Season Six, Episode Four — “Here’s Not Here”
By Jarrod Jones. The savagery of man is not a new idea for The Walking Dead, and it’s certainly nothing new for its stalwart fanbase. But I’m finding all-new kinds of anger shooting through my body everytime someone says to me, “I hear Glenn crawled under the dumpster.” Dudes, he’s dead. Let it go.
*cough* Of course, when I’m referring to the savagery of man, I’m talking about the state in which we find our monklike Morgan at the beginning of this flashback episode. That’s right, there are no definitive answers as to whether or not Glenn joined the big ol’ gutheap in the sky… aside from the scene in last week’s episode where we all watched Glenn get his innards picked apart by a swarm of fairly peckish walkers. (Yes, you did. Yeesh. Learn how to watch things with your eyes. I hope you don’t have a driver’s license.)
*ahem* What I mean to say is, “Here’s Not Here” takes time to develop one of the show’s most intriguing characters while introducing us to what is ultimately one of the most crucial characters The Walking Dead ever had. Eastman, we are ever in your debt. And it’s probably more your fault than Morgan’s that that damned Wolf walked away with a gun in his hands only to shoot at Rick an hour later last week. (I can only blame Morgan for so much, guys.) So, hey! Now we are witness to a world where Morgan doesn’t shy away from guns. Not a dream! Not an imaginary story! And Glenn’s still dead!
WHAT WORKED: Put Glenn aside for a week, if you can. That’s all Walking Dead asks of you as a viewer. Tall order, I know (believe me, I’m just aching for a chance to shut down all those ‘Glenn Truthers’ out there), but “Here’s Not Here” not only made that easy, it made watching an episode without pertinent answers enjoyable. Everyone knows by now that Morgan had come a long way to being the show’s stalwart un-Caped Crusader, but our frustrations with the man have always come from the fact that his righteousness ends up compromising more innocent people than he probably intends. With this episode, we come to realize, sometimes painfully, that Morgan isn’t a mere contrarian, and his philosophy — if it’s properly applied to Mr. Gestapo — might end up saving those he cares for the most after all.
WHAT DIDN’T: The episode stretched as far as it could to reach 90 minutes, but there was really no reason for it. Scott M. Gimple, The Walking Dead‘s showrunner, certainly loves to infuse his walker carnage with a lyrical beauty, and here we see him scripting his first solo-episode for the season with the gravity of a James Joyce novel. (At least in terms of heft.) We certainly didn’t need to linger around the compound once Eastman got himself chomped on, and yet the cameras stay with Morgan as he watches his only friend slip away, well past the point where we understood how important he was. And 90 minutes with zero allusions to last week’s craziness is unforgivable.
“Why don’t you put the gun down? We’ll have some falafel.” – Eastman.
“Kill me.” – Morgan.
“You shot at me, I fed you. Please don’t hurt her.” – Eastman.
“While you’re alive, live a little.” – Eastman.
“I’ve come to believe that all life is precious.” – Eastman.
BEST MOMENT: “I fixed your staff.” When we first see Morgan use his staff in flashback, it’s to put the sharp end through a human being’s neck. Eastman takes his weapon of death and makes it his salvation by removing the aspect of it that would do evil. “All life is precious” might be a hard concept to swallow in a world like this, but through Eastman’s zen-like patience, Morgan found a new lease on life. (And everyone in attendance during last night’s DoomRocket screening was busted with tears welling in their eyes, just don’t tell no one, ok.)
EPISODE’S MVP: Eastman. He’s a man with a different vision, living in the same shattered world. John Carroll Lynch’s portrayal of the one man at peace amid the apocalypse stuck a lump in my throat at least three separate times throughout the episode. (See above.) Whether he was botching yet another attempt at making cheese, keeping his goat from the errant walker, or showing Morgan what it means to be alive, Eastman’s philosophies will continue to resonate through The Walking Dead for years to come. *sniffle*
BRAY OF THE DEAD:
– If you didn’t notice Steven Yeun’s name was conspicuously absent from last night’s opening credits, you, my friend, are living in a perpetual state of denial.
– You were a good goat, Tabitha. Rest in peace.
– “You’re gonna hold a baby again.” Eastman may have been right — Morgan does, in fact, hold a baby in this season’s premiere, Rick’s daughter, Judith — but that sure was a strange thing to say.
– Last season we saw Morgan set a lucky rabbit’s foot on the altar of Father Gabriel’s church just before he prayed. And now we know where it came from.
– It’s looking more and more like this whole season’s gonna revolve around one single day. If they actually pull that off, I will be thoroughly impressed.