It’s finally happening. We are finally going to find out what happened to Morgan after Rick and Michonne discovered him holed up in an apartment back in season three during “Clear.” I can’t tell you how excited I am, especially when the episode takes us back into that crazy apartment with all of Morgan’s ramblings on the walls… major feelings!
We’re quick to learn that during a late night rant, Morgan accidentally knocked over his lamp and set his safe haven on fire. At first the fire doesn’t seem to phase him as he continues screaming at someone — or himself — but a moment later we see him running through the woods in full riot gear.
The next thing we learn is that Morgan definitely went through a crazy Sasha phase, which means he’s on a walker killing spree. He goes through the woods taking out walker after walker and then starts a pile of bodies that he later uses to build a fire. Of course the fire attracts even more walkers, and so Morgan’s pile of bodies continues to grow throughout that first night. The next morning he sharpens a bunch of large tree branches and builds himself a walker-free fortress. It comes as no surprise that Morgan is brilliant, despite being completely out of his mind at this particular point in time.
One day while working his way through the woods he comes across two men who chase after him. It seems pretty sudden that these two random guys would just start running after someone they don’t know, so we’re left to wonder if there’s a connection from before. Morgan tricks the two men into following him, then hides behind a tree so that when one of them passes he shoves the sharp end of his large stick right into the mans throat. The second man is stunned but repeatedly says, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry” to Morgan… even as he’s strangling him to death. All Morgan says in return is, “You don’t. You don’t. You don’t.” Once the man is dead Morgan shoves his body to the side and seems upset with himself, as if he already knows his reasons for killing those men weren’t enough to justify his actions.
We later see that Morgan has started using walker blood to write his ramblings on different items around the woods. These ramblings are not so much that, as it’s very clear — no pun intended — that they mean something to Morgan. They are messages that only he understands.
During another trip through the woods Morgan comes across a beautiful field with flowers that seems to bring him back to reality, if only just for a moment. Right as he begins to lose it and start talking to himself again… he hears a goat. Yes, a goat. The noise grabs his attention quick because as we’ve seen, he hasn’t exactly been eating while living in the wilderness. Morgan is quick to discover where the goat is: behind a man-made wooden fence outside of a cabin with solar panels on the roof. It seems Morgan has found another survivor.
Just as Morgan goes to snatch the goat a man’s voice calls out, and Morgan’s response is to shoot him. Thankfully he misses, because it doesn’t take long for the man to find Morgan and use a large stick — much like the one Morgan carries now in Alexandria — to knock him out. Believe it or not, the man apologizes before doing so.
When Morgan wakes up he has a full plate of food, a pillow, blanket, and a bucket of water with a cloth and bar of soap. That’s considered 5-star service in the apocalypse… even when you’re locked behind bars like Morgan is.
Eastman Gives Morgan A Chance
A few days pass before Morgan and his captor, Eastman, really talk. It turns out that Eastman, who gives Morgan a book called “The Art of Peace,” was a forensic psychiatrist from Atlanta. Now he’s living in the cabin with his goat, Tabatha, and occasionally spends some time out back practicing some cool moves with a large stick. When Eastman asks Morgan who he is and what he does, Morgan responds: “I clear. Walkers, people, anything that gets anywhere near me. I kill them. I clear.” Eastman isn’t into it. In fact he calls it “horse sh-t,” which is pretty hilarious.
Just as Morgan figures out a way to get out of the jail cell, Eastman comes home to psycho-evaluate him. He reads Morgan like a book: he’s suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) because he witnessed his wife and son turn. This led him to where he is now, in the mindset that he must “clear” the population — dead or alive — to stop it from happening to others. Morgan is taken back by the whole thing, but is also skeptical and rightfully so. But, he’s in for a real surprise when Eastman reveals that the door to his jail cell has been unlocked the entire time he was inside. Eastman tells Morgan that he can go back to what he was doing, or he can stay and maybe get his life back.
When Morgan goes to leave the cell Eastman tells him he can only stay or go, but that he will “not allow” Morgan to kill him. He says it twice and Morgan seems to be okay with that… until he steps outside of the cell and lunges at the man. Eastman tries to stop him without hurting him too badly, but eventually Morgan takes control of the situation and has the man who is trying to help him on his back. With his hands grasped tightly around Eastman’s neck, we start to see the life fade out of the innocent mans eyes… until suddenly he flips things around and throws Morgan onto his back. Eastman is out of breath, but he’s got the upper hand now. He rests his arm on Morgan’s neck to suffocate him just long enough that he finally gives up and raises his hands in defeat. Even though we don’t know Eastman from a hole in the wall there’s an instant sense of relief. Phew!
Shortly after getting up Eastman notices that a drawing on the wall has been smashed into two pieces and left on the floor from his fight with Morgan. It’s a child’s drawing and one of the first things Morgan noticed when he woke up inside his cell. Fury tears through Eastman’s eyes and he aggressively jabs his stick at Morgan’s head, but somehow manages to hold back, even as Morgan begs for the man to take his life. After a breathe Eastman reminds Morgan he has two options, and that’s when Morgan gets up and goes back inside the cell. Apparently, he’s there to stay.
It’s not long after that we learn what Eastman will eventually teach Morgan: Aikido. It means “not to kill,” which Morgan learns when he finally cracks open the “Art of Peace” book and finds a handwritten note inside. The note also specifies that the “not to kill” goes for everyone and everything, including the “most evil” person. This explains absolutely everything we know about the Morgan that showed up on Rick’s doorstep at the end of season five, doesn’t it?
While Eastman goes on a supply run Tabatha runs into some trouble when two walkers get onto the property. Morgan saves Tabatha, brings her inside, and then drags the walker bodies in the direction that he has seen Eastman bring others during his time there. That’s when he discovers a small makeshift graveyard complete with wooden “headstones” if you will. Eastman comes back just in time to help Morgan bury the bodies, but stops first to frisk them for their wallets. He finds their ID’s and uses them to make personalized “headstones” for each grave. This is probably the most respectable way we’ve seen any body buried throughout The Walking Dead‘s entirety… and it’s refreshing.
When the two men head back to the house Eastman tells Morgan he has to fix the fence he broke while saving Tabatha. Okay, fair is fair. He also brings him to his tool shed where he hands him his spear. Eastman took the time to create the same time of spear that he has been using for his Aikido training, and it’s not long after that that we see the two men training together. Eastman teaches Morgan everything he knows and, somehow, saves his soul in the process. They also bond, albeit unintentionally, as they spend every waking minute together. In between training sessions we see them sitting by the water having a laugh, sitting down for dinner together at the table, things like that. These are the moments that saved Morgan from himself and the rest of the world.
Eastman Reveals His Own Dark Past
During one of their bonding sessions we find out more about Eastman’s past, and it’s a real doozy. It turns out that one of the men he psych0-analyzed as a forensic psychologist and had put behind bars escaped prison with the sole intention of killing his wife and daughter. The prisoner succeeded. He then confesses to Morgan that he planned to kidnap the prisoner while he was out doing gardening work as part of his sentence. Eastman built the cell in his house in hopes of watching the man that killed his wife and daughter starve to death before his very eyes. But, he came to believe that “all life is precious.” Even a life that evil and destructive. If Eastman can live that way after everything he has been through, then Morgan has no excuse.
As this has all been happening, Eastman has been planning a trip. He’s not sure where it is, but he knows he is going and he wants Morgan to come with him. When he mentions that there are some things he needs, Morgan remembers that he has them at his camp… the one where he was burning piles of walkers and using their blood to etch his crazy all over nature’s flat surfaces.
They take the trip together and it’s at the camp site that Eastman asks Morgan who he lost. He says he lost his wife and son, but that’s not good enough for Eastman — he wants names. For the first time in who knows how long Morgan says their names, Jenny and Dwayne, and not-so-surprisingly starts to breakdown a bit. Eastman then demands that they do “forms” which is obviously part of the Aikido training. Right as Morgan finishes Eastman tells him something surprising: “You will hold a baby again.” It seems very out of nowhere, but at the same time it’s a full circle moment. As we already know, in episode one of this season Morgan gets to hold Judith, thus proving Eastman right.
Unfortunately the moment doesn’t last long because a walker comes out of the woods and straight for them. Eastman tells Morgan to get it, but when Morgan recognizes the walker as the man he strangled to death in the woods before being taken hostage, he freezes. Right before the walker can take a bite Eastman intervenes, and it’s him who gets bitten instead. A devastating blow to Morgan’s newfound sanity. Once the walker is down Morgan snaps, and it’s unclear whether or not it’s from guilt or fear. Eastman doesn’t have time for the crazy though and instead he packs up the walker he just killed and heads back to the cabin without Morgan.
During his time alone Morgan sharpens a bunch of spears before going on the hunt for walkers. Again. Apparently, he’s back in clear mode, and it doesn’t take long for him to find something to take out. He kills a walker without realizing it was just about to attack a young man and woman who look a little worse for wear. Morgan then threatens the couple, but when the woman offers him a can of soup and a bullet he pauses. “Thank you,” she says quietly before moving away from Morgan despite the fact he’s holding a sharp spear in their faces. It’s at that moment Morgan realizes who he is now, and that leads him straight back to Eastman’s cabin.
He makes it back to the cabin just in time to find Tabatha being eaten by a walker. Hey, at least it wasn’t Eastman eating her, right? Okay, too soon, sorry.
Who Is Morgan Talking To?
Morgan eventually finds Eastman at the graveyard where he is burying the walker that bit him. Morgan takes over the digging but something catches his eye. It’s a wooden “tombstone” in the distance with the name of the prisoner who killed Eastman’s family — the one he said he didn’t kill. Eastman is quick to confess that he lied, that he did exactly what he said he wanted to and let the man starve to death in his house. It took 47 days for the man to die, and Eastman admitted that it didn’t give him the peace of mind he hoped it would. He tells Morgan he didn’t find true peace until he decided to never kill another living thing again, which, as we know, Morgan has vowed to do thanks to his newfound friend.
Before Eastman dies he gives Morgan his lucky rabbit’s foot. It’s something he’s carried with him ever since his daughter gave it to him, and he truly believes it has brought him luck and will bring Morgan luck now, too.
And so it does. Sort of. The last shot we see of Morgan in the past is him walking onto train tracks and discovering a sign for Terminus. We know how that turned out, but we also know that it eventually led him to Rick.
However, the episode is not over. We soon find out that Morgan has been telling this story from start to finish to the Wolf many people thought he killed in episode two. The Wolf, tied up and locked inside one of the “prison” rooms in Alexandria is intrigued by the story… or so he wants Morgan to think. He asks Morgan if he can become like him, and Morgan says absolutely. But the Wolf quickly shows his true colors.
First he reveals an open wound on his side. It’s unclear if it’s a stab mark or a bite, but it looks fresh and the Wolf says it’s making him sweaty and shaky. It probably doesn’t help that he’s covered in a layer of dirt, but, that’s another story. Then he tells Morgan that he thought there would be medicine inside Alexandria, and that if he survives, no matter how he does so, that he’ll have to kill everyone there.
Morgan’s response? To lock the Wolf in the room alone and leave him behind.
The good news is that the second he steps outside the building he hears a man screaming to open the gates. It sure sounds a lot like Rick, and as soon as Morgan hears it he goes running.
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — Do YOU think the wolf Morgan saved is going to cause problems? What did you think of Eastman and where Morgan has been all this time? Comment below with your thoughts!
— Lauren Cox