So we all had a week to collectively catch our breath and digest last week’s episode of The Walking Dead. Is Glenn somehow still alive? When are we going to find out? Well folks, surely not this week, but we all guessed that would be the case I’m sure. I hear the argument that Steven Yeun aka Glenn is listed for the entire season on IMDB. News flash, so was Emily Kinney and we all know how that worked out. Let’s dig into episode 4, Here’s Not here, and as Uncle Jerry says, “we’ll see how she rolls.”
Compared to last week’s fast paced excitement in Thank You most of Here’s Not Here was a polar opposite. That does not necessarily make it bad, just different. This week we get to see the transformation of Morgan from a killer straddling the line of sanity to the calm, level headed peaceful character we are now seeing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the acting in this show is top notch. The addition of John Carroll Lynch as Eastman in this episode gets some major kudos. Lynch has some acting chops which are displayed in the wide array of characters he has portrayed including Steve, Drew Carey’s cross dressing brother, to Sheriff Ryan in Gothika to Twisty the Clown on American Horror Story: Freak Show. Here, he did not disappoint either.
At the start of the episode, we get a 1st person view of Morgan played by Lennie James as he begins to tell the story of his journey. We then get a black screen that reads “Then.” What follows is how Morgan became…well…”Morgan.” We follow a bitter man who kills anything in his way – alive or undead – as he scribes the words “clear” and “here is not here” throughout his journey. We even see him murder a presumed father and son who just happen to stumble his way as they flee walkers. The camera effect of blurring the screen edges and a fast panning in and out of the camera to help illustrate Morgan’s rage was a nice touch.
After the cold blooded murder is where we meet John Carroll Lynch’s character Eastman. Morgan hears a goat and comes upon Eastman’s property. Through an exchange in which Morgan shoots at Eastman as he tries to calmly get Morgan to drop his gun, Morgan ends up in a cell after being knocked out by Eastman. The interaction between the two was extremely enjoyable to watch as an angry Morgan struggles with the kindness that Eastman is trying to show him. As Morgan explains what clear is (killing anything in his way), Eastman states “that’s the biggest load of horse shit I’ve ever heard.” This relationship worked so well and balanced the episode beautifully. At one point Eastman tells Morgan the cell was never locked and he is welcomed out at any time. Eastman gives him two options: the couch or the door. He ends the statement by telling him “you will not kill me.” Well, Morgan tries and ends up getting tossed around like a rag doll. Eastman again calmly gives him the same two options after the fracas. Morgan opts to go back to the cell but does begin to read a book on inner piece that Eastman put in the cell for him.
We learn that Eastman was a forensic psychiatrist whose family was killed by a psychopath that he helped put away. He broke out of jail for that exact purpose. We also learn that his daughter gave him a “lucky” rabbit’s foot and the next day he stumbled on a pamphlet for an Aikido class and took that as a sign to learn that martial art. Eastman was able to hold onto his sanity through this art. He even walked 30 miles to retrieve a piece of drywall his daughter drew on to keep as a memorial of her and his humanity. Morgan eventually begins to drop his guard and help out with Tabitha the goat and gardening. Eastman begins teaching Morgan about being human again as well as the art of Aikido. We even learn that Eastman buries every walker he kills. He first searches them for an ID and then gives them a site marker with their name on.
With all going so well we had to remember, this is The Walking Dead and something terrible is bound to happen as the end of the 90 minute episode is looming. Sure enough as Eastman and Morgan begin to spar much to Morgan’s chagrin a walker shows up. This isn’t just any walker but the son that Morgan strangled earlier in the episode. Morgan freezes as his mind goes to what he did. As Eastman steps in to save Morgan by throwing him out of the way, the walker bites Eastman. Morgan clearly upset keeps repeating “I told you not here.” Eastman turns to him and gives him his own quote stating “that’s the thing, here’s not here.” Morgan eventually buries Eastman after putting him away before he turns. As Morgan is walking away, he pulls out the rabbit’s foot that Eastman gave him. Poetic ending, NOPE! We then go back to “now” to find Morgan is telling the story to the Wolf we assumed he killed two weeks ago. Just when you think the wolf may be grasping the story he states that he has to kill everyone if he survives, those are the rules. Next week’s episode is set up by screams to let people in the gate as the screen goes black.
“Here’s Not Here” is another excellent episode of The Walking Dead. Not action packed but the dichotomy between Eastman and Morgan that turned into a true friendship was a brilliantly weaved story. This episode was directed by Stephen Williams who is most likely known for his work on Lost. The writer was Scott M. Gimple who has worked on The Walking Dead and you know, that movie about a motorcycle riding flaming skull dude that shall remain nameless. Love the episode and love the season thus far.
The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 4 “Here’s Not Here” (4.5 / 5) on the Thug Meter