If the first three episodes of The Walking Dead were just too action packed for you, then you were in luck with episode number four. I like Morgan’s character, but I didn’t need an entire show dedicated to showing how he evolved into the peace loving Aikido practitioner he is today.
Some flashbacks during a normal episode would have filled in the blanks nicely. Obviously I was not a huge fan of this episode, and I’m actually into Zen philosophy and love the martial arts. I can imagine the majority of other viewers were even less interested this week than me.
But maybe I’m wrong, fans love Lennie James, who plays Morgan.
In a vacuum, this was not a bad WD episode. Coming after the first three editions of season six, though? It was like being on a roller coaster and some drunk operator accidentally hit the emergency stop button.
We start out with Morgan being completely deranged. He’s killing Walkers and dragging their bodies into a pile for a bonfire. The guy also has to kill a couple of humans that are tracking him. They were up to no good, so he had little choice. He had to “clear” the area.
Morgan eventually wound up at a great cabin in the woods that looked very livable. He got KO’d by a Zen Master named Eastman, who just wanted him to drop his gun. Eastman is a former forensic psychologist who used to determine if criminals were rehabilitated or not, before they were up for parole.
Eastman is also very skilled with a kendo stick, and he winds up teaching Morgan some Aikido skills. This was after he locked Morgan in a cage inside his cabin. He also offered him a book called, “The Art of Peace.”
This guy Eastman was a pretty interesting character. His philosophy of not killing is where Morgan got his code. He makes a compelling argument about how humans are not built to kill. “We have no fangs, no armor, no claws, etc.” He says people need people and that we are all connected as a species.
This is a fine philosophy for judging criminals already behind bars. The world is safe from them as long as they are locked away. But the same ideas don’t work when you are face to face out in the open with dangerous people like the Wolves, Terminites, or the Governor.
The “create peace” philosophy is a nice thought with intelligent, enlightened people around you. It simply doesn’t work with savages, which are the biggest part the human population remaining in Rick’s world.
Eastman understood exactly what was going on in Morgan’s head. He could not escape the death of his wife and young son. The moments of their death were upon him every second of every day, and he could not get away from the thoughts.
Eastman told the story of a prisoner named Dallas that he kept in prison as he saw he was truly evil. The prisoner eventually escaped prison and killed Eastman’s entire family. This broke the psychologist, much like Morgan’s tragedies broke him mentally. Eastman told Morgan how he built the cage in the cabin for Dallas and had intended to watch him starve to death.
Morgan asked if he went through with it and noticed that Eastman was good at “redirecting,” when he only answered that “all life is precious.” Eastman did indeed starve the killer to death as we saw Dallas’ name on one of the posts at the Walker Cemetery at the end of the show.
Eventually, it went bad for Eastman as he ended up bitten by a stray Walker when he saved Morgan as he stood in a trance like state. Morgan did warn him the campsite was no place to practice Aikido.
Of course, Eastman had to be shot in the head before he turned, so his character was one and done. It was a slow burn this week, but the ending was interesting.
Morgan’s flashback to Eastman was actually him telling the story to the Wolves member who attacked him in a home at the end of episode two. Morgan is trying to convince this wicked man that he can change just as Morgan did under the teachings of Eastman.
The Wolfpack guy is not keen on the idea and mentions he is going to try and kill Morgan and anyone else in Alexandria he can. This includes women and children. Morgan lets him live and just locks him inside the home. Bad plan of course.
I get the philosophy of peace. I admire people who are non-violent. I just fail to see how that is supposed to work when facing monsters. Even Eastman said we are to take care of ourselves just like we take care of others.
Morgan is not taking care of himself by allowing a killer to remain in his city. He is not taking care of the other innocents in Alexandria either. He is choosing this savage’s life over everyone else when the man is openly talking about the murders he plans to commit!
I wish Morgan’s philosophy would work. His world would be a better place, even post-apocalypse. The peaceful philosophy is just too risky for those that deserve a peaceful world. The children of Alexandria should not have to suffer because Morgan wants to spread the good news of Zen to people who attacked the city once already.
Rick’s brutal philosophy is hard to accept, but it’s more likely to keep the real peace loving folks alive than Morgan’s ideals. Morgan’s actions are going to let evil gain momentum, not perpetuate peace.