Editor’s note: this review of AMC’s The Walking Dead will contain some spoilers. I will try to keep them to a minimum, but they’re be there nonetheless. You’ve been warned.
“I have come to believe that all life is precious.”
It’s a vastly different philosophy from what we’ve grown used to over the last five seasons of The Walking Dead, and it feels uncomfortably outmoded. It’s a something from a more civilized time, a way of thought that gets people killed in the world of The Walking Dead.
And, if you look at it a certain way, it kind of does. After all, Eastman gets himself bitten, and none of his philosophizing about redirection and the sanctity of life can change what happens to him. Nor could it save poor Tabitha, his faithful goat.
But that’s a pretty narrow way to look at things.
We start this episode (ignoring the bookends) flashing back quite a ways, with Morgan burning down his safe house and moving into the wilderness. He becomes a one man answer to the zombie apocalypse, channeling his loss into unrefined violence. Mostly directed at the zombies… mostly.
Naturally, this didn’t have much in the way of a cleansing effect on Morgan’s psyche, and he became increasing feral, half staved, more than half crazy. But then he meets Eastman. And his stick.
The Walking Dead took a gamble on this episode, airing as it does on the tail of a huge cliffhanger. Fans want to know what happened to Glenn. They want to know whether Rick managed to rejoin the others. And then end up getting about five minutes of a story set within the present timeline.
But I’ll be damned if the gamble didn’t pay off. Of course, the show runners had an ace up their sleeve. Or, rather, two aces. First off, there’s Lennie James, who stands head and shoulders above every other actor on the show. Add to that veteran character actor John Carroll Lynch, and you end up with one hell of a combination.
The story itself could have come off as a tad trite. A broken man finds another man who managed to put himself back together after his life was destroyed. Some hard lessons are learned, painful secrets are dredged up, and the broken man pulls himself back together just in time to see his mentor get mortally wounded. The flashes of Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces are hard to ignore. But, honestly, it works.It works damn well.
It was nice to see how Morgan managed to transform himself from the crazed mess we last saw to the hyper-capable pacifist we see today. I loved that this change was forced upon him by an outside force who’s been through the darkness himself, and found the light at the end. Also, he’s super good at stick fighting, which comes in incredibly handy in the zombie apocalypse.
Sure, I’m plenty excited to see how things shake out in Alexandria, even more so now that we’ve seen Morgan hiding one of the wolves away in an empty house, but I really didn’t mind the break.
Morgan did get people killed when he didn’t kill the first wolves he met they led the rest to Alexandria. Of course extras and minor characters are killed off so frequently on TV and Movies no one cares and many actually want the see them die in gruesome ways.
Oh yeah, the purpose of unnamed characters’ entire existence is to get killed and raise the stakes for the characters we actually give a shit about.
All I fear in this 6th season is when the first average episode will happen… All 4 episodes have been awesome so far… A full hour of Morgan path was a marvel… Great balance between action and interaction between Morgan and Eastman. I was so amazed that, until i read your review, I completly forgot about Glenn and Rick… Here is the strengh of the episode: it didn’t look like the usual TWD, yet it fitted so nice…
And now we’re back to back to back to back great episodes! It’s gonna be long til sunday…
The show has gotten substantially better over the years. This season has been incredibly strong so far. I figure we’ve got one more episode to play out the season opener, and then we’ll start prepping for the real meat of Season 6.
Good review, and I agree with pretty much all of it.
Those two actors are awesome, and that goat played it’s part well too 🙂
Happy with the placement of this episode as well, and the fact this was Morgan telling his story to someone from a previous episode is interesting way of doing it… even down to Morgan locking the door afterwards, like he isn’t entirely sure himself.