The Walking Dead: Here’s Not Here Review

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By: Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

 

The Walking Dead is adapted from previous source material. This review is not meant to compare similarities and differences between the show and comic. It’s meant to be read purely as a take on the episode as it stands.


That being said, SPOILERS AHEAD.

 

“I have to come believe that all life is precious.”

 

Everyone loves a good flashback and The Walking Dead is just as fond of them. So why not instead of dealing with the aftermath of Glenn’s “death,” revisit Morgan’s past a little bit? It’s clear from the start that’s where we’re going this week, courtesy of “THEN” emblazoned on screen at the beginning of the episode. It’s a little confusing why the producers chose that route for the flashback, mainly because the first episode relied on the sepia tone to indicate the past. Regardless of how they got there, the episode spent a lot of time with Morgan.

 

When Rick last left Morgan, he wasn’t in exactly the best state. He holed himself up in a town riddled with booby traps, basically waiting out his own death. That’s the state “Here’s Not Here” found him in. From there, he took it upon himself to be a one-man cleaning crew, eradicating the zombies in one area and then expanding from there. Morgan likely found the actions to be some sort of penance for his inability to keep his wife and son safe. It wasn’t exactly Morgan’s fault that neither of them survived, but it’s easy in this world to wear that responsibility much like an albatross around the neck.

 

What’s pretty ironic about the predicament Morgan find himself in when stumbling upon the farm is that he becomes a caged animal. Much of his mindset would readily be attributed to being locked up in the modern day world, so it’s interesting that it required a similar situation for him to find peace. It’s a little convenient that the person who put him in the situation was a forensic psychiatrist named Eastman, who provided a sounding board for Morgan. Eastman’s experience as a prison psychiatrist taught him a very powerful lesson in being calm via aikido—a lesson he passed onto Morgan.

 

This was made even more apparent thanks to the juxtaposition of Morgan’s approach to living versus Eastman’s. Morgan was depicted as careless when it came to making his way. He attacked with little regard for life, burned the bodies of his battles and presented with a generally feral demeanor. Eastman was much more meticulous about life, fighting to stop as opposed to kill, maintaining an optimistic approach to the apocalypse and burying the bodies of all the walkers he killed. It was Morgan’s indecisiveness when faced with one of his past battles that proved his approach did little to better prepare him though.

 

Those alternate approaches highlight very disparate ways of living. It’s easy to see both Morgan and Eastman as microcosms of the world at large and it was powerful to see Morgan find his way again. Morgan’s adopted a point of view is the complete opposite of where he was before, now choosing a more peaceful approach. There have always been deeper lessons to be found in martial arts and Morgan’s persistence to exemplify those lessons is impressive. And while both Morgan and Eastman lost their families, the circumstances surrounding those losses were very different and resulted in much different outcomes when it comes to how the two reacted.

 

Morgan has been through it and that’s what “Here’s Not Here” focused on. The episode was what many would call filler, in that it really didn’t do much to advance the plot; rather, it gave viewers more insight into Morgan’s fragile state of mind. It took a chance encounter with probably one of the few remaining psychiatrists in the world to teach Morgan to get out of his own head. The episode took a pretty predictable turn with Eastman suffering because of Morgan’s inability to fully embrace his newfound peaceful status. Everyone in The Walking Dead goes through their own hardships, yet when they’re faced does a lot in dictating how that individual reacts to the new world.

 

“Here’s Not Here” wasn’t exactly a bad episode, but it was pretty ho-hum in the grand scheme of things. The first three episodes of the season hit the ground sprinting and the ending of “Thank You” presented some decidedly massive cliffhangers. Neither of those were addressed, which will likely anger a lot of fans of the show. It’s great to get more information on a previously enigmatic character such as Morgan, but you have to wonder why his life couldn’t have been told through flashbacks peppered throughout other episodes. It also doesn’t really make much sense to spend a 90-minute episode on looking at Morgan’s life before Alexandria, although it’s probably less infuriating than breaking it up over two episodes. Hopefully, now that Morgan’s backstory is out of the way the season can get back on track and address the bigger issues at play—mainly, whether Rick and Glenn are still alive.

 

Three Stars


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