with him and only tries to help him, despite Morgan’s attempts at violence or pleas to die.

This was when things really started to slow down.  The remainder of the episode focused mostly on Morgan slowly recovering his marbles.  He is allowed to walk free after being told that the cell door was unlocked the whole time, and he helps out around the cabin (such as protecting Tabitha the goat from walkers).  He further learns the art of aikido and becomes a master of the bow staff, after several training sessions with Eastman.  It was probably very interesting for big kung fu fans, but for me, it seemed a little out of place to have this kind of episode in a horror TV series.

Eventually, Eastman gets himself bitten and Tabitha becomes zombie food, so Morgan finds himself alone once again.  Knowing that the cabin is fairly safe compared to other places to stay, Morgan still chooses to continue on his way.  However, now he values all human life based on what he learned from Eastman.  That’s why, in the end of the episode, it was revealed that Morgan was telling his story to one of the Wolves that he had tied up and locked away in an Alexandria house (because that isn’t going to end badly or anything).

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I don’t mind taking a return to the bottle episodes, and I think it was necessary to explain how Morgan went from a murderous lunatic to a peaceful martial artist.  90 minutes was definitely way too long for this episode, though, and I’d have rather had the extra half an hour the week before.  Having an episode with a slower pace is fine, but extending it by another 30 minutes seemed excessive.  It’s not that it was an awful Walking Dead episode, but about 60 minutes of it was pretty interesting while roughly 30 minutes could’ve been trimmed without harming the story.  So I just don’t see why this particular episode was allotted the extra time.

I don’t want to complain about having more Walking Dead to watch.  I just would have preferred the extra time be given to an Alexandria episode.  There is so much going on at the present point in the story, while not much was happening in this special 90 minute episode.  That just seemed strange to me.

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