While we are gaining insight into the intimate moments of our characters’ lives, time is moving very slowly in the Walking Dead universe and it seems as if we are looking at the quarry herd parade from numerous angles, our only reprieve from that story, an insightful peek into Morgan’s history. This week, I’m recapping two episodes in one post, people, so keep up.
Spoilers ahead, Sweetie…
Rick is in charge of keeping not only the Tribe, but the Alexandrians, in and outside of the wall, safe. While parading the walkers seemed like a good idea an hour ago (in TWD time), we now see that the Wolves took Rick’s plan as an opportunity to attack Alexandria while their defenses were low. Whether that is because of Enid or not, we don’t know. Time is looping, and while the “Carol kicking ass as a as Wolf” story, the “Carl and Enid in the house” story as well as the “Morgan chatting with a Wolf” story are going on back behind the walls, we also have the story of Michonne and Glen (amongst others).
The horn, which we now know is a Wolf crashing into the walls of Alexandria with his semi truck, is still blasting, and the walker parade is veering off into the forest. Rick has delegated tasks; he sends Morgan back to Alexandria first, then tasks Michonne and Glenn to return safely with the Alexandrians who were at the quarry to help. He also tells Daryl, Abraham and Sasha to stay the course, and lead the walkers 20 miles out of town. By allowing Morgan to run off on his own, the story is set up to split–giving us a chance to experience the story outside the walls before leading us to Morgan’s personal history.
We start with Glenn, Michonne and Nicholas, plus a few injured Alexandrians. It’s obvious that, for the most part, the Alexandrians are weak, scared and ultimately, unable to care for themselves outside of the walls. While the strength of the Tribe was forged through experience, for the Alexandrians, the quarry ordeal is their first encounter with life outside the walls and a sad truth is, many, many people die. As Michonne says to Heath,
We know, you don’t. But if you don’t learn, you will die, we will.
I’m afraid Michonne might be right. She and Glen are similar in that they both will do whatever it takes to save the Alexandrians and get them home safely. But t doesn’t bode well when Glenn runs off with Nicholas, yes, THAT ASSHOLE, in order to create a patented Glenn Rhee distraction to draw walkers away from their group. Glenn puts his trust in Nicholas to a) lead them back to Alexandria b) help him blow up a building on the other side of town and ) not have a mental breakdown while they’re trying to fight walkers, all of which are asking a lot of this guy. Unfortunately, the town is overrun by walkers, and, while Michonne gets her group out effectively, Glenn and Nicholas get stuck in an alleyway. Nicholas sees no way out, so he shoots himself in the head, pushing Glenn into a horde to (gulp) die???
No one is safe in a post-apocalyptic world. The walkers don’t care if you have a family, a wife, loved ones, dreams, if you’re young, old, male or female. The world is shit and everyone dies, a lesson that drives Nicholas to take his own life and Glenn’s with it.
Which, of course, Rick doesn’t know yet. The Tribe is falling apart, with Glenn down, Alexandria under attack and Daryl confused as to whether he should follow orders or not. The time loop–this constant hour we are stuck in, is intense and interesting, and I’m not sick of it yet. Still, it’s a lot to process, and so moving us away from this horror hour to focus on Morgan’s origin story is a wise choice and somewhat cathartic.
Back at Alexandria, we have the aftermath of the Wolf attack, and a flashback story that focuses on how Morgan survived between the time Rick met him (back in season 1) and today. For Morgan, instead of going catatonic, he allows rage to consume him. In this flashback, we see that, after his son died, he lost his mind. He spends his time muttering phrases, writing in blood on walls and “clearing” his path through the world, by killing everyone and thing that comes in front of him. This life takes a toll on Morgan’s sanity, and when he finally meets up with Eastman, the person who reminds Morgan how to be human and value life through the trainings of aikido.
The Master/Student dynamic is a familiar one, especially in post-apocalyptic societies. The Master must train the Student in the ways of ______, and then the Master usually dies, sending the Student on his way in the world to either accept or reject the teachings of the Master. The trope introduces an angry, psychotic, violent Morgan, who is very different than the one we know to be in Alexandria during the present timeline. Eastman, though, is patient, and kind, yet still flawed and relateable. When the inevitable takes place–Eastman and Morgan are foraging supplies from Morgan’s former crazy place, walkers show up, Morgan freezes and Eastman gets bit–Eastman remains stoic and thoughtful, honestly revealing his flaws while reminding Morgan that people change and ultimately, killing can be avoided.
Although things seem bleak for past-Morgan, he continues on after Eastman’s death, heading toward Terminus to find Rick and to eventually catch up to the Alexandria timeline, bringing us back to the present, where we find that the entire story is being to the Wolf who attacked Morgan and whom Morgan apparently has allowed to live.
This doesn’t bode well for the rest of the Tribe, and it makes me wonder where Morgan’s loyalites lie. Rick’s morality has shifted since he and Morgan first met, and it seems to me that neither one would nessarily approve of the actions the other is willing to take.
We will see.
The Walking Dead airs on AMC Sundays at 9pm.
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