A Closer Look: The Walking Dead – “Here’s Not Here”

After last week’s gut-wrenching episode – pun not intended – this week slowed things down and took us all the way back to detail the missing puzzle pieces in Morgan’s. This season has done a wonderful time playing with time and it looks like it’s not going to stop anytime soon. But why the sudden diverse for episode 4? What was so important about this episode? Why was it kept secret from most of the cast and not shot until episodes 1-3,5-8 were already done?

This and more in this week’s Closer Look.

“Here’s Not Here” aka “Clear Part 2”- Episode Framing & Parallels:

At first glance, this episode’s framing might have seemed a little off. In fact, if you didn’t recognize the man who attacked Morgan two episode’s ago you would now as Morgan sat down and reminisced about how he liked talking and how he wanted all he had. You should have immediately put together that this is the man Morgan spared from killing twice now. This also fills in the blank of how the man knew Morgan really couldn’t kill him, since this was encounter #2. Though that’s just the beginning.

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As the flashbacks happen, we realize that this is not just Morgan giving the Wolf his memories and peace – which is all he has left of value as he sees it – but also Morgan giving the Wolf the same chance of redemption that Eastman gave Morgan. This connect can be made right away once we see Eastman say “I’m sorry” and knock Morgan out with his stick. That is the same as Morgan did at the end of Episode 2 and now it’s his turn to play mentor and appeal to that man’s buried inner peace. The difference of course is that that wolf CHOSE this life. Morgan became what he became because of the losses around him; the wolf on the other hand is “too far gone” and might just be another truly evil fellow – similar to Dallas Wilton.

So what will happen next? Will the wolf follow the path of Wilton and kill Morgan’s new family, OR will Morgan take a stand like Eastman and make this one exception? Considering his history, Morgan’s curse might return if he doesn’t act; but will there be a cost for that as well?

Morgan’s Curse & Consequences – The Cost Of Peace & Survival:

With Morgan we’ve seen a tragic cycle of him being unable to do what he has to and people close to him dying. We originally saw this when he lost his son because he was unable to put his turned wife down. We then saw this more recently as the wolves he let go tried to kill Rick. Some would even argue the attack on Alexandria was in part his fault as well. So when we saw this episode how Eastman got bit because Morgan couldn’t put down the turned man he killed earlier, everything came full circle. This is his curse and time and time again it seems to happen; but we have to wonder what’s the alternative.

Morgan seems to be an all or nothing man. Before his new zen state, he was a wrecking ball. Walker, human, animal. Anything and everything in his path had to be “cleared”. So if Morgan does break his cycle and kill this wolf before he loses anyone else, will he risk loosing himself? Will if Morgan kill one person would the floodgates open and he’ll go on a “clearing” spree again? Eastman was able to do it; but he was a different kind of man. His one torture kill was mirrored by Morgan’s killing spree stage – just on a much smaller level. And further more he admitted that killing this evil man didn’t make him feel better. Then again, that was killing for him and Morgan would kill him to protect others.

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Whatever happens next will most likely lead to a lot of collateral damage; but is that necessarily Morgan’s fault. Morgan’s path of “kill no one” has caused a lot of problems, but so has Rick’s plan of kill. Perhaps that’s just the new way of the world. No matter how many or few chances you give, you’re at risk – just like Glen was. In the end, there’s probably a path down the middle that works best. But how can you remain on a straight path in such a chaotic world? How can you tell the redeemable from the too far gone? An ex-forensic psychologist would REALLY come in handy right now… DAMN IT MORGAN!!

Quick Bites – Easter Eggs, References & Other Notables:

  • This episode really filled in a lot of blanks not just about Morgan’s fighting skills and new outlook; but also explains the importance behind the “lucky rabbits foot” (symbolizing Luck and Eastman’s teachings) as well as the bullet (symbolizing the moment he brought himself back from the edge and saved someone), both of which were present when he ate at Gabriel’s church
  • We also now understand what he meant when Gabriel asked where he learned to fight and Morgan said “The cheesemaker”
  • The constant use of fire and blurred first person views painted a wonderful picture of Morgan’s mental state for most of the episode
  • Symbolically, the change in Morgan is also characterized by his weapon of choice. Before this season we always saw him with sharpened primitive spears, but now he has a more elegant staff. Both have strength; but only one is civilized
  • When Morgan compliments Eastman’s ability to “redirect” things, in that moment he’s talking about redirecting the question of whether or not he ever killed Wilton.
  • The episode comes full circle by not only returning us to Morgan in the present; but also showing us how he found his way to the first Terminus sign – which put him on the path we found him at the start of last season’s midseason premier.
  • We now hear Rick screaming “Open the gate” as the episode ends. Trouble is definitely coming next episode; but will it come immediately or will more time be played with?

Considering how much death and walker action there was in the first 3 episodes, Episode 4 was the perfect time to have a pallet cleanser such as this. The episode ends with Rick screaming “Open The Gate”; but in the preview we saw during Talking Dead, this scream doesn’t come until a little ways into the episode. It seems like we have a little more Wolf Aftermath to show before the Prep and eventual Walker Attack on Alexandria.

Will the Wolf cause more problems? Will Rick and Alexandria be able to repair and prepare in time? IS GLEN ALIVE OR DEAD?!?!?!! We will find out next week – hopefully – on the Walking Dead as there are only 4 more episodes this midseason.

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