Spoiler Alert: The following discusses plot points from Sunday Night's The Walking Dead Season 6 episode, "Here’s Not Here."
It's the Morgan show this week where the chasm of difference between "Clear" Morgan and the Zen, stick-wielding roamer Morgan in "Conquer" is explained. Despite bookending the open and close in the present with the Wolf he has chained in an Alexandria basement, the bulk of the narrative is entirely set in the past, specifically post meeting Rick, Michonne and Carl in Season 4.
The 90-minute episode comes on the heels of the much-talked about death/not-death of Glenn (Steven Yeun) in last week’s “Thank You.”
Editor at Large Aaron Sagers and Contributing Editor Tara Bennett give their reactions to this extended episode, written by Scott Gimple, and directed by Stephen Williams.
Tara: Getting to see Lennie James shine as the entire focus of the episode explores Morgan's harrowing transition from broken man to finding his humanity once more through the care and feeding of Eastman (John Carroll Lynch).
Aaron: I was quite excited to see Lynch’s name in a guest-starring role. Although I wasn’t a fan of the entire season of American Horror Story: Freak Show, his turn as Twisty was fantastic. He succeeds here in topping himself with the fully-realized character of Eastman. The work with Lennie James in this episode played out like a stage play. James really brought it by not switching from crazy to sane, but by gradually finding that humanity, and then losing it again.
Aaron: As much as I enjoyed this self-contained episode, I can already hear the pissed-off cries from fans who view this as anticlimactic filler after the unresolved fate of Glenn.
Tara: Did we need this episode now in the rotation considering there's still a monster cliffhanger dangling from "Thank You"? Yes, we're interested in Morgan's story but we only learned the details about Morgan's evolution that we could pretty much guess from how he acts in the now. It didn't change the story that is still playing out in the now of Alexandria. It just provides some context about Morgan's actions. But Glenn's outcome is still unanswered out in the ether and frankly it makes watching this one-shot episode a very distracting exercise. It's ultimately not very generous to James' character.
Aaron: Agreed, this was by no means a shocker of an episode. It was damn fine storytelling with excellent character work, but we could have surmised how Morgan became the man he is now. Although I initially did not want to see this story, and thought it’d be best left a mystery, I am glad that Gimple gave it to us.
"Oh S--t!" Moment
Tara: Morgan leaving the threatening Wolf in the basement of an Alexandria home. Locked in or not, Morgan already let some escape the community and it brought a lot of misery to Rick. Leaving that monster in the Alexandria hen-house is not going to go well.
Aaron: That was my “Damn it, Morgan” moment, not my “Oh S—t!” moment. For me, that was when Eastman takes the bite for Morgan. It was a moment of sadness, and just such a stupid way for him to go out -- but good stupid, and believable. Still, I would have liked to see Eastman out there on the road, his resolve tested against some of the more unsavory human survivors. Although, if I may add a “Curiouser and curiouser” moment, it was that Steven Yeun is not listed in the opening credits this week.
Tara: The zombie who ate the goat. How DARE YOU!
Aaron: Right?! I was so glad that zombie was taken out. I’m going to miss you, Tabitha. You were a good goat, even if you did not provide tasty cheese.
Best character moment
Tara: Eastman's story about how his family was destroyed by the charming killer was heartbreaking but also a key moment in understanding his own difficult transition to honoring all life. Wonderfully acted and if that's all we get of Eastman, Lynch gave us a a resonant story that brings the focus back on the main thesis of the show which is how do you stay human in the face of the most despicable acts by the "humans" around us.
Aaron: Lynch and James worked so well together that this is such a difficult call. But I think I enjoyed Eastman maintaining his cool, while still being a badass, with the out-of-his-mind Morgan. It was a delight seeing him slicing away at cucumbers, talking in a chipper fashion, to a man he doesn’t know yet has faith in.
What did you think of “Here’s Not Here”? Was it a standout episode of The Walking Dead deserving 90 minutes, or filler before we find out what’s up with Glenn?