The Master of Zombie Zen & The Walking DEAD
I don’t think The Walking Dead can’t get any more philosophical than Sunday’s episode, “Here’s Not Here”. This episode was all about Morgan and how he reached a place of eternally tranquil Zen, but the episode showed that it wasn’t so tranquil and it wasn’t so ZEN after all. I mean, they spend 90 friggin minutes teaching us all about peace and non-violence like the guest-star was Gandhi or something, but then throw the best curveball ever at the end.
John Carroll Lynch is a good addition to this episode, and I think his dialogue with Morgan worked very well. Lynch plays this guy Eastman, who is a zen survivor who doesn’t kill. Yeah, he’s still around in the apocalypse. Somehow.
Eastman takes Morgan off the crazy train and puts him a cell that’s not even locked. He’s fearless. I like how he’s honest with Morgan and treats him the way he might treat somebody who needs counseling like in his old job before the zombies took over and crapped on the world. It’s a good story.
The ending is really what makes the whole thing work, because it puts a little doubt in your mind about the zen and peace you just watched for 90 minutes. Morgan has one of the Wolves tied up and is speaking to him about what he learned from Eastman, but the Wolf doesn’t get it. He refuses to get it. He threatens the community. Threatens to kill everyone, including the kids. Ouch. What a nice guy.
Morgan squints at this guy, as if trying to summon the power of zen to quell his need to slap this guy upside the head. Yeah, he’s learned the patience of Eastman, that’s for sure. And I think he’s also learned that you can’t cling too tightly to any traditional dogma in the apocalypse. I think Rick learned that lesson already, as he’s gone through several stages of growth himself.
So the ending is a great cliffhanger and it leaves you questioning the whole 90 minutes. It’s obvious that nothing is as simple as saying “Life is precious”. Morgan follows what he THINKS is right, but you can tell he was reconsidering his own decision at the end of the episode, as he walks out with his head down. Is Morgan really going to let this guy threaten baby Judith? Of course, the answer isn’t simple either. Maybe he’s just going to leave him to starve.
In all, this was a great episode. It’s obvious the writing team can really do some good character studies when they don’t have ten people to write for and twenty different plot points to shoe in. Eastman’s speech about doors both literal and figurative is just amazing, and I think it reaches Morgan at just the right time. I wonder how he’s going to reach that Wolf guy, if at all. Is he going to leave him to starve like Eastman did? I guess we’ll have to keep watching to find out.