Monday, November 2, 2015

The Walking Dead, Season Six, Episode Four: Here's Not Here


With tears in his eyes Morgan tells his captive that he said he wanted everything that Morgan had. Morgan tells the man he is going to give him every last bit.


Morgan has clearly lost it. He paces back and forth with the radio near by that Rick left him. He screams as a fire breaks out around him.  Morgan screams repeatedly, "you know that you were supposed to."

Morgan is now in the woods and he goes on a spree bashing walkers with the but end of his gun. He then gathers all of the dead walkers and places them in a pile.  Later that night, Morgan sets the walkers on fire and watches them burn.  Another walker approaches attracted by the firelight and Morgan bashes it.  One walker walks through the fire and Morgan takes it out.

The next day, Morgan is sharpening wooden sticks and creating a barrier.  A walker stumbles forward with its hand tied and he makes short work of it before dragging it close the burning remains of the walkers from last night.  Alternately, we see him moving through the woods and drinking beside the fire.  In the woods, two men follow Morgan.  He hides behind a tree and when they catch up with him, Morgan drives a wooden stake through the neck of one and chokes the other to death saying repeatedly, "you don't".  That night, Morgan has another huge bonfire burning.  In the morning, he pulls a walker off the wooden stakes he has erected around his site. One walker has a belly wound and Morgan uses the blood to make markings on the trees around his perimeter. On the rocks he writes in blood, "pointless acts, clear" and "here's not here." Morgan is hypervigilant as he walks around his little area in the woods.  He makes his way into a clearing where flowers are blooming and sunlight is streaming through the trees.  Morgan talks to his staff saying , "you know what it is." He swings his staff as though he is fighting off an opponent though there is no one there.

Morgan hear's the sound of a goat and move towards it.  He has step over a booby trap.  Morgan follows the sound until he comes across a house.  Morgan hops over the fence and approaches the goat. A voice calls out asking Morgan to step away from the goat because she is still needed and the owner is still trying to figure out how to make cheese. Morgan looks around and when he sees the speaker, he fires a round. The speaker asks Morgan to put the gun down so that they can talk and eat. Morgan makes his way to the house and looks through a window.  Morgan continues to move around the house as the man asks him again to put down the rifle so they can talk. The man calls out that this is Morgan's last chance and that he is to lower his gun and step away from the cabin.  Morgan keeps moving though, gun at the ready.  Morgan is then hit from behind by a man holding a staff and knocked out.

When Morgan awakes, he is lying on the floor in some kind of cell with a plate of food next to him. The man enters the cabin carrying wood and asks Morgan for his name. Morgan asks the man to kill him and the man responds, "that's a stupid name; it's dangerous." Morgan again asks to be killed and when he gets no response, he screams it repeatedly.  The man walks over to Morgan's cage and tosses in a book entitled, The Art of Peace.  The man introduces himself as Eastman and leaves the house. Outside, Eastman takes out a walker to protect his goat Tabitha.  Morgan watches through a window as Eastman drags the walker away.  Morgan is eating and says repeatedly, "it's yours so you take it." Eastman brings the goat in the house for the night and asks Morgan not to hurt the goat because though Morgan shot at him, he fed him.  Eastman says goodnight to Morgan, turns out the lights and locks his door.

The next morning, a more settled Morgan watches as Eastman rushes outside and kills yet another walker.  Slowly, Morgan eats his food but he is still talking to himself.  Later, Eastman continues to work on making cheese from the goats milk.  After some time, Eastman checks his efforts and finds that once again, he has failed to make cheese and spits it out in disgust.  Later, Morgan looks out the window to find Eastman practicing the kata with his staff.

Eastman is now preparing some salad and tells Morgan that he wanted to wait awhile before they talk. Eastman says that he is from Atlanta and worked as a forensic psychiatrist.  Eastman asks what Morgan did and Morgan replies that he clears: kills anything that gets anywhere near him. When Eastman asks why, Morgan explains that this is why he is still here. Eastman gives Morgan a plate of food and tells him that his response is the biggest horse shit he has ever heard.

Morgan has managed to get the head of a zipper and is using it to loosen the window frame.  When he sees Eastman heading towards the house Morgan stops.  Eastman tells Morgan that he is suffering from PTSD.  Finally, The Walking Dead has bothered to name what its characters are going through. Morgan tells Eastman about the two men he killed the day before he arrived at the house. Morgan says that this is what he does and that he has killed a lot of people. Eastman asks if Morgan has saved anyone and Morgan calls it a pointless act because everybody turns.  Eastman asks about Morgan's wedding ring and if he had children. Eastman says that Morgan saw it all happen in front of him and that he cannot stop thinking about what happened with his family. Morgan tells Eastman that he is going to kill him because he has to kill but Eastman counters that humanity isn't meant to kill. Eastman explains that vets come back with PTSD because we aren't comfortable with killing. I gotta say that this line really blew me away. I have to admit that I have never thought about it like that. Eastmen says that of all the people he has interviewed for his job, he has only met one evil person and the rest could heal. Eastman tells Morgan that the cell door is open and that he threw the key in the river awhile back.  Eastman says that the door has been open all along and that Morgan can stay or go but he will not allow Morgan to kill him.

Morgan opens the door and attacks Eastman but is taken down to the ground. Eastman tells Morgan to stop and reminds him that he gave him two choices.  The two men struggle and this time, Morgan gets the upper hand and starts choking Eastman.  Eastman gets on top of Morgan and this time, it's Morgan who finds himself being choked. Morgan raises his hands in submission and Eastman backs off and picks up his staff.  A defeated Morgan lies on the floor.  When Eastman notices that in the struggle, the child's drawing that was hanging on the wall got ripped in half, he picks up his staff in anger and aims it at Morgan. Morgan calls out for Eastman to kill him but Eastman backs off and reminds Morgan of the choices he was given.  Morgan gets to his feet and walks back into the cage and closes the door.  Eastman picks up the drawing and then opens the cage door before walking away.  Morgan uses his foot to kick the cage door closed.

That night, Eastman tells Morgan that he used Akido to kick his ass earlier.  Eastman talks about the people he evaluated for the state and that his daughter found him crying in the garage after eight beers. Eastman's daughter gave him rabbits foot t to make him feel better and bring him luck. The next morning, Eastman found a flyer for Akido. Morgan questions if Eastman's wife and daughter are dead but Eastman simply says that Akido will help and that Morgan is going to need it if they are going to make this trip. Morgan asks where they are going and Eastman says that he has no idea. Eastman turns out the light and wishes Morgan a goodnight. Morgan opens the cage door and leaves the cage. He looks down at the drawing that broke earlier in the fight.

The next morning, Eastman continues to work on the cheese and says that he has been a vegetarian for awhile and though he doesn't kill, he isn't giving up on chocolate. Eastman asks Morgan to go scavenging, even though they have a lot of supplies, but Morgan does not answer. Eastman then asks Morgan to watch the cabin while he is gone. Morgan doesn't answer, so Eastman grabs his hat and leaves.  Morgan looks through the window and watches Eastman go from his cage.  Alone, Morgan finally picks up the book.

The front page says, "Akido means not to kill. Although nearly all creeds have a commandment against taking life, most of them justify killing for one reason or another. In Akido, however, we try to completely avoid killing, even though the most evil person."

Morgan closes the book and tosses it on the floor.  Morgan looks out the window when he hears the sound of a walker approaching. The goat squeals a warning and Morgan rushes outside and takes on two walkers with no weapon.  Morgan manages to kill both walkers using what he finds in the garden, before collapsing on the ground in a patch of sunflowers.  With the walkers dead, the goat goes back to munching happily.  Morgan walks up to the goat, unties it and brings it inside the house for safety.

When next we see Morgan, he is dragging the walker by its feet into the woods. Morgan finds a shovel leaning next to a tree and a little graveyard with wooden markers.  Clearly, this is where Eastman has been burying the walkers he has killed.  Eastman returns to find Morgan digging a grave and thanks Morgan for saving the goat, though he destroyed a tomato plant. Morgan grabs the walkers legs to drag it into the grave and Eastman stops him so that he can get the identification off the dead bodies.  Taking the names off the ID, Eastman carves the former names of the walker into a piece of wood for a grave marker.

All done, Eastman tells Morgan that he has to fix the garden fence and the ruined tomato plant. Eastman then asks Morgan to follow him. The two men head to the porch and Eastman shows Morgan the spear that he fixed for him.  Eastman hands Morgan the weapon and Morgan pauses before taking it back.

Later, the two men work in silence and Eastman teaches Morgan what he knows about Akido. Eastman says that it's about redirecting and caring about the welfare of the opponent. Eastman explains that Morgan has to believe that all life is precious and that what they've done, they've done.

At night, Morgan reads the book.  The next morning, we see Morgan working with the staff alone by a beautiful stream. Eastman begins to mentor Morgan and the two have now become companions.  At the dinner table, Morgan asks Eastman why he has a cell in his cabin. Eastman explains that he built the cabin with his wife before his daughter was born.  Eastman again brings up his former job and talks about a man he was evaluating.  It seems that Wilson was up for parole and was one of the most likable people he has ever met. Eastman says that he saw right though Wilson and knew that Wilson was a psychopath. When Wilson became aware that Eastman saw through his facade, he stood up and cracked Eastman across the face.  Wilson jumped on top of Eastman and when Eastman saw Wilson's eyes, they were evil because the mask had slipped. Eastman knew that Wilson was going to kill him because  Wilson realised that Eastman was going to make sure he never got out again. Eastman pulls out the rabbit foot and says that Akido saved his life.  Wilson later escaped, showed up at Eastman's home and killed his wife, daughter and son. Wilson then walked down the street to the police station covered in blood and surrendered. Wilson explained that the only reason he broke out was to destroy Eastman's life.  Wilson continued to grow flowers and so Eastman built the cell with the intention of bringing Wilson here and watching him starve to death. Morgan asks if Eastman followed through and he simply says that he has come to believe that all life is precious. Eastman says that this belief is why they are having oatmeal burgers.  Morgan tells Eastman that he is good at redirecting.

Eastman sits at the table saying that they need more gear and should try for the islands off the coast in case people have gone there.  Morgan answers that he knows where they can find supplies. Morgan leads Eastman back to the encampment he had created earlier.  Morgan finds his supplies untouched and Eastman asks him who he lost. Morgan answers, "my wife and son." Eastman then asks for their names and Morgan says, "Jenny and Duane." Eastman offers Morgan his condolences but Morgan says the he shouldn't ever be sorry.  Eastman orders Morgan to get into his form.  After momentary resistance, Morgan gets to his feet.  The two men bow to each other and Morgan goes through the kata,  with Eastman correcting his stance.  Eastman tells Morgan that he is going to hold a baby again. The two men bow to each other and a walker makes it way out of the woods. Eastman tells Morgan that the walker is all his.  The walker approaches and its the man that Morgan strangled with his bare hands. Morgan freezes, so Eastman pushes him out of the way and for his trouble, Eastman is bitten by the walker. Morgan tells Eastman that he told him not here, and that this wasn't for him to do. Eastman wipes off his staff after killing the walker.  Morgan starts to scream, asking Eastman to tell him how it is. Eastman tells Morgan that they need to go home because he is done with this. Eastman tells Morgan that he made it out. Morgan attacks and Eastman counters him. The two men fight and once again, Morgan finds himself on the ground with Eastman holding the staff above him. Morgan screams for Eastman to kill him but Eastman just throws his staff away.  Eastman picks up the walker and places it on his wagon as Morgan says, "I said not here."  Eastman answers that, "here's not here" before dragging the walker away.

Morgan sharpens his spear and walks though the woods stalking a walker.  Morgan rams the spear through the back of the walker's head and finds himself confronting  a woman and a man.  The woman opens her bag and places a can of food on the ground.  She then reaches into her pocket and places a single bullet on top of the can.  The woman thanks Morgan for killing the walker and then she and the man walk away.

Morgan races through the woods and makes his way back to the cabin to find a walker feasting on the goat.  Morgan kills the walker.  Pulling the goat in a wagon, Morgan makes his way to Eastman who is busy digging a grave. Eastman says that the goat figured out that the door was open.  Morgan points out that he didn't figure it out and that Eastman had to tell him. Eastman tells Morgan that he is glad he is back.  Morgan hands him the man's ID and instructs Eastman to sit down before he falls down. Morgan takes over digging the grave. Morgan looks at the names on the tombstone and finds the name of the man who killed Eastman's family. Eastman explains that even after what he did, Wilson was allowed to work the plots beside the highway. Eastman explains that he found out the schedule and made sure the right people were working and then got Wilson in his car and brought him back here.  Eastman bends over in pain and Morgan helps him to a chair.  Eastman says that he put him in the cell and let him starve to death, though it took 47 days. Eastman says that at the end, he was where Morgan was and wasn't trying to open the door anymore. Eastman adds that none of it gave him peace and that he only found peace when he decided to never kill anything again.  Eastman then went back to Atlanta to turn himself in and that is how he found out the world ended. Morgan answers that the world hasn't ended and Eastman calls his response progress.

Eastman is now holding the drawing his daughter made that he walked through 30 miles of the dead to retrieve.  Eastman tells Morgan that he can stay here because he has enough food, power and security for the rest of his life. Eastman adds however that Morgan shouldn't stay here because he cannot count on guests as nice as him to show up. Eastman points out that if Morgan stays here, he will be alone and that everything is about people.  Everything in this life that is worth a damn is about people Eastman says.  Eastman points out that even the goat is gone now. Eastman says that he is ready and tells Morgan he has a gun in the lock box.  Morgan stands to help Eastman walk and they pause so that Eastman can give him the rabbits foot. Eastman tells Morgan that he hopes the foot is lucky for him as well.

Later, we see Morgan working out by himself by the babbling brook.  When next we see Morgan, he is all packed up and is walking away from the cabin.  Morgan walks through the graveyard and past Eastman's grave.  Morgan holds the rabbit's foot and makes his way through the woods. He pauses when he sees the Terminus sign and then makes his way down the train tracks.


Morgan tells the man that this is every last bit. The man asks if it can work out that way with him and Morgan answers that it can.  The man says that he is shaking a little and sweating.  With his hands tied, the man lifts his shirt and shows Morgan the zombie bite. The mans says that he saw how settled Alexandria looked in the pictures he found and thought that there would be medicine here. The man says that he is probably going to die but if he doesn't, he is going to have kill Morgan and every person here including the children.  The man tells Morgan that those were the rules and that's his code. An angry look crosses Morgan's face and he gets to his feet with staff in hand.  Morgan backs away and leaves the house with the man tied up inside.  Morgan pauses with the keys in his hand and unlike Eastman, he looks the gate, trapping the man inside. In the distance, Morgan hears screaming and runs towards the sound.

Okay, is anyone else at all pissed off that this episode completely skipped what happened to Glenn? I think that Here's Not Here was beautifully acted and the cinematography was great but I want to know what the hell happened to Glenn and if Rick's plan was successful. Yes, the first five episode of this season Walking Dead were action packed and I understand the desire on the part of the writers to slow it down and give us a character driven episode but this shouldn't have happened on the edge of a heartbreaking cliff hanger.

So, Here's Not Here basically gives us Morgan's backstory between the present and the last time he saw Rick.  Morgan had clearly become unhinged and given what he had gone through, it makes absolute sense to me. I am so happy to finally have PTSD mentioned in relationship to the survivors. After everything they have seen and done, it is impossible for them not to be damaged in some way and yet, this is the first time that it was actively discussed on the show.

I do like that unlike Rick, Morgan didn't take time out to farm.  He basically just became an animal barely surviving.  When he asked Eastman to kill him, he was basically asking for an end to his pain because for some reason, he didn't have the will to do it himself.  I really liked the allegorical use of the cage in this episode and this idea that people are trapped inside their pain and can only escape it by dealing with what they have done and making a decision about who they are going to be. Essentially the message is that people can heal themselves if they simply walk through the door.

I was actually quite sad to see Eastman go because even though he only appeared in this episode, I found myself to be quite fond of him and his cheese making.  It was obvious however when Eastman became Morgan's Yoda like conscience, that he was dead man walking. The Walking Dead just loves to kill off anyone with any kind of morals. Just like every other survivor of the apocalypse, Eastman was haunted;  Just like every other member of the apocalypse, Eastman had done something unspeakable. He quickly realised that he could not define himself by his worst act and his decision not to kill was a way to step away from that.  Here's the thing though, I think it only worked because of the isolated area in which Eastman lived.  As we can see from what happened in Alexandria, Morgan's decision not to kill lead to dire consequences.  I think the fact that Morgan locked the wolf in rather than simply closing the door the way that Eastman does reflects the difference in location. Morgan now knows that if he continues on this path that it will keep him mentally healthy but may put others at risk. The locked door was absolutely an acknowledgment of this.

We now know that Morgan got his awesome skill with the staff from Eastman but here's the thing White man as expert on a Japanese martial art is problematic.  Yes, we had a great explanation as to why Eastman started learning Akido but given The Walking Dead's history with POC I'm simply not willing to give it a pass.  Would it have been so hard to find a Japanese man?  The visual of a White man saving a Black man in this fashion is problematic especially given the fact that at the beginning of this episode, Morgan was little more than an animal functioning on instinct alone.  It virtually screamed White saviour complex - the black man must be saved from his own brutality and learn what it is to be human. And no, it cannot get a pass because the acting and story was so great. Race is always present and it certainly was visible in this episode.